Requiring students to live on campus has many benefits, but it also creates an often unforeseen risk for students and their families. In fact, published research supports this requirement and data from the College Board indicates that more than 1,237 institutions now guarantee student housing for all freshmen.
As a result, colleges and universities are now looking for practical ways to provide greater protection for students. GradGuard, a service of Next Generation Insurance Group LLC, will be part of a panel discussion at ACUHO-I annual meeting in Orlando Florida where we discuss the “Trends and Best Practices in Implementing Renters Liability and Protection Programs”.
This panel discussion will provide valuable information on how many colleges are now benefiting from preferred insurance programs preferred renters insurance programs. These 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. Many schools are now making renters insurance available when students sign their lease and acknowledge their responsibilities.
Because many young adults may not have sufficient protection to replace their property if it is stolen or damaged, or to pay for damages for which they are liable. For that reason, the 2012 National Multifamily Housing Council published data that shows 84% of apartments require residents to have renters insurance protection.
Students may believe that their school will replace their property or that they have coverage through their parent’s homeowners insurance policy.
While it is true that students may be covered under a parent’s homeowner policy, this may not be the best option. Even if a parent’s insurance will cover a student, the practical reality is that the benefit may be limited due to a large deductible or low limitations. Additionally, filing a claim with homeowners insurance can be unattractive, as it may increase premiums for the following year.
Renters Insurance is a Practical Solution for Students
As a result, renters insurance is often an effective and practical solution for students, families and universities.
The most convenient way to receive this coverage for students is when the schools purchase coverage and include renters protection as part of the housing costs.
Another alternative that many schools prefer is to provide a convenient opportunity to purchase renters insurance coverage within the leasing process.
Integrated Policy Acknowledgement by Campus Residents
Given the "gap in coverage" and risk to campus residents, it is prudent for colleges and universities that require students to live on campus to also find ways to protect their residents.
Schools recognize the value in asking each resident to accept responsibility for their potential losses, or choose to purchase coverage. This form of mandatory consideration makes it convenient for students to enroll in important coverage while also becoming fully aware of the institution's policy.
Valuable Benefits to Universities and Students
Integrating a preferred renters program within the leasing process enables schools to:
- Help students 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 site links or distribution of brochures.
In the absence of a convenient enrollment process it is likely that students will be overwhelmed by the choices available on the internet or confused by what may meet their needs. In particular, 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.
Need for Greater Campus Involvement - University student housing and risk managers are recognizing the need for greater campus involvement. The modest cost of renters insurance programs (between $11 - $15.00 per month) provides real value to students while also reducing the costs associated with managing claims processes or dealing with upset students or families who may otherwise blame the institution for the fiancial loss to their student.
The involvement by campus administrators is similar to how schools approached student health insurance years ago. In recognition of the unique needs of students, today nearly all schools offer student health insurance and a growing number are adopting official renters insurance programs as well.
GradGuard's Preferred Rate - Renters Insurance Plan
GradGuard seeks to work on a preferred basis with schools and by doing so can often automatically provide preferred rates for students and residents. These lower rates combined with GradGuard's unique student endorsement provides flexibility that is not often found within generic renters plans offered on the internet.
In addition, GradGuard's unique features are appealing to students and families and are often positioned as an extra ammentiy for living on campus. For example, the GradGuard renters plan does not require a FICO score, does not require the applicant to be 18 and provides flexibility regarding the use of the student address on file.
For these reasons and many more, we encourage university officials to embrace official renters insurance programs. We welcome your feedback and other ideas for how we can provide valuable student benefits to students.
GradGuard's mission is to help students overcome financial losses that may disrupt their pursuit of an education. We have been pioneers in addressing the unique risks of 23 million college students in the United States. Today the investment families make in a college education requires all stakeholders to evalute the financial risks involved and to be prepared to overcome the financial losses that could result.
Contact GradGuard to learn more about how your school can implement a Renters Liability and Protection Program.