Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #5: General Tips for College Students

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we have been discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  Today, we want to provide you, as the college student, some tips to help you.

It CAN Happen to You

Many times young adult individuals do not think that something like the topics in this series can happen to them. Whether it be an incident with your car or your personal property, you NEED to understand that situations requiring insurance can happen to anyone.  It’s important to protect yourself as well as your property.

Most of your stuff in your dorm room should be covered under your parents’ homeowners or renters.

When you live in a dorm on campus, most of your personal possessions are covered under your parents’ coverage. However, you should check on the limits to the coverage in the case of expensive things such as computers or other electronics. There may be limits to this coverage and a special personal property endorsement may be needed.

Get renters insurance when living off-campus.

As mentioned in previous posts, make sure you get renters insurance when you live off campus. In addition to protecting your belongings, it can also protect you from liability in case someone gets injured there as well.

Don’t take valuables to school.

There are some valuables that you may want to leave at home when you go off to college. While laptops may be needed, your expensive jewelry isn’t. Leave those kinds of things at home where they are safer.

Keep your things safe.

It’s important to make sure to safeguard your items from theft. Do not leave your things unattended on campus and make sure that you always lock your dorm room door. You don’t know who may wander into your room otherwise. 50 percent of all on-campus crimes are burglaries, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The primary areas where they occur are the dining hall, the library and other public places.

The distance from your parents’ home can matter.

Make sure to double check your auto insurance, especially when you attend a college that’s located out of state.

Safeguard any gaps in coverage.

We talk a lot here about reviewing your coverage.  If you are covered under your parents’ insurance, make sure they contact their agent to check to see if there are any gaps in coverage when you go to college.  Otherwise, make sure to contact your insurance agent to find out for yourself. You don’t want to take the risk that something could happen during one of these gaps and be left without insurance. That is not the way to begin your awesome college adventure!

Bob Johnson Insurance is Ready to Help

We can help you make sure that there won’t be any gaps in coverage and that you have the right amount of insurance here in Tennessee for your college experience.  It only takes a few minutes on the phone.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #4: Renter’s Insurance Tips

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we are discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  When we discussed personal property a few days ago, we talked about the possible need for renter’s insurance.  If you need it, here is some information to help.

There are two kinds of renters insurance policies.

You can choose from actual cash value or replacement lost when you’re looking into renters insurance policies. If you get actual cash value, it pays for what it will cost to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation. If you get replacement cost, it will pay to buy a replacement item. The replacement cost policies are more expensive, but it makes sense because they also offer more protection.

Be on the lookout for discounts.

When it comes to insurance, there are ways to get discounts and the most for your money. Often times, if you purchase more than one type of insurance with the same company, you can get a discount. Check with your insurance agent now to find out what kind of deals they may have when you add additional coverage.

Consider a higher deductible.

While it doesn’t sound ideal, you may want to investigate the benefit of choosing a higher deductible. By doing this, you will be able to have a lower premium.

Choose your own insurance company.

There are more and more landlords that require their tenants to have renters insurance as a condition of the lease. They may even go as so far as to suggest an insurance company for you. Keep in mind that just because they suggest someone, doesn’t mean that you’re required to go with that company.

Because Bob Johnson Insurance is an independent agent, we can help you find the best insurance company for you. We can show you what is offered by multiple companies and provide the information that allows you to choose the right balance between price and coverage for your specific situation.

Questions for Your Insurance Review

  1. Explain the types of renter’s insurance that is available.
  2. How much coverage do I need?
  3. Are any discounts available?

How Long Will It Take to Get Answers to My Insurance Questions?

You should be able to get most (if not all) of your information with a phone call or two.  At Bob Johnson Insurance, we are always ready to provide the answers to your questions.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #3: Identity Theft Protection

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we are discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  Many people don’t consider the risk of identity theft for a college student.  That’s the topic of this third tip.

Is My College Student Really at Risk?

10 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year.  You may be surprised that it can happen to every classification of person — babies, the deceased, hospital patients, poor, middle-class, rich and even college students. This issue is so significant that we are already working on an entire series devoted to this topic.

College Students Can Be More Susceptible to Identity Theft

Identity thieves look for sources of personal information, and colleges provide them with a strong opportunity.  This means that college students may be more at risk for identity theft than other people. There are several factors that cause this situation.

  • Close living quarters / roommates
  • Constant social media interaction
  • High volume of internet downloads
  • Amount of time spent online
  • Potential data management issues of the college or university
  • Students register for credit cards and often do not protect their personal information as they do so
  • Mail theft at the college P.O.
  • Graduating students look for jobs and send out hundreds of resumes as well as filling out applications and submitting resumes online

The list can go on, but you get the idea.  It’s all about the potential of identity thieves to get your personal information.

Questions to Ask for Your Insurance Review

Many insurance companies offer identity theft protection in addition to standard homeowners and renters policies. When you call your agent, ask him/her these questions.

  1. What is my risk and my student’s risk of identity theft?
  2. How much coverage do I need and what are my options for identity theft insurance?

How Long Will It Take to Get Answers to My Insurance Questions?

You should be able to get most (if not all) of your information with a phone call or two.  At Bob Johnson Insurance, we are always ready to provide the answers to your questions.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know — Tip #2: Vehicles

Insurance Tips for College Students

In these two weeks, we are discussing insurance tips that every college student should know.  This second tip deals with your vehicle. There are different things to consider depending on your situation.

Coverage Without a Car at College

Even if the student is not driving a car while at school, he or she should still be kept on the policy if driving during breaks or while at home. A distant student discount may apply if the student is attending a school far away from home.

Coverage With a Car at College

Usually a car that is registered to the parents and listed on the policy will still be covered if used by a listed student who is away at college. It’s still important that you verify that the insurance carrier writes coverage where the car will be located and understand that a change in location of the car could change the premium as well.

Driving a Friend’s Car at College

As long as a student is not regularly using the friend’s car and is listed on the parents’ auto policy, he or she should still be covered. However, you should speak with your agent to make sure.


You may be able to get a couple of different discounts for the college student. If a student is enrolled in at least four courses per term, is full-time and meets academic qualifications, he or she may qualify for a good student discount. Those under 21 who complete a driver education course could also be eligible for an auto insurance discount.

Auto Questions for Your Insurance Review

Choose the questions that apply to you:

  1. My student will not have a car while they are away at college in [city, state]. Do I qualify for a discount or does that change my rate?
  2. My student will be taking a car/vehicle registered to me with them to college in [city, state].  Are they covered adequately by my policy?
  3. If my student drives someone else’s car while they are at college in [city, state], will they be covered?
  4. Am I eligible for any discounts based on my student being at college in [city, state]?

How Long Will It Take to Get Answers to My Insurance Questions?

You should be able to get most (if not all) of your information with a phone call or two.  At Bob Johnson Insurance, we are always ready to provide the answers to your questions.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.

Insurance Tips Every College Student Should Know

Insurance Tips for College Students

Whether you are a college student getting ready to head off to college or you are a parent preparing to send your son or daughter to the university, insurance may not be something that immediately comes to mind.  There are so many other things to handle!  A percentage of people think about health insurance, but there are four other types of insurance that you definitely need to consider:

  • Personal Property / Homeowners Insurance
  • Auto / Vehicle Insurance
  • Identity Theft Insurance
  • Renters Insurance

Why Should a College Student Consider Their Coverage

College is a lot different than it used to be. Students now have expensive electronics such as tablets, phones and computers that they’ll be taking with them in addition to their clothes. It’s important to protect these items and yourself from theft. Depending on your insurance policy, students may have limited coverage under their parents’ insurance. Therefore, you need to do a quick review with your agent to make sure that you have adequate Tennessee insurance coverage while in school for both personal property as well as for car insurance.

There are additional factors that should be considered as well.  Will your student have a vehicle or not?  How does that affect your rates?  Do you have adequate coverage or too much?  What about damage to the dorm or dwelling?  What if my student’s identity is stolen?  If you wait until you need insurance to know the answers to these questions, it will be too late.

A review can be as quick as a phone call, so there’s no reason to put it off.  Come back over the next few days.  In our next few posts, we will be discussing each of the four types of insurance that you need to review and what you should consider.  We will also include some general insurance tips to help you while you (or your student) are at college.

Summer Travel Safety: Do You Have Sufficient Insurance?

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

We want to finish out our Travel Safety Series with a quick tip about insurance.

Getting your car and yourself ready for a vacation should involve more than just packing a bag and filling the tank. Do you know what will be covered if something happens along the way? What if you get into an accident in another state or country? What about your home while you’re gone? Do you have traveler’s insurance?

One of your pre-vacation steps should be to check with your insurance agent to ensure that you have sufficient coverage in case the worst happens while you’re out and about on your adventure. Do a thorough insurance review of your policy and let your agent know what your plans are to ensure that you will be covered in case things go awry along the way.

Don’t wait until you’re stuck on the side of the road to find out whether your coverage is sufficient. Give us a call (865-922-3111) or use our contact form.  Doing a review doesn’t take long and our experienced agents can help you understand the coverage you have and what you might need as well as answer any questions you may have.

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire Series

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

In 2016, there were 352,000 residential fires. These resulted in almost 3,000 deaths, 11,000 injuries, and over $6.5 billion in damages. Although these numbers have been getting lower over the last decade, they paint a harrowing picture.

Don’t be a statistic.  Read these articles to help you keep your loved ones safe from a house fire.

Are you Covered in Case of a Fire? Review Your Home Insurance

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

Have you checked to see if you’re covered from house fires in your homeowner’s policy? If so, are there any limitations on what you can claim in the event of a fire? If you’re not sure, then now is the perfect time to contact BJI and do a review. These are the most common forms of coverage for house fires.

  • Dwelling Coverage: This includes the structure of your home as well as any attached pieces, like a garage.
  • Personal Property: Most plans will cover a certain amount of property based on an estimate. This is most likely what you need to review so that you can be sure that everything you own is covered. In many cases, homeowners don’t update this part, and they are left with much less than they need to replace everything.
  • Detached Structures: Other buildings on your property (i.e., detached garages, sheds) are also usually covered.
  • Temporary Housing: If your home burns to the ground, or you can’t live in it while it’s being repaired, make sure that your policy will cover the cost of housing during the reconstruction period.

When looking at your insurance, it’s helpful to do an annual review to ensure that you have sufficient coverage for the price of your home and your belongings.

For example, if you got your policy when you first bought the house and it’s appreciated in value since then, you may come up short. Also, if you have more belongings than you did initially, you need to cover the difference.

Bottom Line

It’s never too soon to update your homeowner’s insurance with regards to fire coverage. Click here to contact BJI (or call 865-922-3111) today and set up an appointment. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire Series

What to Do in a Fire

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

In our last post, we discussed how to keep your home safe from a fire. However, even if you’re extra careful and cautious, a fire may break out from unforeseen circumstances. Regardless of the cause, there are some things to remember when faced with this kind of situation so that you and your family can make it out unscathed.

For Small Fires

If things haven’t gotten out of control, then you may be able to extinguish it on your own. Here are some methods that can work.

Smother It: grease fires will only spread if you use water, so cover it with a pot lid or a large, heavy blanket. Make sure that it’s fully covered at once so that the blanket doesn’t ignite as well. Wool is ideal in this situation.

Fight It: if you have an extinguisher, then read the instructions and aim the foam or spray at the base of the flame. It will get messy, but that’s nothing compared to losing your belongings or your home.

Douse It: if you’re sure that the fire was not caused by electricity or oil, then you can throw water on it to put it out. However, if you’re not sure, use either of the previous two methods instead.

For Large Fires

If it looks like things are getting too intense, then evacuate the home as quickly as possible. Leave any and all belongings and focus on getting yourself and your family out first. Never run back into a burning building. Instead, call 911 and wait for them to arrive. Nothing is worth your safety or your life.

When evacuating your home, remember that smoke rises, so stay low to the ground. If necessary, practice a fire drill with your family so that they know where to go and what to do once they are outside.

If you have a multi-story home and the stairway is blocked, then try to climb out of a window or call for help. An escape ladder is always a good idea for this reason, and you should keep it somewhere accessible.

Safety Tip: Don’t Open Doors!

In some cases, the fire could be contained inside a room, which means that if you open the door, it could spread and engulf the rest of the house. Thus, be sure to test it first and see if the knob is warm. If it is, then leave the door closed.

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire Series

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

If your home burned down, what would you do? This is a horrible thing to consider, but the fact is that you never know when or how it could happen. If you’re not prepared, then it could cost you a lot more than you might think.

So, to alleviate your concerns and ensure that you and your family stay safe, we’re going to talk about fire safety in the home and what you can do to protect yourself. Also, it’s imperative that you double check your insurance policy to see if you’re covered and what may be missing from your plan.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, be proactive today with these tips.

House Fire Statistics

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) tracks and documents residential fires across the country by year. According to their data, it seems as if Americans are becoming safer overall, but there is still a lot of damage being done.

In 2016, there were 352,000 residential fires. These resulted in almost 3,000 deaths, 11,000 injuries, and over $6.5 billion in damages. Although these numbers have been getting lower over the last decade, they paint a harrowing picture.

The overwhelming cause of house fires is due to cooking accidents. Whether you left the stove on or something caught ablaze while you were making dinner, over half (50.8%) of fires are a direct result of these incidents.

As such, it’s imperative that you and your family understand the risk factors and work to correct any issues before they cause a serious problem. Although you may be able to put the fire out before it causes catastrophic damage, you don’t want to experience that kind of situation if you don’t have to.

Common Risk Factors in Your Home

Your house may be more vulnerable to a spark than you may think. Every year, people start fires on accident, because they aren’t aware of how easy it is for something to ignite. Thus, we want to make sure that you have a fundamental understanding of what could cause a blaze to erupt so that you can plan accordingly.


For the most part, you shouldn’t have to worry about these if your house is newer and up to code, but problems can arise if you try to plug too many items in at once. Although many extension cords and power strips are designed to shut off if the circuit gets overloaded, the outlet may still act up and pose a fire hazard.

Old Light Bulbs

If you’ve ever touched an incandescent light after it’s been on for a while, then you know that they can get scalding. If you haven’t upgraded to LED yet, you could be putting yourself at risk if one of these old bulbs touches something flammable. Thankfully, newer models are not only safer, but they save you a ton of electricity as well.


We’ve already mentioned that cooking is the leading cause of house fires, so we would be remiss if we didn’t stress it again. Everything that gets hot in your kitchen can be a potential hazard, from the pots and pans to the stovetop itself. Pay extra attention when cooking with oils as they are hard to put out when they ignite.


Since these have an open flame, it’s imperative that you treat them with caution. A romantic evening can turn into a disaster if you’re not careful, so watch where you place your candles and make sure that they are completely out when you extinguish them. Candle smoke can ignite, so just because there isn’t a flame doesn’t mean you’re safe yet.


Even though these are usually well contained, an errant spark or ember can become deadly. Not only that, but the chimney collects all kinds of residue and debris that can ignite and spread throughout your home.


Whether it’s a furnace on the wall or a space heater, these units can get extremely hot and pose a threat to you and your family if you’re not careful. Modern ones will usually have built-in safety mechanisms, but they can’t prevent all accidents from occurring.

How to Stay Safe

Now that we know what to look for it’s easier for us to plan accordingly and protect ourselves and our families. Here are some tips to remember when fire-proofing your home.

  • Never leave cooking unattended. As soon as you walk away from your pot, pan, or stovetop, something could happen. It doesn’t take long for a fire to spread, so even a minute or two can be disastrous.
  • Have a fire escape plan. We’ll go over the specifics of what to do in a fire in our next post, but it’s essential that you and your family have a plan in place should the worst happen. Usually, serious injury or death occurs because people panicked and didn’t know what to do.
  • Have extinguishers handy. Places where fires happen naturally (i.e., stove, fireplace, etc.) should have an extinguisher nearby. Thankfully, you can buy small cans of foam or aerosol mixes that can stop a fire in its tracks.
  • Clean your chimney. If you go months without using your fireplace, it’s crucial that you clean it out before tossing a match inside. There can be a harmful buildup of flammable materials that need to be cleared first.
  • Keep combustible items away from heat. Drapes, clothes, paper products, and cooking oil can all ignite with little warning if they are exposed to enough heat. If there is a potential hazard in your home, clear the area around it as much as possible and keep it clear at all times.
  • Inspect your electrical system. If your house is old, it may not be up to code. Getting inspected can prevent something terrible from happening when you least expect it.
  • Check your smoke alarms. Although they can get annoying when they beep on low battery, these devices can be lifesavers. As such, don’t disrespect them or ignore them.

How to Keep Your Home Safe From Fire Series