College is a time for learning but some of the most valuable lessons are not covered in one of your campus’ lecture halls. Whether your iPod goes through the wash, your laptop gets fried by lightning or your vintage guitar is stolen by another student struggling to pay tuition, the unexpected happens and if you don’t have property insurance, you could find yourself in an unsavory financial situation. But where can you turn to safeguard your belongings?
Typically, if you are attending school full-time and living in on-campus housing, the property in your dwelling is covered by your parents’ homeowner's or renter's insurance. If you live off campus, attend school less than full-time or consider your home at school as your permanent address, however, a separate property policy is a must. The best place to begin your search for property insurance is with your parents’ insurance provider – some offer discounted umbrella policies when additional family members join – but if you’re dissatisfied with the rates or would prefer more specialized coverage, there are insurance companies geared specifically toward the needs of college students.
National Student Services, Inc., for example, bill itself as the nationwide leader for student personal property insurance and offers plans officially recognized at more than 2,000 colleges across the country while CSI College Student Insurance, another college-centric provider, covers student belongings at school and abroad from theft, fire, flood, vandalism, natural disasters and accidental damage. As for what’s covered and for how much, it’s everything from laptops and digital cameras to musical instruments and furniture for about $150 per year.
No matter how many scholarships, grants and fellowships a student receives, attending college is still expensive but a small yearly property insurance premium can go a long way to keep costs down. Even if you don’t think you’ll need this protection, there’s always a what-if that could confound your plans. Think back a few years to Hurricane Katrina: Students at Tulane and the University of New Orleans with property insurance were reimbursed for their material losses while those who weren’t had to start over completely with no financial assistance. Instead of taking out additional student loans and slipping into debt, set aside a small amount of money each month to put toward insuring your property. Saving these cents just makes sense!