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Leaving The Nest But Underinsured

Many students and parents unaware of insurance options for belongings.
UNIVERSITY PARK – Zachary Serrano is accustomed to schlepping all his belongings all over the place. He’s lived in Biloxi, Orlando, Philadelphia, and most recently, State College where he’s entering his senior year at Penn State.

“Coming into college, being on my own and being independent, it’s a big difference,” he said, recalling his freshman year. “I had a lot of clothes, a few pieces of furniture, a TV, and guitars.”

Unfortunately, all of those belongings can be stolen or damaged in the hustle and bustle of college life.

According to State Farm Agent Liz Dudek, college students will take $5,000 to $10,000 worth of belongings with them to college.

“Most students are covered under their parents’ policies if they’re living on campus,” said Dudek. “If you’re living off campus there’s no coverage,” she added. “That’s a big shocker to many.”

For students living off-campus, Dudek says basic renters should cover most belongings in the event of theft of accidents like fire.

Dudek also said regardless of whether students live on or off-campus, it’s important to keep an inventory of everything they bring with them to college.

“Go through your dorm or apartment and take pictures,” she said. “Then you have an inventory to fall back on if something happens and you need to report it.

Dudek said sometimes students and parents are surprised to learn what’s not covered under existing plans.

“The one specific thing that comes up quite a bit is laptops,” she added. “If you drop it, a normal renters policy does not cover that for you, so you would have to insure that separately and then it’s covered.”

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