Insurance coverage for college students can get overwhelming if you do not how to assess risk and understand the coverage of each policy. This insurance checklist is to serve as a primary tool for any parent or student to reference when it comes to covering every angle for the student in college.
Let’s start the insurance checklist with the living situation.
1. Does the student live on or off campus?
[ ] Yes
If the student lives on campus in a dorm room, their “stuff” will most likely be covered by their parent’s standard homeowners policy. Typically, you will get 10% of coverage (of total coverage) for belongings “off premise” for all people on the insurance policy including your college student. However, all insurance policies have different coverage limitations and exceptions so check with an insurance professional to see if your student’s “stuff” is covered.
[ ] No
If the the student lives off campus in a house or apartment, the student is most likely not covered under the parent’s homeowner policy. In this case, the student will most likely need to get their own renter’s insurance policy. You insurance agent will be able to tell you if you need a separate policy in this situation.
Renter’s insurance policies have several benefits including liability coverage. Depending on the policy, if the student inadvertently harms someone at their place and is held responsible they should have coverage. Make sure liability coverage includes personal injury coverage as this will include lawsuits from a student posting on social media as well.
2. Is your smartphone, TV, or computer insured?
A student’s smartphone, TV, or commuter is not covered under their parent’s homeowner policy and would need a stand alone policy. Typically, you will get offered insurance when you purchase the item from a retailer or the provider. This is most likely the best option of insurance if these are the two most valuable items that the student owns.
3. What are some college pre-cautions my student can take?
a). Create an inventory list of everything your student is taking to college. Not only list off the name of each item but also list the replacement cost of each item. By doing this, you will know exactly what the student left with at the beginning of the year and if they return with it all. Also, this list is very valuable to your insurance agent as he/she will tell you exactly what policy you need to cover each item.
b) Make sure all of your smart phones and laptops have some sort of tracking app installed on them so you can locate them if they get misplaced or stolen. Many iPhones and Androids have these apps built in the phone. Here are the top apps to track smartphones and laptops.
c) Leave your valuables at home or get a special floater or endorsement added to your existing policy to insure your most valuable belongings such as a luxury watch, jewelry, or heirloom. If you are unsure whether your extremely valuable items are covered, contact your insurance agent right away.
d) Make sure your student has an easily accessible document, photo, or ID card for proof of health insurance. Children are usually covered under their parent’s health insurance policy until 26, but sometimes health insurers have geographical limitations for students attending college outside their home state. Be aware of any on-campus health or medical assistance that is offered to students as well. Ensure your student is covered and able to access medical help any time necessary by having the proper documentation.
4. Is your student still driving a vehicle while at school?
[ ] Never
If the student is going to a college that is over 100 miles away and is not taking a car with them, they will most likely be able to apply for the distant-student discount. Contact an insurance professional to see if your student is eligible for this discount.
[ ] Sometimes
If the student does not bring the car to school with them and only drives the vehicle during school breaks for holiday or when they come back home, then you must leave the student on a policy as if he/she lived at home.
In regards to occasionally driving a friend’s vehicle, the friend’s insurance carrier would most likely serve as the primary insurer then your insurance policy would serve as a backup.
[ ] Always
If the student brought a car to school and is still listed on the insurance policy of their parents, then the insurance carrier should be notified of this change. Sometimes coverage for vehicles changes when it is in a new location, new state, and/or primary driver. This will most likely affect your premium as well. This will avoid any discrepancy if a claim needs to be filed down the road (no pun intended).
Insurance Checklist Reminders
- The student needs proper coverage for their living situation. This is the most important coverage as off campus living could leave the student without any insurance.
- Special items likes luxury watches, laptops, and smartphones most likely are not covered and need their own specific insurance policies. Making an inventory list and showing it to your insurance professional is a smart and efficient way to find the right coverage for each item.
- Auto insurance should remain the same if the student drives moderately. However, if the student does not drive at all then he/she could be eligible for the distant-student discount.
- Looking into life insurance at a young age is a great idea as it is less expensive and builds a foundation for the individual at a relatively young age.
- Health insurance is usually active for the student until they are 26. However, students outside of their home state might have limitations when it comes to getting treatment from certain health providers. Look into which health providers are eligible on their policy and what resources the school has available to them.