Having your child leave the nest to go to college is an exciting time for both of you, but it raises some important questions. Is your son or daughter still considered a household member for insurance purposes? Do you need a separate policy to cover your college-bound son or daughter? As with many issues regarding insurance, the answer is....maybe.
What Every NH Parent Needs to Know about Insuring their College Student
When your NH homeowners insurance likely covers your college student:
If you have homeowner's insurance and your son or daughter lives in a dorm, your policy will most likely extend to their personal property. This means there would be coverage, often up to 10% of your own personal property, subject to the policy's deductible if their property were damaged in a covered loss or stolen.
What does this mean? Look at your homeowner, condo, or renter's insurance policy. You will see a limit listed next to personal property. For example, if the limit listed is $249,000, your son or daughter would have up to $24,900 of coverage available.
When your NH homeowners insurance May NOT cover your college student:
If your child opts for off-campus housing like an apartment or perhaps a fraternity or sorority, they are essentially establishing their own residence and would most likely need their own renter's policy.
One thing to keep in mind is that most college students have roommates, but a renter's policy will only cover the belongings of the "insured" and not other roommates just because they all live together. That means if there are four roommates, four tenant's policies are needed.
How do I make sure my child's laptop is covered?
Typically the most valuable item brought to college is a laptop. Whether coverage is provided from your own homeowner's insurance or a renter's policy, the laptop is covered under the personal property section and subject to the deductible. However, remember that it will typically only be covered for the specified perils listed in the policy, like theft, fire, wind damage, etc., but you may be able to broaden this coverage. We suggest you call your insurance representative to get more information on your particular situation and the insurance company.
Another important consideration is that most policies will not cover most accidental damage, like a cup of coffee spilled on a laptop, and virtually no policy will cover the process necessary to recover any data lost on a laptop.
How much does renters insurance cost a NH college student?
NH renters insurance premiums are primarily based on how much coverage is needed. You will want to have your son or daughter consider what they bring to school (including clothes, furniture, books, stereo, etc.) and then put a value on it. Insurance companies will not typically write the policy for less than $15,000 in coverage, and it should cost between $150 and $200 a year. For more information on renters insurance in NH, please read a prior HPM Insurance blog titled "Why Every NH Tenant Needs Renters Insurance."
If your son or daughter is going to college out of state, they would need to obtain a policy from an agency and/or carrier licensed to do business within that state. Many agents are licensed in multiple surrounding states, but not all states, so give your agent a call to see if they can help or direct you to a reputable agent elsewhere.
What if my child travels abroad?
Most standard homeowner's insurance is written with worldwide coverage, so your child's belongings should be covered while studying abroad. That said, it is not advised they bring anything of significant value with them given police reports are required for anything stolen which may be a challenge to obtain depending on where they are going.
There is also the issue of coverage for luggage while traveling, so be sure to read how luggage and other belongings are covered while in transit.
Other insurance considerations for your college student:
When your son or daughter packs up and leaves for college, another consideration is whether they bring a car or not. It is important to figure this out sooner rather than later, as some colleges want proof of insurance to park on campus. If your child lives in an apartment out-of-state with a vehicle they own, they may be required to register and insure the car within that state. For more information regarding this issue, check out "How Your Graduate Impacts Your Car Insurance."
Check with your insurance professional to ensure your child has the coverage you expect. Transitioning from high school to college is big for parents and students alike. Start this transition off right with the confidence that you and your child are well protected.