BCAA advises parents to protect pricey school

Today’s “tools for school” can cost thousands and be prime targets for theft

September 01, 2011 – (Burnaby, B.C.) – Many things change when kids leave home for college or university – including a family’s insurance needs. In addition to the traditional books and clothing, today’s college-bound student is likely to be transporting a treasure chest of electronics. At this time of year, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) reminds parents to review their home insurance policy to ensure students’ belongings are adequately covered for loss or damage while they’re away from home.

From laptops and smartphones to tablets and video game equipment, B.C. students are likely leaving home this September with expensive items including: desktop computers, net books, iPods, iPads, portable TVs, PDAs, stereos, mp3 players, digital cameras, scientific calculators, bicycles, sporting goods, jewellery – maybe even a car.

“Today’s students are using more multi-media items for school and personal use which are vulnerable to theft or damage,” says Patricia Stirling, BCAA director of Insurance Underwriting. “Not only that, music, video or other digital downloads that have been collected over time and stored on electronic equipment can be costly to replace.”

Stirling also points out, in addition to classroom must-haves, living away from home also means students will need their own household items and personal belongings. “Electronic or not, the loss of belongings could put a financial strain on a student with a limited budget or parents paying for their child’s tuition, books and other living expenses.”

So what should parents of college-bound kids do? While most home insurance policies extend some coverage to students living away from home, BCAA cautions parents and students to be aware of any limits on student property as well as limits on individual items.

“Make a complete inventory of all the items your child has, including clothing and furniture,” urges Stirling. “Then talk to your insurance advisor to find out what is and isn’t covered under your existing policy. If the value of the belonging exceeds the limits, you should consider buying additional coverage.”

BCAA also offers mobile device insurance which covers both the physical device and any downloads when the device has been damaged, lost or stolen.

Students no longer dependant on their parents are encouraged to consider purchasing their own insurance policy to be sure they’re covered for any loss of contents or liability.

“Many parents and students are unaware that they could be held legally liable for accidents that happen in the student’s rental apartment or dorm room,” Stirling explains. “Landlords may not be responsible for injury caused due to unsafe conditions in the student’s own living area.”

About BCAA

BCAA strives to deliver an amazing experience to its 795,000 members, providing peace-of-mind and meeting their automotive, road travel and insurance needs. BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C., with $400 million in gross annual sales and a Member in one-in-four B.C. households. In addition to receiving award winning roadside assistance and insurance services, Members can also take advantage of CAA dollar rewards, insurance discounts and the Member exclusive Show Your Card & Save program. To learn more about BCAA’s benefits, services and advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com.