Do you have the right insurance coverage for them?
Hard to believe but summer is almost over. Students are getting ready to go back to school or it might be your son or daughter’s first day at college. These are exciting times; it seems like tons of stuff needs to be moved into a college dorm or apartment. According to the National Center of education statistics, burglaries account for approximately 50% of all on campus crimes. With this worrisome statistic, parents and their college students should take a moment and look at their insurance needs.
Most belongings of a college student are covered by the parents’ homeowners or renters insurance. This might be enough but it should be cautioned that personal property off of the insured home base is only covered at 10% of the total value of coverage for the personal possessions at the home. For example – if your homeowners or renters policy covers the belongings at your residence at $80,000, only $8000 would be available to insure your student’s belongings in the dorm. Not all homeowners/renters insurance policies are created equal and not all insurance policies of imposed this type of limit, so it is important that you discuss your policy with your insurance agent.
You must also be aware that your student’s laptop and other electronic equipment may have limitations of coverage under your homeowners/renters policy. Coverage limits can also apply to sports and musical equipment, jewelry or other expensive items that your student wishes to take with them to college. You can add an endorsement to your homeowners/renters insurance policy to adequately cover these items. There is a slight cost for this endorsement depending on the cost to replace the item.
Belongings of students that are considering living off campus are likely not covered by their parent’s homeowners/renters insurance. These students should consider purchasing a renters policy for their belongings. If there is a loss, your student will be reimbursed according to the limits of their renters policy. You should consider creating a detailed inventory of all the items that they are going to take with them. By taking the time to inventory all these items, you will have an up-to-date inventory that will help you get insurance claims settled faster in the event of a theft, fire or other insured event.
Not only the value of your student’s belongings should be considered when your student is off to college, you also should look at the liability coverage on your homeowners/renters insurance. Your liability could be greatly increased while you have a student in college. Your exposure to being sued for the actions of your student is increased. An example of this could be very innocent in that it could be as simple as your student having other students into their dorm room consuming alcohol. Your student need not supply the alcohol but merely allow the beverages to be consumed in their dorm room. One of their guests becomes very intoxicated and during horseplay falls out of the window, becoming injured. As the parent of the student providing the room, you could be sued for the cost of the injuries. If you have low limits of liability like $100,000, the amount of money the court awards could be well over that amount. The court would then go after any assets that you may have. It is important to carry at least $500,000 limit of liability – more if possible. You might also wish to look into an umbrella liability policy, which could add an additional million plus dollars to your liability protection. Liability protection is usually a very inexpensive way to cover this additional liability exposure.
It is important to let your auto insurance company know of your student’s driving activities. If your student is taking the car away to college, the location where their car is garaged is a factor in setting the premium for your auto insurance policy. If your student leaves the car at home and is going to college over 100 miles away from home, you could qualify for a discount on your insurance premium. There is also a discount with some insurance companies for your student’s good grades. It is always a good idea to discuss with your insurance agent what is best for you and your student, regarding the use of a vehicle on your auto insurance policy.
Be sure to check into your medical insurance to be aware of the coverages that your student is eligible for. Most policies will cover your student up to the age of 26, if they go to college or not. You will also need to look into the doctors and hospitals where your student is going to school to be sure that they are in network or not. The college might also carry medical insurance that would be more beneficial for your student if there are no medical services in network with your medical insurance company. Most medical insurance will cover regardless if the physician or hospital is in or out of network, if a life-threatening emergency arises. If your student is going to be studying abroad, you will probably need to provide international health insurance to cover any claims.
We at Brownell Insurance are glad to help you look into your insurance needs to ensure that your student has the right insurance coverage. We will help you relax knowing that you and your student are covered properly. Our agents are well versed on your needs and they will take the time to help you feel comfortable with your insurance decisions. Give us a call and allow us to help you in this exciting time.
Information for this blog came from: Insurance Information Institute