College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current insurance policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.
It's important to keep in mind that policy language varies amongst carriers and from state to state, and there are never "one-size-fits-all" situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!
HOMEOWNERS (may vary by individual policy)
- Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide up to 10 percent of your homeowners insurance Personal Property coverage for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than your primary residence. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property would be covered for up to $10,000 if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured. For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.”
- Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
- Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos and receipts for the items.
- Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can't be met under your current policy, don't forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.
AUTOMOBILE (may vary by individual policy)
- Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, he/she should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If he/she is attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
- Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. Note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
- Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally will be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their respective parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. Your coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle would be the primary coverage.
- Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. Most insurance carriers require that a student be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.
Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by!