What Does a Homeowner’s Policy Cover for Kids Away at College?

It’s that time of year. All of the students are packing up to head back to the dorms, and colleges are abuzz nationwide. But have you really thought about what going back to school means from an insurance perspective?

Sending a child off to college is a time of great adjustment for you and your loved one. But this is also a time to consider new insurance exposures that arise from having kids in college, which can impact several areas of homeowners and personal insurance policies.

Personal Property in the Dorms

Under most homeowners policies, kids in college are still considered insured under mom and dad’s policy. This means that their personal property taken to college is covered, whether it is in the dorm room or an apartment. But, be sure to check with your carrier, because there are limits to the amount of coverage that the insured receives outside of their traditional residence – which may mean supplemental coverage is necessary for the trip to college.


In this age of technology, a laptop is a must-have when sending the kids away to college. The four most likely causes of damage to a laptop (or desktop) computer are theft, breakage by dropping, liquids accidentally spilled onto them, and power surge. Of these, only theft is generally covered under mom and dad’s homeowner’s policy – however, supplemental “all risk” coverage is available as an endorsement to your policy to help manage costs in the incident of technology being damaged. Some carriers may also apply a reduced deductible to computer equipment.

College Textbooks

The bad news is that college textbooks now cost as much as season tickets for the Buffalo Bills, but the good news is that they are covered personal property.

Damage to a Dorm Room, Dorm Furniture, or Apartment

Does the parents’ policy cover it? Yes, but only for a few causes of loss. The liability section of your homeowner’s policy covers damage to property rented to, occupied or used by, or in the care of an insured only if the loss is caused by fire, smoke, or explosion. So if Joe College uses a dorm couch as a trampoline, thus causing it to crumble, there is no coverage. If he lives in an apartment and, while channeling his inner chef, torches the building beyond recognition, the loss is covered.

Understand the Limits of Liability

The basic limit for Personal Liability Coverage is $100,000. So if your little chef fries his building crispy, the landlord will have some thoughts about the cost of rebuilding and lost rents. How large will that bill be? Probably a whole lot more than $100,000.

Make sure you’re in the know about your existing homeowner’s policy and your liability limits.  Contact us today to see if you should consider a higher personal liability limit to keep yourself and your family protected.

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