Back to College: Got Insurance for Car, Room, and Portable Electronics?

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College students across Washington are gearing up for fall quarter, and last-minute to-do lists are tackled by parents and students alike.  Bedding, books and basic household items are likely packed, as are computer, sports gear and car key.

Now that the “stuff” is packed – what about the insurance to protect it if it gets lost or stolen?  Insurance, unfortunately, rarely makes it on the list of things to do in the back-to-college rush.

It’s not too late! With these 3 easy steps, you’ll get the good feeling of starting the college season well-protected.  Please call us at 425-379-9200 if you have any questions!

1.  Car Insurance

If your student is taking a car to school, he/she can still remain on your policy (even if school is out of state.)  In fact – they should stay on your policy since stand-alone car insurance for a young driver tends to be much more expensive than an added young driver on the parents’ policy.  Be sure to give your agent a call and advise them of the new garaging address and adjust liability limits if necessary.

Even if your student isn’t planning to take a car to college, it’s tempting to take them off your policy to save a few dollars. Our advice: Don’t do it! It’s important to keep your student listed in case they’ll be driving a friend’s car or during home visits, and to ensure uninterrupted coverage.

2. Renter’s Insurance

If your student lives in a dorm on campus, the parents’ home or renters insurance will extend to provide coverage up to 10% of the policy’s personal property limits.  That means, if mom and dad’s policy has $100,000 personal property limits, the student’s belongings would be covered up to 10% or $10,000.  Keep in mind that the student’s personal property coverage, just like mom and dad’s, is subject to the policy deductible, which can vary from $500 to $2,000.

If your student needs more coverage for their belongings or lives off-campus in their own apartment, it might be necessary to set up their own insurance policy.

3. Electronics, Equipment and Valuables

High-end computers, expensive software and pricey sports equipment can add up quickly. Here’s what you can do to help your student optimize protection for their belongings:

– Create a Dorm Inventory

Having a detailed list of every item your student brings to college can be an invaluable tool  in case of fire or theft.  Our McClain Insurance App can help with that!  Snap a picture of each item, add a short description and a picture of the receipt if you have it, and enjoy the good feeling of being organized and keeping track of your belongings.

– Protect Expensive Items
There’s no way around it: Your best bet in protecting expensive electronics or equipment is to lock it up, keep it out of sight, or keep it close.  Be sure to have adequate insurance protection limits to cover all personal belongings (see #2 – Renter’s Insurance.)  Call your insurance agent for help!

– Insurance for Portable Electronics
While devices like tablets, smart phones or laptops are protected for covered perils (fire or theft) on a standard homeowner’s / renter’s policy, the question is if it would be wise to file a claim with a deductible of $500 – $2,000 to cover an item that costs $750 to replace.

If the device is dropped or destroyed due to  negligence, home or renter’s insurance would not apply.  To protect your device against those accidents, consider purchasing a warranty or insurance plan from the electronics store.


When it comes to data, be sure to back up all data on your device frequently, set passwords  and install remote location and locking software.  If your device is stolen, be sure to call your service provider immediately:  While theft of the hardware is covered, data and credit charges to your phone service are not.

Please click here to see the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Guide for lost and stolen devices.  

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McClain Insurance Services
10410 19th Ave SE
Everett, WA 98208
(425) 379-9200
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