Twenty years ago, students moving into their college dorm packed away pencils, notebooks, textbooks, and lots and lots of scratch paper. Perhaps a calculator, maybe a boom box, but nothing compared to the iPods, speakers, televisions, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and other expensive electronic equipment.
Most dorm rooms are not equipped with any sort of security system, and with roommates coming and going at all hours of the day and night, you can’t even guarantee the dorm room will remain locked at all times.
On college campuses across the country, theft is among the top crimes, affecting an estimated 1 in 10 students. With upwards ten thousand dollar’s worth of equipment and electronics, students should take protect them with adequate insurance coverage while at school.
Dorm insurance can be similar to homeowners insurance to protect valuable belongings. As with a homeowner’s policy, conduct an inventory of everything going to the dorm to have adequate documentation of exactly how much money is tied up in that dorm room. Then talk to your homeowner’s insurance agent to find out what is covered - and what is not - under your existing policies.
For most homeowner’s policies, there is a limit for how much coverage is available for possessions stored away from the permanent home address. Students in dorms are usually covered up to a specified limit by parents' homeowners insurance policies, additional coverage may need to be purchased, depending on the equipment taken on campus.
Bicycles are covered by homeowners or renters insurance policies. But with a high deductible, it might not be worth filing a claim to cover a stolen bicycle. The best plan is to prevent theft in the first place. Spending more money on a heavy-duty lock will save you money on a brand new bike. Use a lock which immobilized both wheels and locks the frame to an immovable object such as a pole or bike rack. Even if you are only going to be gone a quick minute, it only takes a few second to steal an unlocked bike.
Even with adequate insurance coverage, the risk of theft on campus is too high to allow truly valuable heirlooms, jewelry, or other irreplaceable items to be stored in a dorm room. Keep these types of valuables at home, especially during their first year, when they know the least about their new surroundings and are meeting new friends and having new people in and out of their apartment or dorm.
If a student insists on taking something of significant value, rent a safe deposit box near campus to house the items. Engrave electronics with a driver’s license number and state of residence. Engraving your name and address is not necessary and can be dangerous information to provide to a thief, but a driver’s license number is more discrete method of identification that can be used to recover items later.
Students should never keep a large amount of cash in a dorm room or apartment, especially if the roommates are unknown to the renter. Instead, use bank cards or provide gift cards so students don't have to carry much cash.
One of the best actions students can take to protect themselves is to be aware of their surroundings, and understand the risks involved. Make students aware of the safety concerns of living away from home and encourage them to be responsible, cautious, and aware at all times.
By Matt Reynolds - Google+