Does your insurance cover your university-aged kid?

Are your kids covered under your insurance policy?

Sarah Twomey | Desjardins Group

Maybe you can relate to the following story: your daughter is heading into second year at university and will be renting a cute house with a few of her best friends. You think it’s a great learning experience for her — managing her first apartment while balancing school and a budget. She packs everything up, including her laptop, mountain bike and some nice jewelry that you gave her at graduation. A month in and the phone rings at midnight. It’s your daughter and her place has been robbed. What do you do, besides making sure she’s ok and calling the police?

Well, some of those things might be lost forever but the good news is that she should still be covered under your home insurance. The other piece of good news is that this is a hypothetical situation that includes some real-life tips from Desjardins Insurance on how you can prepare yourself and your kid before they set off to school for the upcoming year.

First off, are you covered?

Before the school year starts, call your insurance company to see if your policy will protect your kids while they’re away from home. For example, will it cover damage like fire, theft, certain kinds of water damage, like a plumbing problem, and vandalism? Similar to tenant insurance, if his or her place is seriously damaged as a result of an insured loss, your policy should include additional living expenses if ever he or she is displaced. Also, see if liability coverage is included in case your child is hurt due to the landlord’s negligence, for example slipping and falling on a wet floor.

Second, take an inventory

As your kid is packing, take an inventory including photos to determine the value of your contents. This will only take a few minutes and will make things a lot easier if he or she experiences a loss. Keep in mind however that coverage for some insured items may be subject to exclusions or maximum limits. Read your policy carefully to determine your exact coverage. Typical items to include are: computer, printer, tablet, smart phone, music player and other electronics, clothes, footwear, other personal and household items.

Third, take extra precaution

Every year approximately 100,000 bicycles are stolen in Canada. Here’s a practical suggestion: if you want to avoid losing your bike, make sure it is locked and if possible stored in a secure location like a garage or a bike room. But if you are victimized, the important questions now are: how much is it worth, because your policy will include a deductible; and does it make sense to put in a claim with your insurance company. Home insurance deductibles typically range from $500 to $1000. So if you purchased your bike for $150 plus tax, it would be wise to just replace it.

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