The Right Insurance for College Students Offers Peace of Mind

Category: Personal Insurance

Sending your child to college—out of state or closer to home—is exciting and scary. One of the easiest things you can do for peace of mind is to make sure that you and your college student are properly insured.

The three types of insurance college students should be concerned with are personal property insurance, auto insurance, and health insurance.

Personal Property Insurance
Your student will need some type of coverage for his or her personal belongings, including clothing, jewelry, electronic equipment and furnishings taken to school.

Most homeowners policies will provide coverage for the personal property of full-time students (as defined by the school) who meet the specified age requirement and are a resident of the parents’ household. This extension of coverage usually applies to students living in dorms or on-campus housing. Most policies limit a student’s coverage to 10% of the parents’ coverage, so if your homeowners policy has a personal property limit of $300,000, your student’s belongings will be covered up to $30,000, after the deductible.

We can help you determine your policy’s specific limits. You can and should purchase additional coverage or endorsements for expensive items like jewelry, laptops and other electronics.

Renters insurance is available for students whose belongings are not covered on their parents’ policy due to age, marital or independent student status, and who are no longer a resident of their parents’ household (live in an apartment or off-campus housing). Renters insurance covers personal belongings and provides liability protection.

Renters insurance generally provides coverage on an actual cash value basis, which means that in the event of a loss, the policy will pay the replacement cost of the item, less depreciation.

Auto Insurance
Even if your student is not taking a car to college, she still needs to be insured because she might drive your car on school breaks or drive someone else’s car at school. Most insurers consider college students to be members of the household who are just living away temporarily.

College students who keep a car on campus must comply with the minimum insurance requirements of the state the school is in. If the parents own the vehicle, the student can be listed on their policy as an additional driver, but the premium may go up. If the student owns the vehicle, he needs to have an individual auto insurance policy.

Remember that young drivers pay higher premiums, and males pay more than females. We can help determine if you are eligible for any of the discounts insurance companies make available to students.

Health Insurance
The new health care law allows young adults not covered by their own employer-provided plan to remain on their parents’ health plan until age 26. If the parents do not have health insurance, the student can purchase an individual plan. Most colleges and universities offer health insurance plans tailored specifically to their students. These policies typically have fairly low caps on coverage, so they will not provide comprehensive coverage for major medical issues. They will cover basic medical services that the student might need throughout the year (immunizations, checkups, etc.).

Students with pre-existing medical conditions might have trouble getting an individual policy until after 2014, when the provision of the health care law that prevents insurers from denying coverage to anyone with a preexisting condition kicks in.

Also, be aware of any network requirements your health plan has, and if your coverage will be reduced if your student sees providers away at school that are considered out of network by your plan.

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