College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your College Student ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.
It's important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never "one-size-fits-all" situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!
HOMEOWNERS (may vary by state and individual policy)
- Coverage of personal property: Most Home Insurance policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured. The deductible of your home insurance policy would also apply to any claims that your college student may have for any covered loss.
- Off Campus Housing: For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular home policy does not cover a student’s personal property.
- Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
- Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your Home Insurance coverage. It may be a better fit to buy a Renters Insurance policy for your College Student. It’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school; this should include photos or receipts for their items.
- Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can't be met under your current policy, don't forget renters insurance. The Landlord’s policy generally only covers the structure, not the possessions of their renters. Remember to consider your students liability exposure if someone is hurt or injured in their apartment or rented home. Many parents choose to purchase a renters insurance policy to ensure that their students liability exposure is covered. After all, your student is over 18 and considered an adult!
AUTO (may vary by state)
- Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
- Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. A change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
- Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The students own insurance coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the insurance company for the friend’s car would be considered the primary car insurance coverage.
- Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.
Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by!