Having a child go away to college for the first time—or return to campus after a long holiday—is usually met with both pride and concern. While most families can think of at least one thing to worry about while their kids or grandkids are away from home, it’s rarely:
“What does insurance cover if their belongings or electronic devices are stolen?“
Or: “What if they are in a car accident?”
Or: “What insurance coverage is extended to my college student? “
Knowing what your current insurance will pay for — and whether you need to buy extra coverage — is a good first step.
If your child leaves the car at home
- Ask your insurer about an away-at-school discount. Some insurance carriers offer a price break if the college is at least 100 miles away from home.
- Keep the student listed on your policy, so your son or daughter has coverage at home on breaks. Maintaining continuous auto liability insurance also keeps rates down over the long haul.
If your child asks to take a car
- Consider the risks. University campuses are often easy to get around on foot or bike, and young people are more likely to have accidents. It might make more sense to leave the vehicle behind at home.
- Notify the insurance company if your child takes a car. Some insurers might reprice the policy based on the school’s location.
Car or no car, don’t forget about the good-student discount. Many insurers offer a good student discount for maintaining at least a B average.
Homeowners or renters insurance
For a dorm
Belongings are covered under a renters or homeowners insurance policy in a campus dorm. Check the policy for details. Some policies limit coverage for belongings away from home to a percentage of the total amount of coverage for all possessions. Typically there are also coverage limits on expensive items such as computers. Consider buying extra coverage for these items if necessary.
For an off-campus apartment
Your homeowner’s or renters’ insurance may extend to your child’s off-campus apartment, but coverage limits are likely to be lower — check with your agent to be sure. In many cases, however, students who live in off-campus apartments need their own renter’s insurance policies. Renters insurance covers belongings and, like homeowners insurance, provides liability coverage. Liability insurance pays the legal expenses if anyone on the policy inadvertently injures someone else, or is held responsible for damaged property. It doesn’t cover illegal acts.
Make sure the liability insurance includes personal injury coverage. If it doesn’t, the price to add it is small. If sued for posting something objectionable on social media, personal injury coverage pays for legal defense and settlement costs.
Call Hertvik with any questions about your college student coverage or to review your policy!