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Do You Need College Dorm Insurance?

Karen Y. Larkin
Dorm room

Sometimes bad things happen, and no one is immune--including college students. If you lost all or some of the things in your dorm would you be able to replace them? If the answer is "no," you may want to invest in college dorm insurance.

What Is Covered?

Consider the replacement value of all the items in your dorm room. The amount may add up to more than you think.

At minimum, you probably have clothing, a notebook or laptop computer, a phone, and other personal belongings. You may also have musical instruments or specialized sporting equipment. Dorm insurance covers all these items and more. Televisions, digital music players, jewelry, bicycles, and textbooks are also typically covered.

Read your policy carefully before signing on the dotted line to be sure you understand what property is covered and what is excluded.

What Could Happen?

While it's true that your dorm probably won't catch fire or be swallowed by an earthquake, your property may still be at risk. The likelihood of spilling hot chocolate on your keyboard or being the victim of a theft is much higher. Sometimes college pranks go a little too far and can cause property damage as well. Pipes may freeze and burst, causing substantial water damage in your room. These are but a few of the events a dorm policy protects you from.

The Cost

Bankrate reports that the cost of a dorm policy is approximately $10 per month. If you file a claim, you will have to pay a deductible before the coverage kicks in, but deductibles start as low as $25.

Already Covered?

Before you rush out to buy a dorm insurance policy, check to see if you are already covered. If your parents own a home in the United States and carry homeowners insurance coverage, chances are good that their policy will extend to cover your property while you live on campus.

Even if you find that your belongings are already covered under your parent's policy, you may still want to consider a dorm policy. Deductibles on your parent's policy may be $500, $1000, or even higher. In the long run it may be less expensive to purchase the dorm policy in order to have the lower deductible.

Shopping for a Dorm Policy

Dorm policies are offered by a variety of companies. Some of these companies include, but are not limited to:

  • CSI Insurance Agency: This policy protects your computer equipment, mobile phone, iPod or MP3, books, clothes, bikes and more, in the event of a fire, theft, an earthquake, or accidental, electrical, or water damage. The coverage is for the replacement value of your items, so you don't have to worry about depreciation. The CSI website has an easy to use rate finder as well.
  • National Student Services: More than 2,500 colleges and universities officially recognize this plan. It allows students to purchase $2,000 to $20,000 in replacement value coverage, with deductibles ranging from $25 to $100. Coverage is for one year, and prices are clearly detailed on the company's website.
  • Esurance: This Allstate company offers coverage comparable to the policies above, but it also extends to provide identity theft and liability protection. Opt for replacement cost coverage (RCC), as opposed to actual cash value (ACV). The latter pays only the depreciated value of an item. For example, If it costs $800 to replace your three year old stolen computer, an RCC policy would pay $800. An ACV policy would take into account the fact that it is three years old, and pay a much lower amount.

Less Stress

College is stressful enough without having to worry about what you would do if your belongings were damaged or stolen. For the price of a pizza each month, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your property is protected.

Do You Need College Dorm Insurance?