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Protect Your Stuff At School

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Aug. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Before cramming all the necessities for modern college living into the family minivan for the trip back to school this fall, you may want to ask yourself, "who pays for all of this stuff if it gets stolen or damaged?" 

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If they live in campus housing, students' stuff may be protected under their parents' homeowners insurance. However, if they live in off-campus housing, purchasing a renters insurance policy may help keep personal belongings properly covered in case of theft or damage while away at school.

"If your student lives on-campus, the items she takes to college that were previously covered by your homeowners policy will typically remain covered while she lives in university housing," said Keith Rutman, vice president of Emerging Businesses at Allstate. "But, if she chooses to rent an off-campus house or apartment, consider purchasing renters insurance – for about 50 cents per day, renters insurance covers personal property like her laptop, clothes and furniture, and also provides additional liability protection for other risks associated with independent living."

Allstate suggests some relatively simple things that a student can do to help keep track of their belongings:

  • Personalize your items. Engrave them with name, personalize with hard-to-remove stickers, use permanent marker.
  • Create an inventory. Take pictures of your valuables (and their serial numbers) so they can be identified later.
  • Lock your dorm room door whenever you leave. This may be the single most important rule. An open door with a laptop or other items sitting out on a desk is an open invitation.
  • Get to know other students on the floor and in the dorm. Recognize and report strangers and encourage other students to do the same.
  • Don't let strangers into the building. Don't prop security or outer doors open.
  • Don't leave expensive items out in the open. Don't leave your personal property unattended in study areas, cafeterias, libraries, or visible in your car.
  • Monitor who has keys to your place. Avoid loaning neighbors, classmates or the pizza guy keys to your place.

According to an Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) poll, only 35 percent of renters have renters insurance. Some common reasons that consumers give when they choose to not buy a renters insurance policy include:

  • They think the landlord has it covered
  • They think it's too expensive
  • They don't know it exists
  • They feel they don't have enough possessions to warrant a policy

A renters policy can help cover losses due to common perils like theft, fire and smoke, vandalism and water damage from accidental discharge or overflow from certain systems and appliances. In addition to coverage of these common claims, renters insurance can help by reimbursing the policyholder for reasonable increases in living expenses such as the extra cost to live in a hotel or other rental unit when a covered loss makes the rental unit uninhabitable. Renters insurance can also provide liability protection and guest medical coverage in case someone gets injured.

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