Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

One Last Thing to Pack for College: Insurance for Your Gadgets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

One Last Thing to Pack for College: Insurance for Your Gadgets

Article excerpt

When I headed off to college back in the 1960s, my most valuable possessions were my manual typewriter and a clock radio.

Total worth: less than $100.

And when my kids went off to college in the early 1980s, they had cassette tape-deck stereos and bulky word processors, worth less than $500.

But the typical college student of today arrives on campus with thousands of dollars worth of laptops, iPads, iPods, Kindles, Nooks, smart phones, Wii/Xbox, digital cameras and a variety of other electronic toys and tools, maybe even a fancy bike.

They're the necessities of life -- and expensive to replace if stolen or damaged. That's why it's a good idea to make sure they're insured.

"With sophisticated electronics and expensive sports equipment increasingly common on campuses around the country, many students may be bringing thousands of dollars worth of personal possessions with them to college," said Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, a New York-based trade organization.

"For the most part, the homeowner's policy is designed to recognize that the student is still a resident of the home, even if he's not living at home," said Eric Stenson, a spokesman for New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. "You are covered as if that property was at the residence."

If the parents rent, property coverage is basically the same, he said.

But it's not always that simple. Depending on your insurance company, the issue gets more complicated if the student resides off- campus or if the parents' policy limits coverage on expensive computers or sophisticated electronics, Salvatore said.

In those cases, you may need to purchase a special personal property floater, or an endorsement, to cover those items.

Doing so will not only provide a higher amount of insurance, but it may also provide broader coverage, she said. "Most floaters, for instance, also include additional coverage for 'mysterious disappearance.' "

Where you live may also determine your coverage.

If you live in a dorm and are a traditional student 25 or younger, you should be covered under your parents' policy. …

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