Travel and Personal Property Insurance
If you are planning to travel with your computer, digital camera, smart phone, or other valuable equipment, make sure it is properly insured.
1. Check your (parent’s) homeowners insurance policy
In general, coverage for laptops, digital cameras and other electronic equipment does extend from the homeowner policy when traveling. This coverage is for the specific perils named in the policy. Most insurance companies have the same basic guidelines.
- Theft: Yes
- Fire: Yes
- Electrical surges: Depends. If from a storm like lightening or a surge to a specific building: Yes
- Rain: Depends. Sudden pipe break or roof blows off: Yes. Left out in rain: No
- Harsh Use: Probably not
Try to get an official report of some sort to file a claim. Remember, the deductibles apply so if you have $1,000 deductible and the computer is worth $800 no need to file a claim. If the computer is worth more than the deductible it still may not be prudent to file a claim. If replaced, it needs to be of like quality and specification.
2. Add a “rider” to your homeowners insurance policy
In addition to the standard coverages provided by most insurance policies, there are options or "riders" which can be added to the policy. A "rider" is an additional set of terms and conditions that “rides on” the basic package offered by the insurance company. If you have electronic equipment in excess of the stated amount of coverage for these categories, you can add a rider to the insurance policy to cover the additional value of these items. The cost is usually determined on a "per thousand" dollar basis. The cost per thousand is often nominal when compared with the risk of loss.
3. Purchase a separate “personal articles” insurance policy
Personal Articles insurance supplements coverage for possessions of higher monetary value (computers, iPods, musical instruments, etc). While most homeowners policies have limits on the dollar amount and type of loss that can be recovered, Personal Articles insurance will provide the protection you need for your most valuable possessions in the event of loss through theft, accident or natural disaster, at home or abroad. Although no deductibles apply to many types of losses, a $100 deductible may be applied to breakage caused by certain perils. State Farm Insurance offers a general Personal Articles policy: http://www.statefarm.com/insurance/other/personal.asp, and College Student Insurance offers a policy specifically designed for college students both at home and while traveling: http://www.collegestudentinsurance.com/.