More often than not, college students don't really think about the possibility of their stuff being stolen or damaged while they're at school. Campus can create a safe, bubble-like feeling, leaving them to believe they are invincible to the unexpected, including crime and accidents.
That's why renters insurance is so valuable. For many students, starting college means living on their own for the first time. No matter how far-fetched something may sound, such as a fire in a residence hall or a pipe bursting in a dorm room, it's important for college students to know the value renters insurance has.
Preparing for the unexpected
When Faith set her sights on Virginia Commonwealth University, it was an entirely new experience for her and her family as she's the first to go to college. She recalls filling out the housing forms online for her dorm assignment for Fall 2019 when she came across GradGuard's Renters Protection Program. The school highly recommends students have renters insurance while living on campus.
For many colleges and universities GradGuard works with, students are given the opportunity to opt-in or out of the coverage that's presented. In the housing portal, as they make their room selection, they're made aware the university does not cover stolen or damaged property, and the student alone is responsible for their belongings.
At first, Faith says she didn't think she needed the insurance. But her dad convinced her that it was a good idea to have, just incase something happened, such as her laptop being stolen from her dorm room.
"He was like, 'If something does happen, it'll save you a lot of money'," Faith said.
Faith didn't end up needing to file a claim through her fall semester. In fact, she says she forgot she even had the policy because of how little it cost per month, about $15.
A pipe burst amid a pandemic
Fast forward to the spring semester. Faith had left campus for spring break when she received a call from someone at her residence hall about a leak that was found in her dorm room. She recalls not being too worried about the situation, since she had renters insurance.
But when she returned to her dorm, she describes it being an absolute mess. Faith learns a pipe burst in her room, causing water to leak all over her belongings, leaving an unsightly film-like material on everything. Industrial heaters were used to try to dry things out, but they ended up melting a lot of her stuff, she says.
"When I walked into my dorm, I was so surprised," Faith said. "The whole wall was torn off. All of our furniture was everywhere. There was like a film over everything in the room... it was so disgusting."
Filing a claim is straightforward and easy
Faith says all of this happens right around the time COVID-19 is declared a pandemic, prompting campus shutdowns nationwide. It's a stressful time, to say the least.
She leaves campus and returns home to file a claim, expecting it to be a somewhat difficult process, since she's never filed an insurance claim and doesn't know what to expect.
But as she soon finds out, filing a claim and being reimbursed for her damaged belongings and dorm room wasn't difficult at all.
"It made me not afraid to submit insurance claims," Faith said. "It was definitely a good learning experience."
A pipe burst in a dorm room isn't nearly as common as a laptop or bike being stolen on campus, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a rare event. Water damage happens more often than any of us would like to think, but that's when having protection from the unexpected comes in handy.
Renters insurance is a smart choice for college students. Nearly a year after the incident, Faith says she is grateful she had GradGuard when a pipe burst in her dorm room. She's even shared her experience with underclassmen and recommend they protect themselves with GradGuard as well.