Since the day your child was born, you have been doing everything you can to protect them. Security blankets, crib bumpers, knee pads, helmets, AAA Auto Car Protection and cell phones so he can call home, anytime. And quite shockingly, and almost unexpectedly your teen will be heading out on their own in a few weeks, headed for college. No doubt, you’ve been spending the last few months on a tear, contacting roommates, chasing financial aid, filling shopping carts with bedding, funky posters and Ramen noodles.
But most likely, you probably didn’t consider the insurance you may need for your college student. It generally slips people’s mind, until a problem or claim occurs.
Following are some points to consider when it comes to your college student's insurance needs:
• Auto Insurance
• Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance
1. AUTO INSURANCE:
Although it is true that you may be able to save some extra money by removing your child from your auto policy when he goes away to school, but what teenager isn’t going to hop in the car and go visit friends when home from school for holiday? Or what if he has to drive a car while away in case of emergency (designated driver, roommate is incapacitated
Even, if your student doesn't take a car to school, we recommend that you keep him listed on the policy for a number of reasons:
• He’ll be fully protected if he returns home for a weekend visit and wants to drive.
• He will have insurance protection when he’s driving a friend’s car while away, and that vehicle isn’t adequately insured.
• Even if he doesn’t take a car to school, he’ll be fully protected if he’s hit by a car while walking or bicycling, or while being a passenger in somebody else’s car.
• Keeping him on your auto policy maintains continuous insurance coverage, which may be beneficial when he gets his own auto insurance policy.
· As a full-time student, your child may qualify for a Good Student Discount (if he maintains a grade average of 3.0 or higher). The savings can be significant.
· You can also apply for the Distant Student Discount if your child attends college 100 miles or more away from home.
If your student takes a car to school, she or he should still remain on your auto policy. In fact, your child should, since it is usually much more expensive for young divers and students to have their own policy. Not only do insurance companies prefer that, but it may also save you money, particularly if your student attends college in a less populated area of the state.
Full-time college students can usually remain covered on their parents’ auto policy if their primary address is the parents’ house, even if they attend college out of state. Make sure that the policy meets the minimum auto liability requirements for that state.
If your student owns the vehicle and holds the title, they'll need their own auto policy.
2. HOMEOWNERS OR RENTERS INSURANCE
You've bought your son a brand new I-Pad and a printer as a graduation present. In two weeks, he will be filling his dorm room with computer equipment, I-Phone docks, printers and a flat screen TV. What happens if his room gets broken into, or there is a fire?
If your child continues to live in your household, his or her belongings are covered under your policy.
- If your child stays in a dorm room on campus and you, the parents, have renters or homeowner’s insurance for your home, your insurance policy will extend to cover their belongings, up to a 10% limit of your personal property coverage. That means, if your renter’s or homeowner’s policy has a limit of $200,000 for personal property, there will be coverage for up to $20,000 for your child’s belongings. Keep in mind that coverage is subject to your renter’s or homeowner’s policy deductible, usually $500 - $1,000.
- Check with us to make sure the personal property limit on your homeowner’s policy is adequate. You might need additional coverage to insure expensive items like jewelry, musical instruments, or certain sports equipment.
- Please note: Will your child return home or travel abroad for longer periods of time as part of their college experience? If they leave their belongings behind in a dorm or fraternity / sorority house for more than 45 days, your homeowners policy will no longer cover those belongings. In that situation, it's important to either ship the belongings home during extended absences or temporarily store the items in a commercial storage facility.
If your college student lives in his or her own place off-campus, or shares an off-campus house or apartment with friends, things get a little trickier.
- You might have to set up a separate renter’s policy for your student. That will not only cover his or her "stuff", but also provide liability coverage in case somebody gets hurt in their place. In addition, many landlords have made renter’s insurance a requirement of the lease. Renter’s insurance policies are usually quite affordable, generally less than $15 per month.
I know that all of this is just another item on the endless checklist that is preparing your child to go away to college. But it is the responsible thing to do, in anticipation of what could happen. Your children still need you to protect them, even though they are all grown up. :)