It was great to see ACUHOI discussion regarding the value of renters insurance in their message boards / forums. These are really useful discussions and it is great to see the variety of topics impacting leaders in student housing.
It is difficult for "vendors" to respond to these community discussions or to properly convey the value of GradGuard's programs without coming off as a commercial. As a result, we are sharing some relevant observations here.
We tend to think that similar minded people - when they have the same information - will come to similar to conclusions.
So we want you and ACUHOI members to have the rest of the story behind the value of renters insurance - so as they say here is “the rest of the story”.
Context Matters: The context for students living on campus has quickly changed over the past decades. Meal plans have changed to include healthy alternatives, green / sustainability plans have been added, wifi / cable tv have been added and even more.
As a result, it really isn't a surprize that their would be an evolution in how schools address the financial losses of both their residents and institution. Students have more property then ever and the cost of replacing stolen or damaged electronics is a primary driver of growing losses.
Today students are often required to live on campus and as a result those students attending college who may not have access to a homeowners coverage or families who are unaware of the potential “gotchas” within a homeowners policy are at risk in new ways. In addition, the losses that students experience (a stolen backpack is nearly always a $2,000 loss) or water damage within a residence hall - frequently cause tens of thousands of dollars that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, for a student to pay for.
It is useful to remember renters insurance contains both personal property and liability coverage. Unlike some programs that only promote property coverage, GradGuard provides true renters insurance protection that will be good not only on campus but for when students may choose to live off-campus in private housing.
It is a mistake for schools to suggest that students may not need renters insurance. Thirty years ago a parents homeowner’s coverage may have been adequate, but today it is much more common for families to have “gaps” in coverage. Gaps include the first $1,000 deductible cost (a common amount), gaps related to off-campus housing which is nearly never covered and gaps that may occur for students who go to part-time status. Each of these are common problems and short-comings of schools suggesting that homeowners is a sufficient remedy to protect students and families from financial losses.
Lastly - there is another problem that occurs when parents make a claim on their home policies. Such claims nearly always increases premium costs for the insured and frequently they will pay higher rates for an extended period. It may be for these reasons why 31 state insurance commissioners now recommend college students have renters insurance.
Growing Student Populations with a Real Need for Protection: In addition to limitations of homeowners policies, the other trend to be aware of is the growing population that doesn’t have access to homeowners insurance. The growth of international students living on campus as well as families who choose not to own homes. At some schools, such as UCLA or Arizona State University there are thousands of students living on its campus from other countries. These students and the more than 800,000 international students who enroll in U.S. colleges and universities will benefit from greater protection.
If this blog post sounds too commercial, you may better understand why we offer our perspective here within our blog. We welcome your comments and insights.