Insurance Needs of College Students
This is the moment you’ve spent the past 18 years preparing for! Your child is headed off to college. There is bound to be a mix of emotions as they take their first steps toward life on their own. One part of preparing for college, that may not occur to most, is making sure your student is adequately covered by insurance while they are away at school. However, if you are the parent of a student moving into an on-campus or off-campus apartment or housing, you should review your insurance policies to make sure your child’s personal possessions are covered while they’re away at school.
Your McSweeney & Ricci Personal Lines Account Manager can guide you towards the proper levels of coverage when it comes to your college student’s insurance needs. At this important time you should review auto insurance and homeowner’s or renters insurance, with your insurance agent. In the post that follows we will go through some of the questions you may have, surrounding each one of these coverages. However, we always encourage you to call your Account Manager to discuss all of your options and to make sure you have the proper levels of coverage.
Auto Insurance for college students
My college student is not taking a car to college. Can I remove them from my auto insurance policy?
If your student doesn’t take a car away to college, we recommend you keep them listed on your auto insurance policy for a number of reasons:
- If your student returns home for Christmas break or even a weekend visit and wants to drive to visit friends, they will be fully protected.
- If your college student is away at school and is involved in an accident where they’re hit by a car while walking or biking, or even while riding in a friend’s car, they are protected by the coverage provided by your policy.
- If they’re away at school and driving a friend’s car, keeping them on your auto policy ensures your child has insurance protection, even if that friend’s vehicle is under insured.
- Keeping your child on your auto policy while they’re away, helps build continuous coverage history. Continuous coverage may benefit your student in the future when they secure their own auto insurance policy.
My college student is taking a car to college with them and will be driving regularly or is commuting to college. Should I adjust my auto insurance?
If your child will be taking a car to college or commuting to college and using a car regularly, you should keep them on your auto insurance policy, as it is usually more expensive for young drivers and students to maintain their own policy. However, you need to contact your account manager and let them know the address where the vehicle will be garaged. The cost of the insurance will be based on where the car resides. Full-time college students are usually able to remain covered on their parent’s auto insurance policy if their primary address is the parents’ house, even if they are attending college out of state. Keep in mind, if your student owns the car and holds the title, they’ll need their own auto policy. Always stress safe driving habits, especially no driving under the influence or drugs or alcohol, and that they should not lend the car to their friends to drive.
Homeowner’s Insurance or Renters Insurance for college students
You’ve gone back to school shopping with your college student and purchased a new laptop computer, a mini dorm fridge, and a new cell phone so they can call you every night! Will these possessions be insured while your child is living in on-campus dormitory housing?
If your student is living in a dormitory on campus and you, as their parents, have renters or homeowner’s insurance, then your insurance policy will extend to cover your student’s belongings, up to a 10% limit of your personal property coverage. Therefore, if your renters or homeowner’s policy has a limit of $300,000 for personal property, then there will be coverage for up to $30,000 for your student’s belongings. All covered losses are subject to your policy deductible. The student’s possessions would be covered for the same disasters covered by your homeowner’s or renters insurance policy, (theft, vandalism and natural disasters).
Always contact your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager to make sure that the personal property limits on your policy are enough to cover more expensive items like jewelry, or sport equipment (like a bicycle) that your student may take with them to school. Parents may want to consider purchasing a personal property floater or an endorsement to their homeowner’s or renters policy to provide for coverage of more expensive items. Also, if your student is taking a trip abroad or returning home for an extended period of time and will be leaving their belongings in the dorm, you may need to ship the belongings home or temporarily store them at a storage facility.
Before your student heads to school, have them create a ‘dorm inventory’ that lists the items that the student will be taking to school, as well as their estimated value. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I) has free software available at KnowYourStuff.org that can help you create an up-to-date inventory to help determine how much insurance to purchase and get insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, fire, or other disaster.
My student will be living in his own apartment or off-campus housing, will my insurance still cover him?
In this case, you may need to set up a separate renter’s insurance policy for your college student. A renters policy will protect the student’s possessions, but will also provide liability coverage in case someone is injured in their apartment. There may also be a renters insurance requirement on the apartment’s lease. Your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager can discuss the best options for your college student, and will ensure you receive the proper levels of coverage.
McSweeney & Ricci will make sure you receive any and all discounts and credits you may be entitled to!
For instance, if your student will be away at a college that is more than 100 miles from your hometown, and the student does not have regular access to the covered vehicle while at school, they may be eligible to receive a Student Away Discount. Also, if your student gets good grades, (typically a grade point average of 3.0 or higher), they may qualify for a Good Student Discount if they have been licensed less than 6 years.
Your child heading off to college is a major life event, for them and for you! Let the insurance experts at McSweeney & Ricci Insurance Agency, help you prepare by ensuring you receive the most complete protection for your insurance dollars. We represent a varied selection of top-rated insurance companies which allows us to select the best coverage at competitive prices.