Your college kid has a lot to think about when going to college, especially in the crazy pandemic environment. From buying textbooks to selecting classes to securing accommodations to staying healthy, the list is long. As a parent, you have much to think about too – worrying about how to pay for school, the health and safety of your child while they are away, and how they will take to college life. With all the hustle and bustle of the start of college, making sure your child has adequate insurance coverage often falls to the bottom of the list. However, it is an important consideration that will help protect both your college student and pocket as the new school year begins. Here is what you should consider.
Your child’s belongings
If your kid went away and is living on campus, they probably took a lot of things with them. Adding up textbooks, expensive technology and more, they may have hundreds of dollars’ worth of items with them at school. If this is the case, it’s important that you protect these items in case they are damaged or stolen during the year. Many homeowners insurance policies will cover items belongings to students while away from the primary residence –but be aware, many other policies will not.
If your home insurance policy does cover items away from the home, be sure to review the extent of this coverage. Some may limit this extension of coverage to a maximum of 10% of your personal property limit. Let’s say that you have $25,000 of personal property coverage – that means that only $2,500 would be available to your child while away at college. We’ll be glad to talk with you about what is and is not covered by your policy so that you can make alterations if necessary.
If your child is living off campus, a renters insurance policy is recommended to cover their belongings and supply them with liability coverage. If your child is renting with other students, each renter should have his or her own policy. The liability coverage will step in to help if anyone is injured or their property gets damaged while visiting your child. It will also step in to help if your studying student is a victim of theft or loses items due to a covered peril, such as a fire.
Your child’s driving
What will your child do about their car? If he/she took their car to college, you should let your insurance agent know as soon as possible. In most cases, if the car is registered to you and is listed on your auto insurance policy, it will be covered in an accident. However, you must notify the insurance agent when it is being garaged elsewhere. If you do not do this, you are at risk of potentially having a claim denied.
If your child left the vehicle at home, you may wonder if you should remove your child because they are away. You should be aware that doing so can possibly prove costlier in the long run. Lapses in coverage could cause your child to be charged more for coverage each time you look for a new policy. What’s more, he or she may want to use the car when they come home over the holidays. Without insurance, they are unable to drive. It could be worth keeping them on your insurance policy to protect them when they want to drive and at the same time, allow them to build up a solid history of auto insurance.
In a related scenario, if your child decides to drive a friend’s car while away at college, they could be covered as long as they are still listed as a driver on your auto insurance, even if they aren’t regularly using your vehicle. The insurance for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage, and your policy could be secondary.