Preparing for a child to go to college can be a stressful endeavor between the applications, waiting for acceptance letters, and the adjustments at home when college begins. With so much to think about, it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks. One often overlooked issue is insurance. Sending a student to college may require changes to your insurance policies and the need to purchase new ones. Here are important areas to think about.
Property Damage and Theft
Theft is a risk in any public space, and colleges and universities are no different. This is especially true when it comes to valuable items such as computers and laptops. It’s important to make sure your student’s belongings are covered for loss due to theft or damage while away from home. Your homeowners insurance policy may cover some or all of your student’s possessions while at college, but call your agent to make sure. They’ll discuss the options you have for increasing this coverage to full value if necessary.
Tip: If your student is going to school relatively close by, have them leave non-essential valuables, like jewelry, at home.
If your student decides to live off campus, that living situation may call for renters insurance to ensure their belongings are covered. This is not always the case, so check the details of your homeowners insurance policy with your agent.
If renters insurance is necessary for your student, make sure they know that their policy does not extend to their roommates and vice versa – all occupants need to check their own policies.
For the most expensive items a college student may have – TVs, computers, and other electronic equipment – you should speak with your agent to find out what coverage may be afforded under your homeowner policy. After that discussion, you may want to consider purchasing a stand-alone policy to extend coverage. This could help with replacement costs due to accidental damage in addition to general coverage. This is a great add-on that could save you a lot of stress and money in the long run. Ask your student’s college for a list of their preferred vendors.
Tip: Ask your student’s school about the need for an uninterruptable power supply if they have a desktop computer and find out if the school offers a cloud-based platform for backing up files.
Whether going away to school or commuting, if your student plans to drive while attending college there will most likely be changes to your auto insurance policy. Many factors influence auto insurance rates, so any change to your student’s living or driving situation could result in a rate change.
Insurance considerations for borrowing or lending vehicles are important for you and your student to be aware of. Claims can get very complicated when accidents occur in these situations and can be influenced by how much coverage is on the vehicle, the owner’s policy, and the driver’s policy. Be sure to let your agent know what your student’s driving situation will be and ask them about borrowing or lending vehicles.
The Affordable Care Act currently allows many parent-owned health insurance policies to extend to their children while they are away at college. Make sure this is the case with your policy. If so, your student will still need to pay attention to what providers are in and out of network where they are moving.
Many schools have their own health care plans. Ask about these to make sure your student won’t be covered by two policies.
Talk to your agent about areas where it makes sense for you to reduce your plans to avoid redundant coverage. This frequently occurs with changes to auto insurance policies.
Tip: Make an inventory list of all items your student brings to college. Include the model and make, photographs, and serial numbers. This will be useful information if a claim needs to be filed.
When your student moves away, every aspect of your life and theirs can be altered. For this reason, it’s important for you to sit down with your insurance agent so they can evaluate all of your policies and assess what changes need to be made. If you’re the parent of a future college student and especially if your student is at college but you haven’t had an in-depth discussion with your agent, call them today.
Tip: Sit down with your student to explain the details of their insurance policies and go over what to do when they need to file a claim.