Something You Can't Afford Not to Have!
Are you, or is a teen in your family, one in a million?
I'm talking about the one-million full-time students enrolled in
universities and colleges across Canada -- including more than 8,000 here
at UPEI, Holland College and other educational establishments on the
For around a quarter of them -- froshes -- it'll be their first time living
away from home. Another quarter likely will be moving from dorms into other
That's around half a million movers. How many of them do you think have
tenant insurance? If numbers from Statistics Canada are right, only about
half of them.
That's a shock because today's students have a lot more valuable
possessions -- laptops, tablets, phones and other gadgetry for instance --
than we had years ago. Oh yes, and books. Don't forget the cost of
Not only that, but college students run all kinds of personal property
risks that they might not have thought about.
For instance, they might -- heaven forbid! -- have a party in their dorm or
rental house which results in property damage or theft.
Or they might be at an event elsewhere and accidentally cause damage.
Who's going to pay for this? If they don't have a tenant insurance policy,
either they or their long-suffering folks will have to stump up the cost.
The trouble is that as college time approaches, young people and their
parents have so many other issues and challenges on their minds that
they're in danger of overlooking the need of tenant insurance for students.
"Do I Need Tenant Insurance?"
In fact, many don't realize they need a tenant insurance policy, mistakenly
thinking that the building owner -- the college or a landlord -- is
responsible for personal property losses.
In the main, this isn’t so -- though some colleges might offer some kind of
protection in dorms. Mostly, only the structure of the building is insured.
This is a big headache because personal property in student accommodation
is probably more at risk of being stolen than it would be, say, at home.
That's because students often share accommodation and either they or their
roommates sometimes leave doors open, have lots of visitors and generally
have their minds on things other than safeguarding their possessions.
In shared accommodation, tenant insurance for roommates is every bit as
important as it is for you (or your teen).
What Does Tenant Insurance for University Students Cover?
Does tenant insurance cover theft? Yes, and quite a bit more. Mostly the
coverage comes under the heading of personal liability -- costs
attributable to something the insured person caused or is responsible for.
For a fairly modest sum, tenant insurance for students usually covers a
fairly wide range of risks. For example, property theft and the
aforementioned costs of that party damage -- at home or away.
It should also cover:
- Tenant insurance for additional living expenses -- the costs of temporary
accommodation (for example in hotels) and meals if the student has to move
out while damage is made good.
- Damage to the apartment/room/dorm caused by, say, letting the sink
overflow. Damage caused to neighbouring accommodation from the same source
would also be covered.
- Medical costs for someone injured while visiting.
- Vandalism or damage caused during a break-in
How Much Student Tenant Insurance Do I Need?
As regards personal possessions, it's a simple piece of math (hopefully,
for a student!) to add up the value of the various items they own.
An insurance broker will use this as the foundation for part of the
calculation, though there are other things like the building's location,
size, etc that have to be taken into account.
There's also the question of whether the policy provides new-for-old
coverage -- that is whether it provides full replacement cost -- or just
current value compensation.
It's a good exercise to make and maintain a list of personal property in
your student accommodation anyway. It's helpful if you ever have to report
a theft or loss.
You should also keep it up-to-date so you can talk with your insurance
broker to ensure you're fully protected.
Students acquire stuff and the forget about it. That won’t do for good
Before you get a quote for a student tenant insurance policy, check with
your broker to see if an existing homeowners insurance policy covers any or
all of the risks mentioned.
That's not unusual on campus (though rarer for rented accommodation) but
you may find there are quite stringent limits on the maximums covered.
You'd need to make sure you're within those limits and that your liability
insurance is adequate -- that's where the surprising damage or injury costs
can lurk, especially if there's a lawsuit looming.
A second important point to think about is whether you need your tenant
insurance policy to remain in force during vacation periods. Again, this is
something to discuss with your broker.
What To Do Next
If you're a student about to go away or return to college, talk to your
parents about tenant insurance for students -- especially since they may
have paid for some of the valuable stuff you own!
And if you're a parent, speak to a broker (Peake & McInnis LTD of course!)
to find out how to get protected. It doesn’t cost a great deal, but the
peace of mind it buys you will be thoroughly worthwhile.
I'll finish with those quote from Amanda Dean, Vice President, Atlantic,
for the Insurance Bureau of Canada: "Moving away from home to go to school
is exciting, but it brings more responsibility. To help make sure your
belongings are taken care of, tenant's insurance is a must. It's really
something you can't afford not to have."