MADISON, Wis. (August 1, 2014) – As students head to colleges or technical schools, they will be brimming with enthusiasm and hauling a bunch of belongings – computers, phones, TVs, jewelry and more.
“Students assume that dorms are close environments and that everyone has the best of intentions. While most do, it makes sense to take some basic precautions to keep you and your property safe,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).
Following are some general tips to pass along to those who will soon be heading off to school:
- Lock your door – It is important to lock your door whenever you leave your room in order to protect your belongings and keep your dorm room safe.
- Check the guest policy – Look into the guest policy and the dorm security procedures. If you feel unsafe, speak to a dorm representative or an administrator about creating a more secure environment.
- Install an inexpensive door alarm – Consider adding the extra security of a door alarm for your room. Inexpensive alarms that attach magnetically and emit a loud sound can help protect you from unwanted visitors.
- Learn the security procedures – Many schools send automatic text alerts to students should an unusual situation arise on campus. Be sure you sign up for these alerts.
- Keep your ID cards in a safe place – These days, student cards act as more than identification. If you have a meal plan or library account associated with yours, report your card loss immediately if it goes missing. “Identity theft can also be a concern, so let your parents’ know if you lose your ID. They can monitor any credit cards you may be using and add a fraud alert to your bank accounts to prevent losses,” said Von Haden.
- Never abandon your laptop – Do not leave your laptop alone whether in the library, study rooms or lounges. It only takes a few moments for someone to walk by and swipe it. If you must leave it temporarily, invest in a laptop lock to act as a deterrent.
- Don’t leave valuables in the dorm parking lot – Don’t leave a GPS, MP3 player or other items in your car. Put any high-value items in the trunk or glove compartment where they can’t be seen.
- Get insurance for your belongings – If you are bringing any items of high value to school, such as electronics, make sure they are insured against theft or damage before you arrive. “Generally speaking, students living in dorms are covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance, but it is wise to check coverages and deductibles before leaving for school,” noted Von Haden. “If students will be living in an off-campus room or apartment, they will need renters insurance to protect their belongings.”
If your teen will soon be leaving for school, contact your local professional independent insurance agent and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. Your agent will make sure you have the proper insurance coverage to protect you and your family.