Insurance for students living away from home

Written by the Square One team

Updated June 18, 2024 | Published November 18, 2018

As your child is packing his or her belongings for the trek to university, the pile will undoubtedly include a passel of electronic devices: laptop, cell phone, tablet, television, headphones, and so on.

The accumulated items are undoubtedly worth a pretty penny, and the cost of replacing them would take quite a bite out of your child’s bank account. Luckily, your child won’t need to bear the cost of stolen or damaged property if they also add tenant (renters) insurance to the list of back-to-school necessities.


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Student tenant insurance – who covers what

Although protection from theft or liabilities doesn’t appear on many back-to-university shopping lists, it can be as important as textbooks or computers. Without tenant insurance, your child can be vulnerable to a variety of costly situations: theft, property damage, and injury, for example.

Students who have tenant insurance are protected if their possessions are stolen, if there is damage to their rooms or if someone is injured on the premises.

Group of young adults taking a group selfie on the couch

Universities themselves generally have insurance for their residences, but it often covers only damage to property. You can inquire about the approach your child’s institution takes toward insurance coverage.

For example, the University of Guelph in Ontario previously shared a passage from its residence agreement with the Globe and Mail. It states, “Coverage can often be obtained through a ‘rider’ on your family’s tenant or homeowner insurance policy, which should include liability coverage for injury or damage.” The university suggests that students obtain insurance, either through their parents’ policy or a policy of their own.

Your home insurance policy considerations

If your child lives on campus and attends university full time, it is quite likely that they are protected under your own homeowner’s policy. A call or an email to your insurance company can clarify what is covered and the financial parameters of that coverage—both liability and possessions may be covered.

However, bear in mind that any claim filed on your child’s behalf can affect your own rating and discount, so you may prefer purchasing tenant insurance in your child’s name.

If your offspring rents an apartment off campus, insurance is even more important, because your liability coverage may not be applicable, even if possessions are covered. In addition, problems with rental properties aren’t always a landlord’s responsibility.

If the tenant is found to be negligent, he or she is liable. A party in a student’s apartment and the accompanying tomfoolery can lead to property damage that could put a big dent in a bank account unless the student is insured.

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Tenant insurance – the good reasons to be insured

Mother helping student move into university campus

If you’re undecided about the utility of tenant insurance, here is a list of reasons for investing:

  1. Stuff aplenty. Students may not think that they own much of value, but once they begin making a list, it becomes obvious that they have more belongings of more value than they realize.
  2. Easy as pie. Arranging for tenant insurance can be as simple as a making phone call to a parent’s insurer and compiling a list of belongings.
  3. Cents a day. It’s inexpensive to purchase, no more than the cost of a few lattes each month.
  4. Protection plus. If a fire, flood or other damage forces a student out of their apartment temporarily, insurance will cover the cost of temporary lodgings.
  5. Do no harm. But, if a student does damage property in the building, inside the apartment or out, they are covered.
  6. Guilty guests. The insured tenant is protected against the cost of damage to the building caused by anyone visiting, so students needn’t worry too much about being “your brother’s keeper.”
  7. Lawyers have your back. In the event that someone brings a lawsuit against a student for injury incurred at their apartment, legal costs and settlements will be covered.
  8. Make mom and dad proud. Obtaining insurance is a responsible thing to do, so a student will get brownie points for making an adult choice.

So, if a student makes only one phone call before heading off to university or college, it should be a call to an insurance provider!

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Want to learn more? Visit our Renter resource centre for more tips and information about life as a renter. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.


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Protect your family

Even when you take precautions, accidents can happen. Home insurance is one way to protect your family against financial losses from accidents. And, home insurance can start from as little as $12/month.

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