Does your college-bound kid need “dorm insurance”?

Family/Kids, Crime

Your pride and joy is heading off to college—along with a laptop, phone, tablet, speakers, guitar, digital camera, bicycle, jewelry, etc. All those valuables in your son or daughter’s dorm room make tempting targets for thieves.

Although you may not think of dorms as prime opportunities for crime, Consumer Reports estimates that 970 cases of theft occur for every 100,000 on-campus college students. So, how can you protect your college student (and yourself, since you’re the one holding the financial bag) against losses from dorm room burglars?

Counsel prudence

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. So talk with your student about being judicious, stressing that they should never leave belongings unattended, even in a keycard-only area, and that they should always lock their dorm room door when leaving, even if they’re just going down the hall to visit a friend’s room.

You can also purchase locks that will secure a laptop to a stationary object if your student needs to walk away from it in the library or in the common areas of the dorm.

Check your insurance

Your homeowner’s insurance will provide some coverage for your student’s belongings, but coverage is likely capped at 10 percent of what the contents of your home are insured for. So if your house contents are insured at $50,000, your student’s belongings will have $5,000 of coverage.

You may be able to purchase a rider for additional coverage, which can be a good idea if your student has expensive technology equipment or costly jewelry. Keep in mind that homeowner’s insurance has deductibles, often starting at $500, so you’ll pay that portion out of pocket if you make a claim.

Consider dorm insurance

You can buy a separate dorm insurance policy, which will function like a renter’s policy. The coverage levels are low – often capping out at $5,000. But the deductibles and premiums are also low (look for a $25 deductible and a premium of around $150 per year).

Making sure your student’s belongings are protected will give you some peace of mind as you walk away from the dorm. Now if only there was insurance against too much partying or cutting classes…