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Kids off to college? Make sure they have money smarts and you have the right insurance


September 13, 2013

College students are getting ready to settle into their dorms or off-campus housing and hit the books. As a parent, it’s time to do your homework as well to make sure your college student’s possessions are adequately insured.

The U.S. Department of Education reports 24,000 burglaries occurred on campuses across the nation in 2009. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 3,800 dormitory fires was reported from 2007 to 2011.

“The college experience shouldn’t involve a fire, burglary or theft from a student’s residence or vehicle, but it does happen,” said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. “It’s important to evaluate your insurance policies so your coverage will replace what has been lost or damaged. Your insurance company or agent can explain your options.”

If your student’s property is stolen or damaged while living on campus, those items are typically covered under your standard Homeowners or Renters Insurance. If your college student lives off-campus, however, a Renters Insurance policy may be needed for both personal property and liability protection.

NW Insurance Council and Insurance Information Institute offer the following information and tips for parents and students:

Contact your insurance company or agent to discuss your current coverage and your insurance options.

If your High School or college student permanently moves away from home this creates a possible coverage problem for personal property. A child must reside in the parent’s household for the child’s personal property to be covered under the parent’s policy. If the child lives in a school dorm room, however, his or her personal property is covered under their parent’s policy.

You may be eligible for a discount on your auto insurance if your student is attending college at least 100 miles from home and not driving the family car while at school. Also, many auto insurance companies give discounts to students who maintain a B average or higher.

Create an inventory of items your son or daughter brought to school. The Insurance Information Institute’s free web-based software, Know Your Stuff, makes this process easy. Having a current inventory can help determine how much insurance is needed and will help speed up the claims process.

Always lock dorm rooms or apartments and engrave electronics, such as iPods and computers, with your name or other identifying information to help police track stolen items.

College, Credit and Insurance

As a college student transitioning to personal independence, it is important to manage your finances effectively. How you manage your money now affects your credit, insurance and ultimately your future financial security.

Many insurance companies use a credit-based insurance score when evaluating insurance applications or policies. The information contained in your credit report can have a major influence over many parts of your life, including your Auto Insurance and future Homeowners Insurance rates.

For a free brochure, Credit & Insurance, that includes information about how consumers can manage or improve their credit profiles, and for more information about college and insurance, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or send an email to

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.


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