22 Apr 2010 Insuring Your College Bound Kid
It’s August and you know what that means. While your kids may not want to hear it, back to school is just around the corner. And for those kids heading off to college, the corner is coming quick! Below I’ll share some tips for insuring your college bound kid.
These next few weeks will undoubtedly consume your time in preparing your child to go off to college. And I’m betting that thinking about your insurance policies is the farthest thing from your mind. However, sometime between shopping for college-ruled notebooks and filling out the FAFSA, you should think about your insurance. You’ll want to make sure your child is protected while away at school, and in some cases, additional coverage may be required.
Below is a quick checklist of items to think about as you prepare:
Homeowners Insurance: Talk with your child about all the items they will be bringing (or purchasing) for their dorm room. Most college dorm rooms today are often jam-packed with flat screen TVs, Wiis, mp3 players, laptops, etc. Not to mention necessities such as bedding, clothes, books and more. Create a basic inventory of the items being brought to college and try to determine the cost to replace everything should a fire or theft occur.
- Give us a call at (800) 941-3317 to review your personal property limits on your homeowners policy. While it’s likely your policy covers the items your child will take to college, most insurance companies limit the amount of coverage afforded to 10% of the personal property limit. For example, if your policy covers you for $25,000 of personal property, your child’s possessions away at school will be limited to $2,500 worth of coverage.
- Coverage for your child’s computer or laptop may also be limited. While some companies may cover this, others require a special endorsement to the policy. Please call us at (800) 941-3317 to review.
- If your son or daughter will be living off-campus in an apartment, they may be required to purchase renters insurance. These policies are very inexpensive and will offer both liability and personal property coverages.
Auto Insurance: Even if your son or daughter will not be taking a car to school, there are several issues to think about.
- Most companies will endorse the policy if the student is away from home and will not be using the car during the school year. For example, if the child is listed as a primary operator, the carrier can either change them to an occasional operator or exclude them from the policy. While both options may save money on your premium, exclusion is not a decision we recommend making. If you choose to remove your child as a driver during the school year, be sure that when they come home for the holidays or spring break that they won’t be driving the vehicle. There may also be a gap in coverage if your child drives a friend or roommate’s vehicle while at school. Finally, should a claim occur, the carrier will most likely deny coverage due to your child being excluded.
- An additional consideration is whether your child drives a friend’s vehicle which is insured out of state. State insurance minimums for auto insurance vary, and the car your child borrows could very well have lower limits than your own.
- If they will be taking the car to school, you’ll need to notify our office so we can advise the insurance company of where the vehicle will be parked. While this may result in additional premium, not informing the company could result in loss of coverage at the time of a claim. According to Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California, “if a claim is made out of state and the insurance company finds out the car was moved without notification, they may refuse to settle the claim”. To avoid this happening, always notify our office of any changes that may need to be made to the policy.
As you’re winding down your college prep, please give us a call at (800) 941-3317 to review your insurance policies and make sure your child has the best protection while away at school.
*Authored by Amanda Spittell.
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For more information about this topic, or to get answers about your current insurance situation, stop our office in Franklin, Massachusetts or give us a call at (800) 941-3317.