Hoverboards and Everyday Risks on Campus

Two Thousand and sixteen has wasted no time in generating the first “Hot Button” issue for our higher education colleagues in on-campus housing and risk management:


Discussions about the safety of Hoverboards were heard at URMIA’s (University Risk Managers)  annual meeting. The ACUHOI (Student Housing) forum and message boards started to featue near daily posts on the topic and now we are seeing frequent school press releases banning students from bringing these motorized boards to campus (GWU and AU Ban Hoverboards). The obvious question students are asking is: “Why? If I am able to bring a skateboard or a bicycle, why can I not bring a Hoverboard?”

It is clear that the purpose behind prohibiting these boards is for one reason, safety.

Students: It’s Not Just About You

“Liability Exposure” is rarely a phrase that will cross a college student’s mind while living on-campus and parents should not count on that changing anytime soon. Calculating the risk of causing a fire in your building when cooking a late night snack or lighting incense in your room does not make for a fun Saturday night. Fortunately – college and university officials have taken a prudent path to eliminate an additional risk for both students and the institutions.

There are a variety of reasons as to why a resident will have to leave their Hoverboard behind. Many are obvious, but others are useful to highlight.

  • Fires
    • This is by far the most popular reason. When recharging the battery of a Hoverboard, there have been numerous cases of over-heating and fires starting from battery problems.
  • Injuries
  • Theft
    • Schools have a hard enough time getting students to keep their bikes locked up or registered (University of Washington Bike Theft). Discussing the theft of a student’s $600+ Hoverboard will not be a fun conversation to have with a student.

Preventative Measures are Necessary, but Accidents Will Always Happen

School officials work tirelessly to prevent accidents and destructive situations from occurring. The Hoverboards crackdown is a perfect example of college officials reducing the likelihood of a hazard.

Although Hoverboards are not likely to be on par with the “Mayhem” contemplated in the Allstate television commercials, there will always be accidents and unexpected events in densely populated student housing.

According to the 2014 Clery Act reports, there were 2,101 fires reported on college and university campuses. These campus fires damaged student and campus property and led to more than 47 injuries. So, it is clear that keeping Hoverboard’s off campus appears to be a prudent path.

Hell No, Hoverboards Won’t Go!

Each diffusion of a trend will have its early majority, late majority and laggards. For those campuses that choose to allow Hoverboards in the foreseeable future, GradGuard’s renters insurance program will be a helpful remedy and student benefit.

GradGuard’s mission is to help protect students, as well as other campus residents, from unexpected financial losses. As a result, we applaud efforts that promote accident prevention and campus safety programs. Even in the best campus environments, accidents do happen and that is where GradGuard’s renters insurance program will be a helpful remedy and student benefit. Here are a few examples of how true renters insurance can be valuable form of protection.

  • Fires
    • If a student causes an accidental fire by recharging a Hoverboard, Renters Insurance will normally cover them for the unintentional damage they caused to the institution’s property and for the damage that may also occur to other student’s belongings.  The damage from small fires within student housing may not be large financially, but the water damage to student property, particularly electronics, can be significant and most often an uninsured student will be unable to afford the financial liability of replacing and repairing such damages.
  • Injuries
    • Remember the Mike Tyson Video from earlier this week. It shows Mike Tyson falling off his child’s Hoverboard. He takes a mean fall. If this injury occurred in my apartment, then I will have Iron Mike’s back ;). This is another benefit of GradGuard Renters Insurance – financial protection from accidents that occur in your residence.
  • Theft
    • Bikes, Hoverboards, Laptops, cellphones, etc. GradGuard Renters Insurance provides coverage for personal property. Whether your school bans Hoverboards or not, GradGuard Renters Insurance will protect your property from theft anywhere in the world.

The Bottom Line

Since I began writing this blog, I received three more emails about other schools that have banned Hoverboards. It is great to see that colleges and universities are quickly putting procedures in place when there is a looming problem and emerging risk.

It will be great to see the same concern focused on the day-to-day financial losses that impact students. It is prudent for campus officials to find new ways to protect students from the financial losses that result from burglaries and fires.The numbers are not small.

Clery data indicate that in 2014 alone, more than 13,000 burglaries and 2,000 fires were reported on campuses.

Although students may often look to their schools to replace stolen or damaged property, the real remedy is the protection that renters insurance provides.

No college or university official wants a student’s education disrupted by accidents, thefts, fires or injuries. As a result, providing a convenient way for students and particularly campus residents to enroll in GradGuard’s renters insurance program is a valuable step in promoting student success.