Your Homeowners Policy Goes to College
As the parent of 20-year-old twins, I have just entered my third year of their living away from home. Letting them go two years ago was not easy. Time has not dimmed my desire to know how and what they are doing.
If you have children living away from home, you know how I feel. I want them to be independent and yet I still want to be there to provide a safety net.
We insurance guys are big on the safety net concept.
The good news is that the safety net you provide to your children away from home can be more than just moral and financial support.
Your homeowners insurance policy continues to cover your children when they go off to college or join the military. Going to school away from home is not considered a permanent withdrawal from the household as there is still “intention to return” for school breaks and summer vacation. Even if your child chooses to live off campus, your homeowners policy still covers them to some extent.
What is that extent?
As “insureds,” your children’s personal property is covered up to 10 percent of your homeowners policy limit of coverage when that property is outside of the residents’ home. If the policy declarations show a limit for personal property of $100,000, the student’s property is covered up to $10,000.
It is worth the time to take a quick inventory of your child’s possessions to see if your 10 percent extension will cover them. Clothing, furniture, text books, and electronics can add up to a substantial sum. Anyone who has shopped to furnish a college dorm room or apartment can attest to that!
To widen their safety net, you may want to consider tenants insurance. Tenants insurance is relatively inexpensive. Moreover, claims to your child’s tenants policy do not count against your homeowners policy. Tenants insurance can also eliminate the gray area of temporary residence if your child keeps the same apartment for more than one year.
If you choose not to purchase tenants insurance, we recommend that you put any possessions you leave at college in storage to avoid any theft restrictions on your homeowners policy.
What about your auto insurance policy? Well, in the same manner that homeowners insurers still consider children at school household members, auto insurers regard anyone who “customarily operates your auto” as someone who should be listed on the coverage selections page of your auto policy.
So if your children are going to return for breaks and summer vacation and use your car, you need to keep them on your policy.
Now that you know how to keep your safety net out for your children when they leave the nest for school or the military, you can go out and do fun things together when they return. Like zip lining!
Please call or email your account manager if you have any questions about how your homeowners or auto insurance policies relate to your children living away from home.