If you have a son or daughter in college, you’ve probably thought about dorm supplies, textbooks and how you’re going to cope with being apart from your “baby.”
But if you’re like many parents, insurance considerations aren’t top of mind. Unfortunately, that oversight could end up costing you or your child big bucks, something nobody needs on top of the cost of college tuition.
The fact is, you might currently have too little – or too much – coverage, depending on factors such as:
- Whether or not your student is taking a car to school
- Where your child will be living (on campus or off)
- What’s in your child’s suitcase, such as expensive electronics, furniture, and instruments, sporting equipment or jewelry
- If your child plans to leave belongings at school over summer break
- If your student is taking out loans to help with tuition
Before your student hits the books, it’s a good idea to hit your insurance policy contracts, and to talk to your independent insurance agent. Doing so can ensure that your child and your family have the protection you need against accidents or losses that happen away from home.
Here are a few tips to help make sure your insurance policies make the grade:
- Tune up your auto policy.
- Let your agent know if your student is taking a covered car to school. Reporting the new location where the car will be kept is necessary to ensure full coverage in the event of an accident or theft.
- Ask for a discount if your student is leaving his or her car at home.
- Check into good student discounts.
- Remind your student to drive safely and discourage lending the car to roommates or friends.
- Make sure your homeowner’s policy lives up to your expectations.
- Check if your policy provides protection for your student’s personal possessions at school, and find out your coverage limits. Some home insurance policies only cover possession in a dorm room up to 10 percent of your total personal possession coverage.
- Add up the value of the items your child is taking to school and make certain they have enough coverage.
- See if your policy extends to off-campus housing. If not, consider a renters policy.
- Check on restrictions that could deny coverage for belongings left unattended at school for long periods of times, such as over summer break.
- Look into life insurance for you – and your student.
If you’re paying for your child’s education, consider a term life insurance policy during the time your child is in college. If something happens to you, the policy can help him or her afford to stay in school.
- Check up on health insurance.
Health insurance companies must allow dependents to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. But some plans might have geographic limits or may not cover certain conditions, such as sports-related injuries for college athletes.
Alan R. Spachman is president of Belmont Insurance Services, LLC in Bluffton. ww.belmontinsuranceservices.com. (Thanks to Grange Mutual Insurance Company for providing assistance in the preparation of this article.)