Do you have a child studying away from home?
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What your home insurance policy covers
When your child sets off for university, insurance for his or her belongings may not be the first thing on your mind. But it’s worth thinking about because today’s students often take expensive electronic and sports equipment with them. And theft on university campuses is a common occurrence.
What you should know about your policy
- Your home policy will protect the belongings of a child studying away from home if he or she normally resides with you.
- These belongings are insured up to a maximum dollar amount. Check your policy to verify what that amount is.
- If your child is living off-campus, check with your representative about the amount for which their belongings are insured. Some policies have a limit based on a percentage of your policy’s total coverage.
What you should consider
- The value of the belongings your child is taking with him or her. Does the combined value of the computer, electronic equipment and items such as skis, hockey gear or other sports equipment exceed your policy’s limit? If so, you might consider buying a personal property floater or a stand-alone policy for items such as computers and cell phones, for example.
- A stand-alone policy. A policy specifically designed for students living away at university can be very reasonable and can provide coverage for a variety of disasters.
- Tenant’s insurance. This can be a good solution for a student living off-campus. It can be affordable and provide all the protection needed. Remember that student off-campus housing units are often burglary targets. Usually located in poorer areas of town and left unoccupied for long periods, they are most likely equipped with a variety of the latest gadgets such as laptops, iPods, DVD players, game consoles, cell phones and bicycles.
What students should do to protect themselves
The following recommendations can help to protect that valuable property students have with them while studying away from home.
- Leave any valuables that are not essential at home if possible. Don’t overdo it with gadgets and valuable sports equipment. Take only what you are sure you need.
- Lock your door. This is the most important way to keep possessions secure. Dorm room and apartment doors should be locked at all times even if the occupant is just leaving briefly – day or night.
- Never leave belongings unattended on campus. Keep everything from book bags to laptops with you at all times. Libraries, classrooms, dining areas and public areas are all particularly vulnerable to theft.
- Whether you have a laptop or a desktop computer, buy a security cable and use it. A lock that needs decoding can be enough to convince a thief to move on to another target.
- Take inventory. Before leaving home, make a detailed inventory of all the items you are taking with you. This will go a long way to getting your insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, or a disaster, such as a fire.
- Engrave electronics. When items such as computers, televisions or other devices are engraved with identifying information, it can help police track stolen items. Some campus police have a registration day where students can get a serial number etched into their electronic equipment.
- Keep in mind that students are vulnerable to identity theft. Be smart about protecting your identity. Don’t reveal your birth date on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Never reveal personal information in response to e-mail requests for your Social Insurance number, credit card numbers or other data. Students often need to have identifying documents, such as birth certificates, with them. If this is the case, be sure your documents are stored in a safe place. For more details, read about
Identity Plus Advantage® additional coverage.