Consumer Alert: The one thing you can’t forget before sending your kid to college

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Today’s consumer alert concerns the one thing college students and their parents likely forgot. And it’s important. It’s renters’ insurance.

College students, I want you to think about all the things you brought to school, your TV, laptop, tablet, phone and Playstation. Now imagine your roomie is running late for class and forgets to lock the door. And when you get back, all that your stuff is gone.

But if you had renter’s insurance, you’d be covered. And if you’re living off-campus, a renter’s policy is the way to go. That’s because your parents’ homeowners insurance doesn’t cover your stuff when you’re off-campus. And renter’s insurance is cheap. According to Nerdwallet, in New York, the average cost is $12 a month.

"You definitely want to have renter’s insurance if your child is living off-campus because what if there’s a party or what if there’s an injury?” said AAA Public Relations Director Elizabeth Carey. “The owner of the property may have some insurance there but you want to make sure that for peace of mind that you have that renter’s insurance there especially if you’re talking about any kind of injury or incident.”

Experts with AAA say if you live on campus, your parents’ homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover you. But there are some things to consider. Let’s say your parents’ deductible is a thousand bucks. That means you’re out of luck if someone swipes your $800 laptop. And if you file on your homeowners’ policy, expect your premiums to go up. And here’s another complication; most renter’s insurance policies do not cover students living on campus.

So here are some of your options. You could get a rider on your homeowner’s policy, and it would cover that laptop with no deductible. But you have to buy a rider for each expensive item, which gets expensive.

A better option may be an insurer that has policies specifically for college students. Arthur J Gallagher and National Student Services Inc. are both recommended by Consumer Reports and have A+ with the Better Business Bureau. And they’re cheap, as low as $7 a month.

And those student policies not only cover the loss of your property, but they also cover you if you spill soda on that $800 laptop. As with any insurance purchase, there are a number of factors to consider when deciding. Consumer Reports outlines the risks and benefits of student insurance policies.