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The Empty Nest and Insurance Needs

As parents we nurture and encourage our children through their school years but many of us are ill-prepared for the day we will leave them to their new surroundings at a college campus and dorm life. I remember my feelings of angst and profound sadness that my baby was going to be a half hour from home. Now I look back in amusement after having married her off and being a grandmother to her children, but I also know the overwhelming amount of "what ifs" that go through a first-time empty nester's mind. I would like to address one concern that rarely comes up but could have a lasting financial impact on you and your child while they are going through their college years.

Most parents should consider coverage for your student's personal property when they are living on campus. There is usually a provision within your primary homeowner's policy that extends coverage off premises for a percentage (typically 10% of the contents coverage) to the personal property in the dorm. An example would be if you currently carry $100,000 in contents coverage on your homeowners, your child would most likely have coverage up to $10,000 away from premises if they would otherwise be living at home with you full time. While $10,000 sounds adequate, bear in mind that many student dorm rooms involve furniture, electronics, clothing, and all other effects. With that in mind, $10,000 in coverage could potentially be exhausted pretty quickly.

Another option could address needs for contents and is relatively inexpensive. Renters insurance could provide primary coverage to the contents of your student's living space and could be moved with them should they decide to move into a more permanent situation such as an apartment. This would also provide some personal liability for the student to protect against negligent acts and many apartment communities now require proof of liability coverage. The other benefit to a renter's policy is that you can select the amount of coverage needed specifically for your child's personal property without a limitation or extension from another policy. The cost of renter's insurance is typically inexpensive and provides broader protection than using the policy extension found in the homeowner's policy.

If you're in the midst of making decision for college life for your child, please take a moment to consider renter's coverage for him or her. We have experienced professionals who would be glad to work with you in providing protection as your student ventures into the academics of higher education. Call us today!

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