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Dorm Insurance 101: Keep Your Stuff Safe at School

young woman studying at her desk in a sunny dorm room

If you’ve never heard of dorm insurance and it hasn’t even been on your radar, don’t worry. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure your or your child’s belongings are covered while in the dorm.

When you’re preparing to send your kid off to college, your family is likely juggling a lot of different things. Between packing, finding housing, paying tuition, shopping for books, choosing courses, and dealing with the emotional sucker punch the day can bring, overlooking simple things like dorm insurance is easy to do. Although most parents know their health insurance covers their child while away at school, many might not know whether or not their child’s property is covered.

Most students go through their college career without having to worry about replacing lost or stolen items. Because many college essentials can be expensive, however, it’s a good idea to make sure your child’s belongings are protected against theft or destruction.

What Is Dorm Insurance?

Dorm insurance covers your student’s belongings (including electronics and sports equipment) while they’re at school. If their items are stolen or damaged, the insurance company will pay to cover the items covered. Typical items included in a dorm insurance plan include:

• Computers
• Tablets
• Phones
• TVs
• Gaming systems
• Cameras
• Appliances
• Furniture
• Jewelry
• Music equipment
• Sports equipment
• Books and other classroom supplies
• Clothing

Like with most insurance policies, you can pick a level of coverage that meets your student’s needs. Dorm insurance policies are cheap (usually around $20 per month or less).

Does Your Student Need Dorm Insurance?

The answer to this will depend on several factors, including the crime rate on and around the campus (especially if they’re living off campus) and the value of the items they’ll have with them at college. You might also want to check with your student’s housing department to see whether they require your student to purchase some form of insurance.

Your homeowner’s insurance policy might also cover your student’s belongings at school. Check with your insurance company to see if your child’s items are covered while they’re at school.

Even if your insurance company does provide coverage for your child when they’re away from home, you might want to consider a low-cost renters insurance policy or dorm policy if you worry that making potentially small claims on your homeowner’s insurance could cost you more money. Many homeowners insurance policies have a pay cap for covering items that aren’t in your home. Spending a few extra dollars each month on renters or dorm insurance might offer more comprehensive coverage.

Where to Get Dorm Insurance

One of the easiest (and most affordable) ways to purchase dorm insurance is to opt for a renters insurance policy through your car insurance company. We have renters insurance for our apartment, for example, and it costs only an additional $5 per month when added to our car policy.

If your insurance company doesn’t offer renters insurance, consider talking with the college your student will attend. Some schools work with companies to provide discounted rates for their students.

Just like when you’re shopping for other insurances, talk to multiple companies to get the best deal.

While most students won’t have to worry about replacing their items during college, there’s always a risk of damage or theft. Spending a few dollars a month might make you feel a little more comfortable sending your precious cargo away on their own.

Angela Brown Angela Brown
Angela has 14 years of writing and editing experience, including as a reporter and copy editor for two newspapers. Angela has a Bachelor's in communication with minors in creative and technical writing from BYU-Idaho. She works closely with real-estate and financial industry clients. Read Full Bio »
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