One of our main priorities as parents is to protect our children, even as they grow up and move away from home. As you prepare for the start of the semester, you should consider how your insurance needs may change with your son or daughter away at school.
Protecting Your College Student’s Belongings
Many homeowners policies consider a dorm room as an extension of your home, so items your child keeps there may be covered to some extent. However, if your child has expensive electronic equipment or furniture, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.
If your child lives off campus, his or her possessions may not be covered by your homeowners policy. In that case, you may want to consider renter’s insurance, which costs as little as $15 per month. Renter’s insurance will cover possessions in your child’s off-campus apartment or house as well as provide liability coverage if anyone is injured in the residence.
Keeping Your College Student Healthy While on Campus
Many students can stay on their parents’ health plans if they are full-time students. However, restrictions vary greatly by state, and coverage could be even more complicated if your child is attending an out-of-state school.
If you find your child doesn’t have coverage under your plan, you have a few options. Most colleges have their own health plans, but some policies have high deductibles and low coverage maximums. A few don’t offer any coverage for conditions present before entering the school, so be sure to examine plans carefully. Otherwise, you may want to consider an individual policy for your child.
Changing Auto Coverage
If your child moves more than 100 miles away from your home to attend school and doesn’t keep a vehicle there, your auto insurance premiums could decrease by as much as 30 percent. If he or she does take a car to school, be sure to discuss proper maintenance, what to do in case of an accident or car trouble, and how to avoid activities or distractions that can impair driving (drinking, cell phone use, etc.).
Insurance Questions to Ask
Here are some important questions to ask when your child goes to college:
If my son/daughter is in a dorm, is there a dollar limit on what’s covered?
What would the premium and deductible be on a dorm insurance policy?
Will my child’s belongings be covered if he or she lives in off-campus housing?
Do I have to change my auto policy if my child brings the car to school?
If my child is an athlete, will he or she be covered under my family health plan if he or she is injured during a practice or game?