If you are among the millions of young adults packing up to head off to college, now is a great time to take stock of all of your electronics, sports equipment, musical instruments and other items that you would need to replace in the event of fire, theft or other hardship.
Most people, not just college students, have no idea how many things they own. While big-ticket items like computers, cell phones and bicycles may come to mind, other purchases may surprise you. Consider how many pairs of shoes you own, clothing or other personal items; $100 here, $100 there, and soon you’ve tallied up thousands of dollars.
It’s important to know that the amount of insurance you have is sufficient to cover your losses. While most college students living in a dorm or other college housing have some coverage under their parents’ homeowners policy, that coverage may be limited to only 10 percent of the coverage for contents (for example, $10,000 on a $100,000 policy).
More importantly, if you are renting a house, condo or apartment, you may need renter’s insurance because your property may not be covered under your parents’ policy.
A first step in determining if you have adequate coverage is to know what you own. These tips can help:
- While you’re packing, take a video or photographs of the things you’re taking with you.
- Record descriptions of each item, making note of brand names and serial numbers.
- As you make new purchases, keep your receipts as a record of costs and dates of purchase.
- Store your list along with receipts and other documentation in a safe location away from your living space. You may want to consider uploading it to an electronic storage space.
After you have taken an inventory of your personal property, you should have a clearer picture of how much you have and how much it is worth. Next, you will want to make sure you have a sufficient limit of insurance.
Ask your local, independent insurance agent about adding a Student Personal Effects endorsement to your parents’ policy. You may also want to make sure you have replacement cost coverage, so that in the event of a loss your recovery isn’t limited to the depreciated value of lost or damaged items.
College is a time for new and exciting experiences – most of them good – but if you have the misfortune of having your things stolen or destroyed, your inventory of personal property will facilitate the claims process.