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Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students?

Standard homeowners insurance may offer limited coverage to college students while they live on campus in a dormitory. Policyholders should consult their insurance agent if the student plans to live off-campus in an apartment, for which a separate renters insurance policy may be necessary.

Keep reading to learn more about college student coverage that may be available in your home insurance policy.

Is a College Student Covered By My Homeowners Insurance?

Standard homeowners insurance will typically insure your child if they are dorming at the college campus. Your policy should contain language about personal property losses that occur off-premise — or away from your home. However, off-premise coverage is typically subject to lower limits so make sure it’s adequate.

A standard home policy typically extends only 10% of your personal property coverage to students living on-campus.

Not all insurance companies will extend coverage to college students if they are living off-campus. If your child is renting an off-campus apartment unit, insurers may consider that location their primary residence, which disqualifies them from off-premise coverage in your policy. Instead, you or your child may need to purchase renters insurance for college students.

Homeowner Insurance for College Students

How Does Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students?

A homeowners insurance policy will typically extend personal property and liability protection to college students, plus medical payments coverage if it’s on your plan.

  • Personal property: Your student’s belongings are insured if they are stolen or damaged in a covered event, such as fire, windstorm or vandalism. Covered losses often include electronics, furniture and clothes.
  • Personal liability: This coverage pays when your child is responsible for another’s injuries or property damage inside their dorm room. Covered expenses often include replacing or repairing damaged property, other people’s medical expenses and legal defense fees.
  • Medical payments: Your homeowners policy will pay for another’s medical bills if injuries were sustained while in your child’s dorm room. This coverage is typically for minor injuries that can cost up to $1,000 to treat (higher limits available upon request).

An insurer may only insure a dorming college student up to age 26.

Home Insurance Exclusions for College Students

Standard homeowners insurance coverage may apply to college students but will usually carry coverage exclusions, such as:

  • Accidental damage: Insurers will usually deny personal property claims if the insured unintentionally caused the damage, such as dropping a tablet down a stairwell or spilling coffee on a laptop.
  • Data loss: Standard homeowners insurance can reimburse you for covered claims on electronics but that coverage does not extend to data recovery.
  • Additional living expenses: Insurers will not classify your child’s college dorm as their primary residence and will not cover alternative living accommodations (e.g., hotel bills, meals) if the dorm room experiences a fire, flood, collapse or some other event.
  • Identity theft: Standard homeowners insurance usually will not pay for identity recovery and credit repair costs. Many national insurance carriers sell identity theft protection as an add-on to your policy.

What Amount of Coverage Do Students Have?

Homeowners insurance may cover college students but can also carry several limitations, such as lower limits on personal property, sublimits on specific items and age caps.

Limited Coverage for Personal Belongings

Off-premise coverage extends to the college student’s personal belongings and is typically only 10% of your personal property coverage.

EXAMPLE: Say your homeowners policy has $100,000 in personal property coverage and your off-premise coverage is 10% of that amount. Your college student would have $10,000 in personal property coverage.

Sub-Limits on Specific Valuables

Certain items, like cash, jewelry, furs and silverware are subject to a sublimit. In a covered loss, you will only be reimbursed for each item’s sublimit and not the total off-premise coverage in your home insurance policy. We recommend college students leave valuables at home or that you increase your limits with scheduled property coverage.

Age Caps

Your home insurance company may insure your child while dorming on-campus but only up to a certain age. For example, an insurer may only insure a dorming college student up to age 26.

Should College Students Consider Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance policies also cover dorms and are an affordable coverage alternative to home insurance with some policies starting at $15 per month.

Renters insurance can offer higher limits than the off-premise coverage in a homeowners policy plus loss of use coverage. Loss of use coverage pays for your child’s daily living expenses if their residence becomes uninhabitable — it’s being rebuilt after a fire, for instance. Most homeowners policies have loss of use coverage but it applies only to your home, not your child’s college living arrangements.

Filing an insurance claim under the renters insurance policy will not increase your home insurance premium. A claim can increase your homeowners insurance premium by up to 20% according to Hippo Insurance. A 20% premium hike in a renters policy that costs $200 per year is more manageable than a homeowners policy that costs over $1,000 annually.

Which Is Better for College Students: Homeowners or Renters Insurance?

Below we’ve highlighted benefits and drawbacks of both homeowners and renters insurances to help you decide which is ideal for your child.

Policy Type

Application

Homeowners Insurance

  • Your child is dorming on-campus.
  • You want to save money.
  • Your child takes steps to secure their belongings (e.g., using a safety deposit box and keyless door locks).
  • Your off-premise coverage is enough to insure your child’s belongings.

Renters Insurance

  • Your child lives off-campus and is not covered by your home insurer.
  • Your home insurance off-premise limits are too low.
  • You don’t want college dorm claims to increase your home insurance premium.
  • You want a lower insurance deductible for your child.

Renters insurance policies also cover dorms and are an affordable coverage alternative to home insurance coverage.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance Alternatives

Coverage options beyond homeowners and renters insurance include dorm insurance and a standalone electronics policy.

Dorm Insurance

Dorm insurance is an insurance policy specifically for dorming college students. Costs are relatively affordable with some premiums costing $160 annually with deductibles as low as $25 according to Consumer Reports. For example, National Student Services, Inc. offers the following student personal property insurance plans (can vary by state):

Plan

Coverage Limit

Deductible

Cost

Wow

$2,000

$100

$6.92

Fantastic

$4,000

$50

$10.67

OMG

$10,000

$100

$23.84

Dorm insurance may be purchased through the college as part of the enrollment process or through a private dorm insurance company. Liability insurance is not always included and you may need to purchase it as a policy add-on.

Standalone Electronics Policy

A standalone electronics policy is ideal if you want to insure specific electronics, like laptops and cellphones. Some policies even insure your electronics from liquid spills, cracked screens, theft and even getting dropped in the campus pool. Purchasing a policy from your home insurance company may qualify you for a bundling discount.

Homeowner Insurance for College Students

FAQs

Does my homeowners insurance cover college students?

Standard home insurance coverage will typically protect your child while they are dorming on-campus but the coverage limits are only 10% of the personal contents coverage on your policy. Renters insurance can be an affordable coverage alternative that may offer higher limits for your college student.

Do you need renters insurance for a college dorm?

If your primary residence is insured with a standard homeowners policy, some coverage may extend to college students while dorming on-campus. Renters insurance can be affordable and is typically recommended if a college student is dorming off-campus or for on-campus dormers that want additional coverage.

Is dorm insurance available?

Student dorm insurance may be available through the college or privately and will typically insure personal belongings for fire, theft, vandalism and more, plus personal liability coverage (additional cost). Some insurers may even cover accidental damages to your personal belongings, like spilling a drink on your tablet.

What if the college student is living on and off campus part-time?

A standard homeowners policy typically extends coverage to a college student while living on-campus but often not when they’re living off-campus. Consult your insurance company about coverage options and limits during the school semester.

Key Takeaways

  • Standard homeowners insurance will typically cover college students while dorming on-campus but may deny coverage if the student lives off-campus.
  • A standard home policy typically extends only 10% of your personal property coverage to students living on-campus.
  • College students can purchase renters insurance if they’re not covered under their parent’s homeowners policy or want more coverage and higher limits.

Whether it’s homeowners or renters insurance, SmartFinancial can help you find the lowest price. College tuition is already expensive and finding a cheaper insurance policy can lead to considerable savings over time. Just enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive your free homeowners or renters insurance quotes.

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