Getting ready for college is an exciting and stressful time in life for students and their parents. Undoubtedly you have several checklists to make sure nothing is forgotten. A conversation with your insurance agent should be on the list of tasks to make sure the college student, their family and the family’s assets are adequately protected in the event of serious injury or a liability claim.
- Will my homeowners insurance cover my student’s personal property?
Most homeowners policies will cover up to 10% of personal property, off premise. If you have $80,000 of contents coverage at home, your student will have up to $8,000 for their contents in their dorm room. If your student is taking a lot of expensive electronics and other valuable items to school, you might consider a separate renter’s insurance policy if the value of their belongings exceeds the coverage offered through the homeowner’s policy.
Renter’s insurance may be needed if a student is living off-campus. Most insurance companies consider an apartment a permanent residence meaning there is no contents or liability coverage under a parent’s homeowners policy. A student could be held liable for damage to the apartment they are renting or to someone else’s property. It is important to remember that if you sign the lease, you will be held liable if someone is injured on your student’s leased premises or by their property.
Renter’s insurance usually costs less than $250 a year for about $15,000 in coverage and covers the possessions in the unit in the event of a loss. It also protects the individual from liability if he or she causes damage to the rental unit.
- Will your student be taking a car to college?
If your student is not taking a car to college, may be eligible for a reduced insurance rate if nobody is driving it. Many companies offer a “student-away-at-school” credit depending on how far the college is from home.
Students taking a car to college need auto insurance coverage whether it’s under their own policy or a parent’s. If a parent co-titles the car or the student still lives at home when not at school, the student may be able to remain on the parent’s insurance policy. You should notify the insurance company that the car will be garaged at a different location.
- How will my current health insurance apply at college?
Under the ACA, children are allowed to stay on parent’s health insurance until the age of 26. For many students, this is the way to maintain coverage, but you need to make sure it fits your needs. Coverage could be completely waived if your student attends a college out of state. Your student could have higher co-pays and deductibles as well as limited availability of in network providers. Check with your insurance company to see if there are any limitations for your student.
Other options include an individual health plan or a plan offered by the college your student will be attending. The majority of colleges offer health insurance for college students. As your student prepares for school, sit down and compare your family health plan with the individual plan and student health insurance offered by the school. You may save money and have better coverage with the school plan, which is designed for the student and the location.
- What if my student studies abroad?
Studying abroad can provide a host of insurance issues. Some of the areas where you need to make sure your student has coverage are: theft of personal property, trip cancellation/interruption, emergency medical evacuation and/or repatriation coverage, and health and/or hospitalization.
The good news is these are questions faced by every parent and student as the college years begin. With the help of your insurance agent, you may discover your current coverages respond to all or the vast majority of your concerns, and little need be done. If change is needed to assure your current protection will be there at time of need, you and your agent can make those choices at the best possible time—now, before that need arises.