Insurance is a Must-Have for College Students and Their Stuff

Updated: 08/24/2013 3:18 PM By: Beth McDonough

It's the annual rite of passage for thousands of Minnesota families:  sending a son or daughter off to college.

Now more than ever, your child is likely packing expensive must-haves:  things like iPads, laptops, cell phones and e-readers.

Because of the high-priced gadgets there's another must-have: insurance.

Just ask the Szeluga family.

As they drop-off their son and all of his stuff at the U of M, the seasoned parents made sure that even though he's no longer living under their roof, he and his belongings are protected, "we've already had three kids go through college, we've had some misfortunes, things get lost, stolen or broken," says John Szeluga.

Over the summer, someone helped themselves to Kevin Szeluga's backpack with his wallet inside, "that was a rough few weeks."

That's why his parents double-checked their homeowner's policy.  They believe insurance coverage is just as important a decision as which courses Kevin takes, "nowadays it's the electronics you worry about."

Records from the Office of Higher Education show there were 457,000 college students in Minnesota in 2011.  Most packing their own computer, laptop or tablet, "it's my lifeline right there, emails, schoolwork, it's the whole shebang," says Szeluga.

Since Kevin is under 26 years old and living on campus, his beloved computer and big screen TV are covered under his parents' homeowners policy.

But the Minnesota Department of Commerce wants families to know, if your child lives off-campus in a nearby apartment, they're likely not covered by a standard homeowners policy.  In that case, you need to buy renter's insurance.  Some complexes near Dinky town require students to show proof when signing a lease.

The Insurance Federation of Minnesota tells us that only 95 of all Minnesotans who need renter's insurance actually have it.  It's a separate policy and fairly affordable.  It averages about $150 a year, so roughly $12/month.  It covers personal possessions, plus provides some liability protection.

If your child is driving a car to campus, it's likely covered under a parents auto policy.  Same goes for health insurance until they reach the age of 26.