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Do your homework to make sure your college-bound child is covered

Dateline: Madison, Wis., Aug. 20, 2013

More than 35,000 property crimes take place on college and university campuses each year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Is your college-bound child adequately insured should his or her place become the next target?

Homeowners insurance generally provides personal property coverage for a student who lives in a dormitory or other university-owned housing. The coverage is typically 10 percent of the parent's contents coverage limit. If the parents' personal possessions are insured for $100,000, the student's are covered for $10,000. As with the parents' personal property coverage, the student's property is covered on a named peril basis, so common things such as fire and theft, would generally be covered.

If your child lives off campus, however, your homeowners insurance policy may not cover them anymore. The key question becomes: Is the child still a resident of your household?

A multitude of factors determine residency. If the student returns home for the summer and is listed as a dependant on your income taxes, he or she is still regarded as a resident of the household. In that situation, the student would still be covered under your homeowners policy.

That's not the case if the student lives at the apartment year-round and lists it as his or her permanent address. In that situation, the student has established his or her own residence and your homeowners insurance no longer applies. The student needs to purchase a separate renters policy for protection.

A renters policy will not only cover your college student's possessions, it will also provide liability protection should someone be injured while on the premises.

Renters insurance costs about $100-$150 per year for $15,000 in coverage. That's pretty affordable compared to the cost of replacing personal computers, stereo equipment and other big-ticket items that college students now take to school.

College is an ideal opportunity to teach your children the value of insurance. Sit down with them and your insurance agent to make sure their needs are covered.

The above information may not apply to all insurers. Again, be sure to check with your insurance agent to make sure what your coverages are and that you are properly covered.

Contact:
Janet Masters
American Family Insurance
(608) 242-4100, ext. 30409

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers business insurance in 19 states. American Family Mutual Insurance Company is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam. Google+ plus.google.com/+amfam/