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College-Bound? Consider Renters Insurance

Parents: Consider Renter's Insurance for Your College-Bound Students
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is offering tips for protecting students and their property while away at school.

By Jim Donovan: Are you or maybe one of your kid's heading off to college? It can be a thrilling experience, but it can be a sobering one, too. Theft is an all too common crime on and off college campuses, but there are several things you can do to prepare and protect yourself or your child.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is offering tips for protecting students and their property while away at school.

• Cover belongings with a renter's insurance policy. If your student lives in an off-campus apartment, their personal property won't be covered by your homeowner's insurance, nor the insurance carried by the landlord. A renter's policy will protect their personal property, as well as cover them if someone is injured on the property.

• Understand what is covered. Most renter's insurance policies provide two basic types of coverage: personal property and liability. Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace personal belongings if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. Liability insurance provides coverage against a claim or lawsuit resulting from bodily injury or property damage to others caused by an accident while on the policyholder's property.

• Premiums are affordable. The cost for a policy generally ranges between $15 and $30 per month. Policies are offered either as "actual cash value" or "replacement cost" coverage.

• Know what you are purchasing. Actual cash-value coverage will reimburse the renter for the cost of personal property at the time of the claim, minus the deductible. Replacement cost coverage will reimburse the full value of the new item after you purchase it and submit your receipts.

• Create an inventory. Taking a computer, laptop or tablet to college? Be sure to take pictures of all belongings, write down serial numbers and the estimated value of these items. An inventory and supporting documentation will come in handy during the claims process if any items are damaged or stolen. To get started, download the free myHOME app for iPhone® or Android®.

For more information on renter's insurance, or any other insurance product, call the department toll-free at 877-881-6388 or go to and click on "Types of Coverage", to access a free fact sheet on renter's insurance.

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