Students’ belongings not insured by KSU

Leslie Schelat

Residence hall fires and floods are two things Kent State’s campus doesn’t see every day.

Yet Allyn Hall residents faced a charred and uninhabitable building when returning from the holiday weekend, and Heer Hall residents soaked up water from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last week.

While these may be unusual occurrences, they serve as a reminder that fires and floods, among other problems, are possible in residence halls just as they are at home. These disturbances can force students to relocate mid-semester and can cost the university hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.

But what about the students’ costs to replace damaged belongings?

“(After the fire), a lot of people were asking if the university pays for their stuff,” said Ashley Laughlin, a sophomore nursing major and resident assistant in Koonce Hall.

Some residents believe it should be the university’s responsibility to replace their ruined belongings.

“I think the school should have to pay for it because we trust the buildings with our personal belongings,” said Chris Becker, sophomore business management major and Koonce Hall resident. “It isn’t fair for us to have all our personal stuff ruined.”

Residence Services does not agree.

The Hallways Manual from Residence Services states, “The university and the Department of Residence Services will not be responsible for any loss of or damage to the personal property of the student from any cause.”

Instead, the manual suggests that students check their parent or guardian’s homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it includes coverage while they are at school.

“Our official policy is to lead them to renter’s insurance,” said T.J. Logan, assistant director of Residence Services.

As the university recommends, renter’s insurance is available from most companies; however, for students with roommates, renter’s policies from State Farm and American National must be purchased by both occupants and from the same company.

Though students must sign a residence hall contract agreeing the university is not responsible for personal belongings, some remain unaware of their insurance coverage.

“I don’t have any insurance,” said Koonce Hall resident Kevin Strobble, freshman sports management major.

Becker agreed.

“I don’t believe I have any, to my knowledge,” he said.

Bruce Vasbinder, an employee at State Farm Insurance in Kent, said that State Farm’s homeowner’s insurance does cover students who live on campus.

Vasbinder said students are covered for 10 percent of their parents’ content coverage policy.

“Content coverage is personal property that is not attached to or connected to the house,” explained agent Larry Seadler of American National Insurance in Kent. “Coverage does travel with you.”

American National also covers up to 10 percent of the homeowner’s contents coverage. Both American National and State Farm require students’ permanent addresses remain with their parents.

“It’s very standard for most companies,” Seadler said. “There are slight differences from company to company, but it’s pretty set.”

Seadler recommends checking with individual companies and agents about coverage.

Contact general assignment reporter Leslie Schelat at [email protected].