College is expensive enough without the added cost of unexpected accidents or theft, not covered by your insurance policy.
How does having a child in college raise insurance considerations? The average college student will bring between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of personal property to college — ranging from technology, electronics and textbooks to clothing, furniture and bicycles. Most students will suffer a loss at least once, with the most common cause being theft and the most severe being fire and weather events.
The points below highlight some of the things that you should consider before sending your child to college.
• Personal Property: Most homeowners policies will cover personal property for up to 10% of your total policy while your child is residing at school (a $100,000 policy equals $10,000 in coverage). Not all types of damage are covered, so read your policy carefully. Some items such as jewelry or expensive electronics, require special coverage. Renters insurance is strongly recommended.
• Liability Coverage: General damage to a dorm room or apartment is not usually covered.
• Documentation: Creating an inventory of the items your child is taking to school is a good idea. Use photographs and keep receipts.
• Car Stays Home: Keep your child listed on your auto policy if they will still drive your car while at home on school breaks.
• Car at School: Make sure to notify us if your child will be taking a car away to school. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and listed on your policy, it will be covered.
• Driving a Friend’s Car: Students are generally covered if they are listed on their parent’s policy and are not regularly using the vehicle. The coverage would be secondary. The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage.
• Discounts: A full-time student meeting certain academic requirements can qualify for a good student discount. Distant student discounts may also be available. Drivers under 21 who have completed driver’s education may also get a discount.
The 18-29 year-old age bracket accounts for 24 percent of all identity theft complaints, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Before sending a child off to college, parents should take time to educate him or her about the potential lasting issues created by identity theft.
The insurer advises students not to carry social security cards or even the social security number. Students should also be wary of peer-to-peer sharing programs at school that create easy, unauthorized access to a computer. The insurer also advises students to avoid sharing credit cards, identification cards or PIN numbers with anyone, even a friend.
Since most college students are considered dependents, they are covered by their parents’ home and auto policy, which also means their parents can be held responsible for their actions.
For example, if a student hosts a party in a dorm or apartment, the parents could be held responsible for a variety of tragic outcomes. An umbrella policy creates an extra buffer to protect valuable assets like their home. These policies can be purchased for a few hundred dollars to provide coverage for legal judgments that exceed the standard auto or homeowners policy level.
We can walk you through the steps to ensure you have the right coverage. We’re here to help!