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The College Board indicates that more than 1,237 institutions now guarantee student housing for all freshmen with many institutions requiring students to live on campus. This requirement has many benefits but it has also created new forms of risk for students and their families.
In the past year, we were pleased to have participated in panel discussions at ACUHO-I (Association of College and University Housing Officers International) and URMIA (University Risk Manager and Insurance Administrators) regarding new policy approaches taken by major institutions to mitigate these risks and the losses experienced by both institutions and students.
Many colleges are now adopting a policy that requires each resident to acknowledge their liability while also providing a convenient way to electronically enroll in a renters insurance program.
University student housing officers and risk managers are recognizing the need for greater campus involvement. The modest cost of renters insurance programs (between $10 - $15.00 per month) provides real value to students. These programs also reduce the costs associated with managing claims processes or dealing with upset students and families who may otherwise blame the institution for the financial loss to their student.
Common Objectives of creating a Preferred Renters Program.
- Reduce the costs associated with losses to students and the institution
- Help students & residents recover from financial losses or pay for unintentional damage for which they may be found responsible.
- Receive participation reports, making it easier for the school to collect on damages and assist students with recovering from property losses.
- Achieve high levels of student participation AND protection not seen by multiple site links or distribution of brochures.
The Old Approach Had Few Benefits
Schools have often recommend students consider purchasing renters insurance by referencing it during orientation programs or by distributing flyers for local insurance agents. However, this approach is clearly outdated, provides little to no protection (typically less than 2% participate in these passive approaches) and no longer provides real value to students or the institution.
Renters Insurance is a Practical Solution for Students & Institutions
Many young adults may not have sufficient protection to replace their property if it is stolen or damaged, or may not be able to pay for damages for which they are liable. Given these sizeable losses, it has become more common for schools to offer a preferred renters provider. Such a provider can simplify the enrollment process and offer relevant student product features. Programs include liability coverage that will pay schools or other parties when students cause unintentional damage to their residence, while also helping students protect their personal property from theft, fire or other covered losses.
To achieve high levels of resident protection, many schools are now making renters insurance available when students sign their lease and acknowledge their responsibilities.
Requiring residents to acknowledge their liability or choose to purchase renters insurance is an easy way to achieve high levels of student protetion.
Adopting a verification policy is useful, as it will help students who might otherwise be overwhelmed by the choices available on the internet. In fact, students may fail to purchase true renters insurance that includes both property and liability protection. The importance of liability protection is that it helps students overcome the large losses that they may be responsible for, such as the water damaged caused by a residence hall sprinkler.
New Institutional Policy & Campus Benefits
For these reasons and many more, we encourage university officials to embrace an institutional policy that offers a Preferred Renters Insurance Program to all residents. Note: a Preferred Program does not require exclusivity but does assure the institution of service levels that may not otherwise be present from vendors who simply distribute flyers.
We welcome your feedback and other ideas for how we can provide valuable student benefits to students.
Contact GradGuard to learn more about how your school can implement a Preferred Renters Liability and Protection Program.