As today’s college students head off to school they are bringing with them more and more expensive items. Since theft is one of the biggest crimes on campuses today, an estimated 1 in 10 students can expect to have something stolen. So the big question is, what can you do to minimize your risk?
Take Inventory of Your Belongings
The first thing to do is make a comprehensive list of everything (and the value of each thing) that is in your student’s dorm room. Next contact your homeowners insurance carrier. Many insurance companies cover assets kept in your student’s dorm, but have limits on that coverage. Other insurers do not cover this at all.
Make sure your totals fall within the limits set for your policy. If you are outside those limits consider adding coverage or securing a separate renters insurance policy for your student.
Irreplaceable Items Belong at Home
Since dorm rooms are notoriously unsafe make sure that anything taken away to school, especially the first year, is replaceable. There is no need to send your great grandmother's sentimental ring into an environment that is risky. Yes, if you've done your homework and managed everything well with your homeowners or renters insurance cover it would be covered, but how could you ever replace Grandmas ring?
Engraving electronics with a driver’s license number and state of residence will go a long way toward improving ownership, making engraved items less attractive to thieves. Of course it will also help with recovery of your possessions if a theft does occur.
Your local police department will have information on how to have protective engraving done. Items like CD’s, book bags and other small items can be marked with a student's name using an indelible pen. This type of protective measure will be a further deterrent to thieves who want to sell the items.
Students should NEVER keep a lot of cash in a dorm room, sorority or fraternity house. Encourage use of bank cards so students don't carry too much cash and there is a record of expenses. Review safety issues with your student so they are aware of the property risks of living away from home.
If a theft does occur, involve your student in the process of filing homeowners insurance claims, etc. With all these guidelines in place, your student may emerge from the experience with an enhanced sense of responsibility, awareness, caution, and a healthy respect for locked doors.