As your child heads off to college, they probably aren't thinking about insurance. But as a concerned parent, you may want to take a few moments to ensure that they are properly covered while away from home.
To help you determine if they are, here are four types of insurance to consider.
Start by talking to your homeowners insurance agent or provider. Some homeowners insurance policies will continue to cover a college student's belongings even if they live in a dorm. Usually, they must have been a member of your household up until they went to college, be a full-time student, and be under a certain age.
Homeowners insurance generally offers protection against accidents and injuries that might occur in your child's dorm room or another on-campus apartment. It also likely would cover the loss of their personal belongings, including computers, mobile devices, and school equipment they had to purchase for some classes.
If your child is not covered by your homeowners policy, consider renters insurance to cover those belongings. Like a basic homeowners policy, renters insurance can cover household goods, as well as liability if someone is injured while on the covered person's property. With college students coming and going all the time, this is a situation where liability coverage is particularly valuable but rarely purchased.
Many college students don't think they have property that's worth enough money to warrant insurance coverage. But renters insurance premiums are fairly inexpensive and easy to purchase. And once you start adding up the costs of things like sports equipment, computers, books, and new furniture, you may find that a lot more money is sunk into a dorm room than expected.
Vehicle coverage is essential and generally mandatory for anyone who drives a car or truck. Even if your student doesn't have their own vehicle while at college, they may still benefit from having proper coverage so that they can occasionally drive others' cars. And with a variety of student-based discount programs, you could get a significant rate reduction while boosting coverage.
This option is valuable if they are going to school with friends who have vehicles or if they ever need to drive for a friend who's had one too many drinks. And don't forget that they'll probably drive a family vehicle when they come home on vacation too.
Young people often consider themselves a little invulnerable, but parents know that they're not. This is doubly so if the student plans on participating in any sports or they like to explore the outdoors.
Check to see if the university offers a medical insurance plan designed for students or has other provisions for buying low-cost medical care. If it doesn't - or if you consider the choices inadequate - talk to your own medical insurance provider about keeping the student on your policy until age 26.
Alternatively, if the student qualifies to claim themselves on their tax return, they may also qualify for either expanded Medicaid through the state they will live in or for a subsidy through that state's health insurance marketplace. Either option could result in very inexpensive health coverage with more options than a university plan.
While you're preparing your son or daughter for their first year away at college, be sure to take them to meet with your insurance agent and discuss these options as a family. You may find that you have access to affordable choices that give everyone more peace of mind. To find out if you and your children have the right coverage, visit us at Finley Pinson Insurance today.