School Spotlight: How Cal State Monterey Bay Protects Students from Financial Losses

November 10, 2020 7:00:00 AM EST / by Natalie Tarangioli

A lot of learning is done in college, in and outside of the classroom. One of the biggest things students learn to do is how to live on their own. Sometimes, living on your own might mean accidentally damaging your residence hall.

Like most schools, California State University, Monterey Bay had experienced a few situations like that when they started looking into more options on how to educate their residents about renters insurance

Implementation is simple

The university wanted their students to be protected without the burden of a huge cost, according to Robyn DoCanto, the Coordinator of Housing Operations at CSUMB.

"The reality is that students choose a CSU because it’s affordable," DoCanto said. "So students shouldn’t be burdened by one mistake that they make in college, with a huge financial repercussion.”

CSUMB housing staff found GradGuard's Renters Insurance appealing because of how easy it was to integrate in their existing housing application software, StarRez. 

DoCanto said she and her colleagues knew right off the bat they didn't want to create a cumbersome insurance process for the students. And they were pleasantly surprised to find implementing with GradGuard was the complete opposite of that. 

What drew CSUMB staff to GradGuard's Renters Insurance:

  • Affordability for students
  • Easy to understand what's covered and what's not
  • Voluntary to purchase

CSUMB officially partnered with GradGuard in Oct. 2019. Adding the active choice option for students to the existing housing application was simple, and students are directed to GradGuard's page without any pressure to purchase, DoCanto said. 

Robyn DoCanto shares her institution's experience working with GradGuard.

College allows students the opportunity to make independent decisions for the first time, such as buying renters insurance. Purchasing a policy, or not, from GradGuard, when integrated within the school's housing application, is completely up to the student.

"It creates this kind of open-ended ability for students to make their own decisions and decide how they want coverage with insurance," DoCanto said. "And that might not be a decision they were able to make before, because whoever they lived with -- their parent, supporter -- covered their insurance before. So now they get their own adulting experience in that."

If a student or family member reaches out to the CSUMB for guidance on renters insurance, school staff are able to guide them in the right direction, whatever that right direction is for them, DoCanto explains. That's based on personal considerations including affordability, coverage, and if they believe it's necessary.

Partnership takes the confusion out of insurance

GradGuard aims to make it as easy as possible for institutions to explain the benefits of renters insurance to students, according to Seth Westby, Assistant Director of Campus Partnerships. 

"It’s great to work with colleges and universities to make renters insurance a simple process for them in general," Westby said. "Monterey Bay is no exception. We want to take that pressure off of staff having to do a bunch of different work for renters insurance."

CSUMB is one of many California State University campuses that GradGuard currently works with. Westby says the CSUs have been big advocates of the program, even as student housing looks a bit different this year due to the pandemic. 

"We would definitely recommend GradGuard. Now more than ever, we all need insurance to cover us for the unexpected things that are happening in the world," DoCanto said. "GradGuard is probably the simplest insurance company I've ever dealt with."


Students first learn about renters insurance when they live on their own for the first time in college, whether it's in student housing or off campus. Schools like Cal State Monterey Bay do their students and families a real service by presenting them with an active choice in the on campus housing application, where without one, the default answer would leave them and their belongings, along with school property, unprotected from the unexpected. Integrating with your institution's existing housing software makes it easier than ever to lessen burdensome financial losses on campus.

Learn More About Renters Insurance Eligibility

Topics: student success

Natalie Tarangioli

Written by Natalie Tarangioli

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