Sending Kids Off to College? Check Your Insurance!

NoodleIf your house is like mine, you have random piles of clothing, boxes of ramen noodles and bedding all over the place, waiting to load into the car for the annual college move-in. Ours moves in this weekend. Let’s hope the weather cooperates!

College is one of the biggest expenses we parents face in our lifetimes. With finances so tight, it’s certainly not the time to find out that your Maine auto insurance policy doesn’t cover an accident or theft isn’t covered by your Maine homeowners insurance. Here are a few common scenarios, and how the policies our Maine insurance agency sell respond. YOUR policy may be different.

Maine Homeowners Insurance



  • Your kid’s “stuff”: Most home policies provide 10% of your personal property limit for belongings located at a residence other than the insured home. So, if you have $100,000 of contents coverage (“Coverage C” on your policy), $10,000 of it follows your student to school, if they live in a dormitory. Of course, the damage has to be caused by a peril covered by your policy.
    Certain items, like jewelry or expensive electronics, might need special coverage. Contact your agent to discuss these items.

    If your student leases an off-campus apartment, they should probably get their own renter’s insurance. Your local Maine insurance agent can tell you for sure.   
  •  Liability: Even brilliant students can do stupid or careless things. Luckily, your homeowners liability coverage follows them, as long as their permanent residence remains your home. But that general dorm damage bill you got for the discharged fire extinguishers: all yours, sorry. Damage to a rented property is not covered by homeowners policies. 

Car Insurance

Even though it’s tempting to remove your children from your Maine auto insurance policy to save money, it’s a bad idea. They still need coverage for times when they’re home, or if they borrow someone else’s car. Hey, it happens.


  • “You’re not taking that car to school”: If your child is away over 100 miles without a car, most insurers offer auto insurance discounts.
  • “But I need to have a car so I can (insert excuse here)”: Somewhere around second semester sophomore year -if not before- you’ll hear this. If you let them take one of your vehicles to school, make sure your insurer knows about it. Sure, you’ll pay more for insurance, but you won’t have to explain why your BU student was driving on Comm Ave on a Wednesday night. Awkward!
  • “So I borrowed Griz’ car…” Your student is covered under your policy as long as they remain a member of your household. The primary coverage for any accident comes from the owner’s insurance policy (if any). Yours would be secondary. Same thing applies if your child lends someone else your car (you just shuddered a little at that thought, didn’t you?)
  • Dean’s List pays: Just like high school, a “good student insurance discount” applies for kids who maintain a “B” average. Keep your agent posted to make sure you’re getting the discount.

For more information, contact your agent or company. Or, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541. After all, we just gave you a bunch of free advice, didn’t we? And we’ve got kids to put through college too!

Thinking About Renting Out Your House?

In the current real estate market, more and more of our clients are renting their homes instead of selling them. They hope that they'll make more profit by waiting. In the meantime, they're collecting rental income on the property.

Many people don't know that a rented home is no longer eligible for a homeowners policy. To properly insure your rented dwelling, you need to buy either a Dwelling Fire policy or a commercial policy.

The Risks of Renting
Rental property has a slightly higher risk of property loss, for several reasons:

  • Your tenants may not identify or report maintenance needs so that you can address them.
  • Renters are unlikely to have the same degree of "pride of ownership" as you.
  • Your renters may be unfamiliar with the systems and "quirks" of your home that are second nature to you. We've even seen losses where the tenant did not know how to shut off the water to stop an overflowing toilet!

Different Perils, Different Policy
As a homeowner, your policy covers your home and your belongings. When you rent out your home, your contents are typically limited to appliances you might leave behind for the tenants. Also, if your rented property is damaged, you could lose twice: the cost to repair the damage, and the rental income lost while your tenants can't live there.

Most important, renting your home increases your responsibility for injuries on the premises – anything from slips and falls to someone being hurt during a fire. This increases the importance of inspecting and maintaining your property.

Dwelling Fire and commercial policies can protect the building and rental income. Often, the coverage isn't quite as broad as your homeowners policy, but it still covers the catastrophic losses of fire, windstorm, collapse from ice or snow, etc.

Like homeowners policies, these policies do not cover flood or earthquake – although such coverage is available.

Considering Renting Your Home?

  • Call an agent for an insurance quote.
  • Consider higher deductibles and higher liability coverage than your current homeowners policy may have.
  • Check on your property regularly; hire a property manager if you can't.
  • Require your renters to buy tenants' insurance to protect their property and liability from their own negligence. Your policy will not provide coverage for either.

For answers to your personal insurance questions, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance.