Preparing to live on Campus

For many young people going to college or university and living either on or off campus it is a busy and exciting time, so usually the last thing that they have in mind is any form of insurance. Often parents or the college will try to remind fresher year students or in some cases the college authorities or Student Union may mention it in the course of the induction program. If you are a continuing student always make sure to renew your cover on time. In some cases it is better to arrange your campus insurance to renew automatically.

In many larger colleges and universities there may be a campus insurance office, or you might be recommended to use an online broker. You can also perhaps get some cover on your parent’s household insurance or get a discount by using the same insurance company or broker as your family.

Austin Hall, Harvard University Law School

In bigger campuses there is often an insurance office (source)

The main types of Insurance plans

There are a number of different types of insurance policy cover you need to consider. You may find it useful to discuss what you need with a campus insurance advisor. However the main types of campus insurance plans that you might need to consider include the following (this list is not exhaustive so check with a specialist student advisor what you might need):

  1. Dorm Room and possessions, often called Renters Insurance. Probably this is the first thing you will consider. This relates to all your possessions or ‘stuff’ that you have in your dorm room or off campus accommodation. If anything happens such as theft, fire, flood etc you will be amazed how expensive it is to replace everything. Make a list of all your possessions and their personal and total value. If possible take photographs and keep bills or receipts for valuable items like laptop computers and mobile phones. Keep a copy of everything by emailing it to yourself. Not much good having it all on your PC if that gets stolen or damaged! Hopefully you will not need to make a claim but be ready. Bicycle theft is a common campus issue. You can see this article for making a Renters Insurance Claim.
  2. Cover for possessions while out and about for classes and travelling. What happens if your laptop gets stolen from the gym locker or gets knocked off a table in the library? You can usually add-on cover for this sort of accident or theft to the Dorm Room or Renters Insurance. You will usually have to specify the items and their value that you want the extra cover for.
  3. Personal Liability to others. What happens if someone gets injured in an accident that you are held responsible for, maybe on the sports field? Often you can add this cover to some sort of general student insurance policy.
  4. Medical Insurance. Who covers you and for what? Always check this out and make sure you have the registration details and contact numbers handy.
  5. Travel Insurance including medical. As a student you will probably want to travel, perhaps overseas, before you go take out general student travel insurance. Take this out as soon as you book or make any reservations so that you are covered for cancellation if necessary. This should cover, possessions, luggage, money, medical and so on. Make sure that the cover is adequate for where you intend to go.
  6. Winter sports or hazardous sports insurance. This is one that causes many students and even many graduates terrible problems. Most people remember to take out travel insurance and think that they are covered for everything they get involved in on holiday. However if you are getting involved in skiing, snowboarding or other winter sports you need extra insurance. Likewise for scuba diving, paragliding and so on. Make sure you have the right sort of insurance or you could have huge bills to meet if something does go wrong! Check the policy carefully, accidents do happen even to the most experienced.
  7. Student Exchange overseas possessions and medical etc. Perhaps you can do an exchange term or year abroad as part of your course. Many campus insurance agencies can sell you a specific policy to cover these needs, depending on where you are going to study.
  8. Car Insurance. Obviously if you have a car you need this and often the campus insurance office can offer a competitive policy so it is worth checking it out.

 That's not all!

This not a comprehensive or exhaustive list of all the possible campus insurance needs you might have so wherever you are be it California, San Jose, Yale or wherever make sure you have a solution to your student insurance needs. If in doubt check it out, do something sooner than later. A few minutes stopping by the student insurance office now cannot stop a disaster from happening but it can greatly reduce the financial impact if it does.