August 31, 2010
There’s one more thing for parents to put on back-to-school to-do lists: ensure that they have proper coverage for costly school supplies like computers, cell phones, cars and even more intangible risks like identity theft.
With brand-new laptops, cellphones and MP3 players in tow–and increased online activity–students face a range of risks on campus, whether they’re in high school or college, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), which urges policyholders and insurance providers to rethink, and talk about coverage before the start of the school year.
“With sophisticated electronics and expensive sports equipment increasingly common on campuses around the country, many students may be bringing thousands of dollars worth of personal possessions with them to college,” Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I., said in an III bulletin. “With the cost of tuition rising, the last thing students or their parents want to do is to have to pay to replace costly items due to theft, fire or another disaster.”
Though many home policies will cover personal property loss for students to a point, some should consider separate policies for more expensive items. Students living off campus should have renter’s insurance, another association, the Insurance Information Network of California suggests.
And while those taking a parent’s car to school will likely still be covered by the original auto policy, policyholders should let their insurer know that the car will be in a different city, or town. Students taking their own cars will need their own policies, the network notes.
The III has created a web-based tool (www.KnowYourStuff.org) that helps parents and students create an inventory of their school-bound belongings, and suggests that students leave really expensive items at home; engrave their electronic items with their name so they can be tracked; and always keep their dorms locked.
Safety also ranks high on the list of student-centric risks. More than two-thirds of respondents–67%–to a recent Chubb Group survey said their children face more risks than they did as students. Technology-related hazards also rank among the top worries–parents list online predators as the top threat (38%), followed by identity theft (25%), cyberbullying (18%) and sexting (14%).
The insurer has issued a safety guide that examines common risks for students from middle-school to college-age.
“Today’s young people are growing up in a very different environment than their parents. A more holistic approach to safety can help save families heartbreaks, headaches, money and time,” Christine Alderman, vice president of Chubb & Son, said in a statement announcing the findings. “Parents also can make sure that their homeowners, auto, travel-related and liability insurance policies adequately address the risks.”
The Chubb guide is available at www.chubb.com/journalists/chubb12299.pdf.
This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.