Keeping Your Valuables Safe at College

A checklist for new students.


November 24, 2020

10-28-blogs 76

For some of you, college may be the first time Mom and Dad aren’t there to make sure you’re in class on time and not missing your meals. They also aren’t around to secure your belongings. Now, that’s your responsibility.

Read on for tips to keep your valuables safe, whether you’re living in a college dorm room or an off-campus apartment.

Find out what’s already covered

How much coverage does your family’s homeowner’s insurance provide for the stuff in your dorm room? Some policies include financial protection for your possessions if you live on campus; others may limit coverage to a certain amount.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 10% of a policy’s overall coverage amount is for personal property. If your parents have a $100,000 policy, that means you’d have $10,000 worth of coverage if you live in a dorm room.

Consider renters insurance

A parent’s homeowner’s policies generally won’t cover you if you live off-campus, so if you move off college grounds, look into a renter’s insurance policy. Coverage may cost far less than you think.

Based on numbers from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average monthly premium is between $15 and $30.

Lock up your valuables

According to Campus Safety magazine, the most common targets for campus thieves are laptops, cell phones, purses, and wallets.

Don’t leave your computer or tablet unattended whether you’re in your dorm room or at the student center. Lock your electronics and other valuables away in a drawer, closet, or safe. Another option is to equip your laptop with a security cable to prevent theft.

It’s safest to leave expensive jewelry or family heirlooms at home. And it might seem like common sense, but always lock the door to your dorm room whenever you step out.

Register your electronics

Snap photos of your electronics along with their serial numbers and store them in the cloud. It’s also good practice to register each device with its manufacturer — this way, you prove you own those items and receive updates related to your purchase from the company.

As an extra security measure, check with your campus police or public safety department to find out if either offers a free property registration program. An example of these programs is the one provided by the University of Central Florida. The III also recommends engraving your electronics with a name or ID number to help with tracking them down in the event of theft.

Create an inventory

Part of keeping up with your stuff is knowing what you own. That’s where having an inventory of your possessions comes in handy.

Develop a list of items that will be in your possession while you’re away at school that includes the estimated value of each item. Whenever you purchase or receive a new item of value, update your list. Don’t just maintain a paper list; keep a digital copy as well.

If you need help getting started, both the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and College Parents of America have inventory templates.

Don’t forget about your wheels

Whether it’s a bicycle, scooter, or car, you need to keep your transportation safe and secure. Always lock your vehicle, and invest in a bike or scooter lock to discourage theft. Get a U-lock and sturdy cable for your bike rather than a cable lock or padlock, which are easy pickings for thieves with tools.

Be careful not to leave your laptop or any other valuables visible inside your car, especially overnight. And don’t forget about your safety. Many campuses offer programs that provide you a driver or escort to your dorm room if you’re out or studying late at night.

Ensure your parents notify your auto insurance company of your plans to take your car to school; their carrier may need to adjust the policy based on the car’s new location. And remember your good grades could make your family eligible for a car insurance discount!

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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