As the new school year begins, parents across the U.S. are sending their kids back to college with new electronics and computer devices that are nowadays anything from cheap. Devices such as iPads, smartphones, cameras, iPods and laptops can have a student carrying thousands of dollars of electronics to and from class every day.
Parents dread receiving the call explaining a broken laptop because of spilt drink or it was crunched from being stepped on in the dorm. Accidents happen, but college students without their laptops could make it difficult to study, write papers or take notes in class.
Issues could arise with homeowners insurance coverage
Some parents think that by their students claiming residency at their homes, renters or homeowners insurance will cover the costs of a lost or damaged device, the Almanac News reported.
"If a student is living at home, or at least still claiming residence at home, the homeowner's policy should cover damages," said Dave Phillips, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, according to the source. "And on-campus housing is covered under the tuition language and their parents' policy."
However, it's not always the case with different homeowners insurance policies, and some plans could have parents working through tons of red tape just to replace the device. When it comes to students needing their laptops replaced immediately, personal insurance specifically for their Chromebooks or MacBooks could replace the device immediately, so students won't have to see as much downtime as a result of losing their computers.
What to do when kids live off campus
Homeowners insurance tends to get more complicated when students move off campus and into an apartment. Typically, renters insurance is needed to protect devices that are stolen or damaged in a fire. However, renters insurance might not cover accidental mishaps like personal insurance would.
"Mysterious loss and accidental damage or destruction, even by the owner, is covered under a personal articles policy," said Donna Morosco, an insurance agent in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, according to the source.
Additionally, computers tend to break a lot - especially for college kids. According to Consumer Reports, roughly a third of laptops don't make it to their fourth year of ownership, and most warranties protect less as the years go by.
"With many electronics, parts are covered for one year, but labor is only good for 90 days," said Eric Arnum, an editor for Warranty Week, according to the source. "I think that's designed to encourage people to dispose of the products when they find out the cost of the repair is more than their product is worth. You say to yourself, 'I'll just toss it and get a new one.' And manufacturers say, 'Aha! It worked.'"
Replacing laptops completely could burn a hole in a pocket quickly, and even more so for parents who invested in multiple electronic devices for their kids. Personal insurance can give parents the peace of mind by knowing whatever the damage or situation, their students are protected.