Sending your child off to college can be one of the most stressful, yet rewarding times in a parent’s life. More than likely, your child’s checklist for college will not include “Check on Insurance.” You may need to adjust your insurance policies to ensure your child is covered when he or she goes to school.
Renter’s Insurance – If your child is living in a dorm room, your homeowners insurance may cover his or her things. Check to see if your homeowners policy covers your child’s items up to a certain percentage (usually 10%) of the personal property limit on the parent’s policy. Your child’s computer, electronics, and other items can be expensive to replace, so do a quick calculation to make sure you have enough coverage. For students living in off-campus housing, many policies will not cover the student’s contents. If this is the case, you or your child will need to purchase a separate renter’s policy.
Not only should you inquire about your student’s personal items, you should ask whether or not your child and/or you will have liability coverage if anyone is injured in the student’s apartment. Be sure to tell your insurance agent whose name is on the lease.
Auto Insurance – Whether or not your child takes a car to school could affect your insurance premiums. If your student attends a college 100 to 150 miles away from home and does not take a car with them, you may be eligible for a discount on your automobile insurance. If your child takes a car to college, your premiums could go up or down depending on where the college is located. It is important to talk about who the car is titled to when discussing this with your insurance agent.
Health Insurance – Since September, 2010, the Affordable Health Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26, whether or not they are enrolled in college. Check with your medical policy to see what coverage will be provided for your child. If your child is going to school out of state, your policy may not cover anything but emergency care. If your policy will still cover your child for routine care, be sure that you review your plan’s approved list of physicians and hospitals in the area where your child’s college is located.
If you don’t have medical coverage or your coverage is limited, consider getting your student’s health insurance through the college. Most student health plans have eligibility requirements. Be aware that a student health plan may only cover visits to the student health center. There can also be confusion about whether a college’s medical insurance covers injuries a student might sustain while playing a college sport.
- Renters Insurance – Theft and damage can happen anywhere, including abroad. Most renter’s insurance from home will follow you abroad, though be sure to check with your agent for the details.
- Auto Insurance – Many countries do not accept American driver’s licenses, so your student would need to get an International Driving Permit. In general, your auto insurance here at home will not cover your child overseas.
- Health Insurance – Make sure and check with the student’s health insurance provider to ensure there will be coverage overseas. If not, seek out an international health plan. You may want to consider a plan that provides emergency medical evacuation back home.
- Travel Insurance – Depending on the type of travel insurance purchased, your child will have different benefits such as coverage for lost baggage, trip cancellation and or/delay, and any emergency medical evacuation.
- Tuition Insurance – Like any semester in college, studying abroad is expensive. You may want to consider tuition refund insurance.
Going away to college can be a chaotic and exciting time for students, which is why it’s important to talk to your insurance agent now if you have any questions about your insurance policy, what it covers, or if your student needs additional coverage.
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