If your child is at college this year, now that the first few weeks of campus excitement are winding down, you may be anticipating a phone call or a text from them to check-in. While it is unlikely that your communication will be about insurance, you may want to use the start of the school year as a reminder to review your current insurance policies to make sure your college student has appropriate coverage.
Answering the following questions can help you determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your insurance policies to cover your college student and their belongings.
- Does my homeowners insurance provide enough coverage? If your child is living in a dorm room, your homeowners insurance may cover his or her belongings, but it is important to check to see if your homeowner’s policy covers your child’s items only up to a certain percentage (usually 10%) of the personal property limit on the parent’s policy. Computers, electronics, and mobile devices can be expensive to replace, so do a quick calculation to make sure you have enough coverage.
- If my child is living off-campus, do they need renter’s insurance? For students living in off-campus housing, many homeowners policies will not cover a student’s personal items. If this is the case, you or your child will need to purchase a separate renter’s policy. You should also inquire about liability coverage in case anyone is injured in the student’s apartment. Be sure to tell your insurance agent whose name is on the lease when the policy is drafted.
- Does my child have a car at school? 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. Another factor that may influence your premiums is who the car is titled to, so be sure to discuss this with your insurance agent.
- Is my child covered by my health insurance? With the introduction of the Affordable Health Care Act in 2010, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26 years old—regardless of whether they are enrolled in college. However, it is still a good idea to check with your medical policy to see what coverage is available for your child. For example, if your child is going to school out of state, your policy may not cover anything but emergency care. If your policy still covers 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 they attend. The key here is to check what is covered because most student health plans have eligibility requirements. You should also be aware that a student health plan may only cover visits to the student health center and may not cover injuries sustained while playing a college sport.
- Will my insurance cover my child if they study abroad? If your child is studying in a different country, make sure you consider the following regarding your existing coverage and additional protection you may want to have:
- Renters Insurance: Most renter’s insurance from the United States will follow your student abroad, but check with your insurance agent to be sure.
- Auto Insurance: Many countries do not accept American driver’s licenses, so your student would need to get an International Driving Permit. If they were to drive in a foreign country. It is likely they would also require their own auto insurance since American auto insurance would not be valid.
- Health Insurance: Be sure to check with your student’s health insurance provider to ensure there will be coverage overseas. If there is not, find 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 may have benefits such as coverage for lost baggage, trip cancellation and or/delay, and any emergency medical evacuation.
- Tuition Insurance: College in most countries is expensive and studying abroad can have an even heftier price tag. You may want to consider tuition refund insurance.
While the college year may have already started, it’s smart to make sure your child is covered while they are away from home to avoid any surprise costs or losses later. Take a few minutes to answer the questions above and, if you have any questions about your insurance policy, what it covers, or if your student needs additional coverage, please contact us.
Ann Arbor: 734.971.1000
About the Author
Rich Mills specializes in asset protection and risk management for our personal lines customers at Kemner-Iott Agency of Cass County. A resident of Niles, MI, Rich is a retired firefighter of 17 years and served our country for 4 years in the US Navy being deployed during Desert Shield/Storm.