If you’re like most college students, you walk around with several thousand dollars in your book bag. Not cash, of course, but several thousand dollars worth of electronics including your phone, laptop, and noise-canceling headphones.
What would you do if your book bag (and all those electronics) were stolen? Could you afford to replace them? If not, you need to think about protecting your assets.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from financial problems due to stolen, lost, or broken items.
Buy Insurance . . . Just for the Things (and Experiences) You Need Insured
One of the most important ways to protect yourself financially is to buy insurance for your things. That doesn’t mean you should pay for the overpriced extended warranties or phone insurance offered by your carrier. Instead, look into insuring your items à la carte with companies like Traverse Insurance.
Currently Traverse insures phones, electronics, musical equipment, sports equipment, jewelry, handbags, and cameras. You only have to pay to insure the items you want insured.
Even better, Traverse Insurance offers plans with no deductible. That means if you drop your phone in the toilet (we all know someone who has), Traverse will reimburse you for the whole cost of buying a new item.
Coverage for cell phones starts at just $4.75 per month, and coverage for other electronics starts at just $2.00 per month.
Traverse allows you to protect up to $5,000 of items with an insurance policy, but you can use up as much or as little of the policy as you need. That means if you only need to insure a few items, you’ll pay less than someone who has a ton of stuff to insure.
If your landlord requires renters insurance, you can add on a rental policy to your Traverse insurance policy. The renters liability policy costs just $2.95 per month.
Not only can you protect your things with Traverse, you can protect experiences like a vacation. Experience coverage with Traverse starts at just $5.35 per month, and Traverse will reimburse you if your car breaks down on vacation, your vacation rental is a nightmare, or something else goes horribly awry.
Buy Appropriate Protective Gear
Of course, buying insurance only protects you after something has gone wrong. It’s also important to protect yourself and your things preemptively. Putting your electronics, musical instruments, and cameras in appropriate cases can save you a bundle of money.
By buying the right protective gear, you reduce the likelihood that you’ll break or damage one of your costly items.
Don’t Leave Your Stuff in the Open
In addition to protecting your things from yourself, it’s also important to protect your things from theft. Don’t leave musical instruments, electronics, or other costly items in the front of your car. Instead, put them in the trunk. Better yet, keep those items on hand.
When it comes to storing things in your apartment or dorm room, be sure that you don’t leave valuables in front of a ground-floor window (or another place where people may see them). If you have a bike, be sure to lock it with a heavy-duty U-lock that nobody can easily break.
Avoiding letting your stuff look like an enticing target means you’re less likely to be a victim of theft.
Protect Yourself on the Cheap
With low-cost, à la carte insurance, and some basic planning, you can protect yourself and your stuff with very little out-of-pocket costs. If you don’t have insurance for your things, check out Traverse today.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.