Whether your kid is heading off to college or university this semester or the next, there is one very important item to factor into the budget along with tuition, books, and gas money for trips back home for a proper meal. And while it may be the cheapest among these expenditures, it’s one that can save you the most should any event occur that causes loss, damage, or injury to property or person throughout your student’s collegiate career – personal property and liability insurance.
Securing this often neglected safety net is more important than ever, given the number of gadgets your student depends upon to navigate their way through their course schedule. We’re talking laptops, tablets, smartphones, and all of the other items their minors and majors demand, from musical instruments to cameras and drones. If they’re staying on-campus or a nearby rental, you have to factor in furnishings and a slew of other possessions that can be at risk without your parental eye to watch over it all. Then there is the third party liability faced by your student. Undergraduates are frequently confronted by events that could lead to liability for damage to student residences in addition to injury claims from visitors.
In order to keep you from forking over to cover claims worthy of a four year IVY League tuition, Park Insurance is here to provide advice for all of your student property and liability woes.
4 Things Parents Need to Know About Student Liability Concerns and Coverage in British Columbia
1. Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Should Cover Their Property
If you hold a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy, there is a very good chance that your student will be covered for property damage and theft. However, there is no cookie-cutter answer, as coverage varies by insurer. Some offer student property coverage as a percentage of the parent’s extended policy, and this typically ranges from anywhere between 5 to 20 percent of your personal property limit. Others place a hard dollar value, capping out at a set amount, typically in the $5,000 to 10,000 range. It is absolutely imperative that you make no assumptions, and check with your insurance provider to verify the amount that your student qualifies for under your existing coverage. If there are any limits on certain items, you will need to secure additional insurance.
Just like you have a detailed inventory of the possessions in your home to provide an accounting of the items that may be claimed after an unfortunate event (water damage, break-in, etc.), have your student do the same. Since they may acquire new property from semester to semester, ensure that they add items to this ongoing inventory accordingly, and confirm with your insurer that the items will be protected by your standard or extended policy.
2. Your Liability Insurance Policy May Cover Their Liability
Property coverage is certainly important, but in the end, replacement and/or repair pales in comparison to the cost of liability claims that may come from harm to others, or their property. Liability insurance is essential in providing protection against any event in which your student is sued for unintentional injury or damage to another person or their property. Your standard liability coverage should extend to your student when they are living on campus, or at least will offer you the option to extend coverage to them. Again, verify the amount of liability coverage (if any) with your insurer.
However, a grey area is painted when your student lives off-campus, in an apartment or condo, be it a shared residence or otherwise. Insurers see liability risk increase exponentially in these scenarios, and may require separate coverage altogether. More on this below.
3. Tenant Insurance as an Option
If your student is living off-campus, living in a shared residence, and/or your homeowners policy has gaps that cannot be filled with a rider, tenant insurance is likely necessary. Unfortunately, most students (and parents?) don’t consider this. A recent study found that nearly 50 percent of Canadian tenants under 35 (counting students) do not have tenant’s insurance, with over 30 percent incorrectly assuming that they are covered under a landlord’s insurance policy. The exposure to risk for this lot is downright massive. Mitigate the risk by securing tenant insurance for your student (as applicable) to cover property replacement value and liability while accounting for a wide variety of named perils. View a complete list named perils that may be covered by a comprehensive tenant insurance policy.
Another concern to address for parents with students sharing an off-campus accommodation with others, is found when each roommate does not have their own insurance coverage and they are not all named on the lease. If not, make sure they are, or you and your child may be left holding the bag.
While tenant insurance may seem like a cost burden that may not see an ROI without an event to cause it, keep in mind that maintaining the policy can also help your budding young professional build an insurance history that may help lower their premiums in the future. Insurance is an investment that pays off for students in more ways than you ever imagined.
4. What the College/University May Cover
There are colleges and universities which offer dedicated insurance services to students. Some of these are included as part of the student program, while others are optional. For example, the University of British Columbia (UBC) offers students the option to secure Student Accident Insurance, which covers injuries sustained by an insured student while participating in classes, research on and off campus, in addition to direct travel to and from home, classes, and to research/field work sites. Simon Fraser University (SFU) also offers a variety of specialized policies, including a sports accident policy for players for injuries sustained during officially sanctioned practices or games, or during group travel to a practice or game in locations. While these programs won’t offer full coverage for all your student needs, they may be able to supplement the plans addressed above.
You have enough to be concerned about (grades, etc.) with your student off getting a post-secondary education, so why add to the pile? Check one major item off of that list by contacting an independent broker at Park Insurance today.