Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover My College Student?

Harford County Homeowners Insurance

It’s that time of year again. Whether you have a brand new college student starting their freshman year, or you just helped your older college student move into their off campus apartment, you realize that Wow! They have a lot of stuff!

And they’re growing up. You can’t protect them from everything, including theft of their bike, laptop, iPhone, etc. But if those items are stolen while they’re away at college, does your homeowners insurance cover the loss?

The answer: It depends.

DORM LIVING

If your student lives in the dorms, or other on-campus housing, many of their belongings will be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy for loss due to theft, fire or damage.

But there are some exceptions:

  • Computers may not be covered. You may want to buy additional insurance.
  • Jewelry and other high dollar items may have a specific limit. If your student’s possessions are worth more than that limit, they will need extra coverage. Or, consider leaving high dollar items at home.
  • Smartphone insurance may make more sense and be more affordable than making a claim on your homeowners insurance.

Before your college student moves onto campus, check with your insurance agent and review your policy to see what’s covered. You may want to get additional coverage. Also, many colleges send out information from companies that specialize in insuring college students’ belongings. Make sure to read the fine print.

OFF CAMPUS LIVING

For students living off campus, the rules are completely different. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover a single item while they live off campus. They (or you) will need to purchase renter’s insurance.

Renter’s insurance is generally very affordable, and even the basic plans will likely cover most possessions. We can help you and your student select the best plan for their needs.

At Dean Insurance, we have been serving Bel Air and the Harford County Community since 1973, and we pride ourselves on offering you the best insurance protection, whether you’re at home or at college. Call Dean Insurance Agency today at 410-838-3700 to get a free quote, or to discuss your existing homeowners insurance policy.

Do I Need Pool Insurance for a Backyard Pool?

Bel Air Insurance Agent

If you have a pool, or you’re thinking about installing one, it’s a good idea to let your insurance agent or insurance company know. While nothing beats the dog days of summer like relaxing in a backyard pool, pool ownership comes with added responsibility. If the unexpected or tragic happens, do you have the insurance coverage you need to protect you? Whether it’s physical damage to the pool or your own liability, you may want to review your insurance coverage.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends that you make sure your insurance company knows you have a pool, or you’re planning to install one. This goes for both inground pools and above ground pools.

Property Coverage The property portion of your homeowners insurance policy likely extends to your swimming pool; so if a tree falls on it or there is vandalism of your pool, your policy would likely pay for removal of the tree and necessary repairs, after your deductible and up to the limits in your policy. Your insurance agent can help you figure out if you should increase your coverage based on the value of your pool, along with any pool equipment such as the pool deck or water slide.

Liability Coverage You will also want to check with your insurance agency to make sure you have enough liability coverage. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of people go to the emergency room each year for pool-related injuries. If someone is injured while using your pool, you could potentially face major expenses (both medical and legal) as a result. Liability coverage is a standard part of your homeowner’s insurance policy, but because a pool can increase your liability risk, you may want to increase your coverage.

The typical homeowner’s insurance policy provides $100,000 in base liability coverage. The III recommends increasing your liability coverage to $300,000 or $500,000 if you have a backyard pool.

If you have a pool or are thinking about installing one, and want to review your homeowners insurance, call Dean Insurance Agency today at 410-838-3700. We’ll go over your current policy, and make recommended changes. We may also suggest you consider purchasing a Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP). A PUP provides more liability coverage than your homeowners policy – generally up to $1 million. The PUP comes into play after you have exhausted the liability insurance provided by your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Do You Need Renters Insurance?

Bel Air Renters Insurance

Do You Need Renters Insurance?

The simple answer? Yes. Yes you do. And here’s why. Your belongings, including all of your clothes, furniture, electronics, etc. are NOT covered by either your parent’s homeowner’s insurance OR your landlord’s property insurance. Don’t think you have enough stuff to bother with insurance? Go through your place, room by room, and do an inventory of your clothes, furniture, electronics, music collection, kitchen utensils, etc. Tally up the approximate value of each item, adding on as you go. You may be surprised at the final number.

If there is a fire, the roof blows off in a storm, someone breaks in and steals all of your electronics, a crazy ex uses their key and comes in and trashes your place – in all of those scenarios, if you don’t have renters insurance, you eat the cost of replacing everything that was damaged or stolen.

If you’re already struggling to make ends meet with your first real job and paying off student loans, an unexpected financial hit can be devastating.

That’s why renters insurance makes so much sense. For a relatively small premium, renters insurance covers your property for its purchase price, minus depreciation, up to the policy limit.

Now as with any type of insurance, you could pay for renters insurance year after year and never need it. While some renters see it as a waste of money, those who end up needing it say they are grateful they had it.

Renters insurance doesn’t just pay to replace your stuff. It also protects tenants from a few kinds of liability. For example, if someone trips and falls in your apartment and incurs expensive medical bills or even a lawsuit, a renter’s insurance policy would provide coverage.

Renters insurance could also be a financial lifesaver. If you left the stove on and caused a fire, any damage caused to your apartment and the building would be your responsibility.

Renters insurance may also help play for a place to stay if your apartment is inhabitable, such as from hurricane damage or because of a major repair. Most policies place a time limit and dollar limit on what they will pay for you to stay in temporary digs.

How much does renters insurance cost? A basic policy, with $10,000 in personal property coverage and $100,000 in liability coverage, costs about $150 dollars. Even if you bump up coverage levels, most renter’s insurance policies will still run you less than $200 a year.

If you bundle your renters insurance with your auto insurance, you might get a discount, and if there are safety features in your apartment such as a sprinkler system, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, an alarm system, a staffed front desk etc., let your insurance agent or insurance company know about them. Safety features can decrease the cost of your policy.

Like any other insurance policy, your renter’s insurance policy will have a deductible. If your deductible is $250 for example, and you suffer a $1000 loss, you would receive a check for $750.

Look around you. Do you own some expensive things, or a whole lot of stuff? What would it cost to replace it if you lost everything? For the price of a pizza a month, you can protect it all with a renter’s insurance policy.

If you want to learn more about getting renters insurance, call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 to discuss details. We’d be happy to help!

The Facts About Long Term Care Insurance

Harford County Long Term Care Insurance

Americans are living longer and longer, and health care costs keep going up and up. Have you given serious thought to how you will pay for your health care as you age? Medicare only covers so much. And there are a lot of things it doesn’t cover, such as:

  • Routine vision exams, eyeglasses or contacts. Medicare will generally cover tests related to glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes.
  • Dental care, including teeth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, crowns bridges or dentures.
  • Hearing aids and exams.
  • Cosmetic surgery unless it is needed as the result of an illness.
  • Long term care in assisted living, dementia care or a nursing home.

That last one is the biggie. If you live long enough that you can no longer care for yourself and need help with daily living, or become mentally or physically incapacitated where you need round the clock care, you may want to consider long term care insurance.

If you are relatively wealthy, you can probably self-insure. But if you are of moderate means and want to protect the assets you do have, long term care insurance can help with that. The alternative is to use up all of your funds – retirement funds, savings, sell your home, etc. to pay for long term care until you become eligible for Medicaid. And not everyone accepts Medicaid.

The time to think about long term care insurance is before you get old. If your only source of income is your Social Security benefits, you should not buy long term care insurance. If you have financial assets you want to protect, then you may want to consider long term care insurance. But you need to be sure you can afford the premium now, and in the future.

Most insurance companies sell long term care insurance policies, but they can vary quite a bit from company to company. That’s why working with an independent insurance agent like Dean Insurance can be of benefit to you. We have the ability to check policy prices and coverages with a number of different companies, to find you the best coverage at the best price.

If you’re interested in learning more about long term care insurance and if it’s right for you and your spouse, call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 to set up a free consultation.