Kids Heading Off to College? Check Your Insurance

college students and insurance

At this time of year, we receive a lot of questions about liability and property insurance related to a child going away to college. We know this can be a confusing topic, so we’ve put together a few highlights you might find helpful. Please give us a call if we can help you further.

Homeowner’s/Renter’s Insurance:

Who is an insured? – In order for your homeowner’s or renter’s liability insurance policy to follow a child to college, he or she must:

  • Be a full-time student;
  • Must have lived in your home prior to going a way to school (cannot live on their own for a year and then go to college);
  • Must be 24 years old or younger (most policies);
  • Must live in a dorm or a fraternity or sorority house on campus (cannot live off campus in an apartment).

Your homeowner’s policy will provide 10% coverage of your personal property to extend toward a school dorm or fraternity/sorority house.

Another major point of concern is when you rent an apartment for your child that will be shared with other people. While the parents’ or landlord’s policies might offer coverage for certain items for a student renter, it may not be enough. If not handled correctly, you could be uninsured for things that happen in this type of arrangement. Always contact your insurance agent to see what your current insurance would cover in this arrangement and try to find out what the landlord’s insurance provides coverage for prior to signing a lease agreement. Then talk to your agent to see if a separate renter’s policy would be needed.

Auto Insurance:

Auto insurance is another major insurance concern when a parent sends a child off to college. Some may think it’s best to take their child off the policy if they won’t be taking a car to school. However, that can prove to be a very costly mistake. As a best practice, it’s best to keep your son or daughter listed on your policy, regardless of whether they’ll be taking a car to school because it will:

  • Provide full protection when he or she returns home and drives a car;
  • Provide full protection when driving a friend’s car while away in the event that the vehicle isn’t adequately insured, and;
  • Maintain continuous insurance coverage that may be beneficial when he or she gets his or her own auto insurance policy.

If your child is taking a car to college, be sure to keep the following points in mind:

  • Notify your insurance company that the car will be garaged in another location.
  • State laws vary. For instance if your child goes from a “straight-liability” to a “no-fault” state, their liability coverage may not be adequate.
    • Minimums also vary by state. If your child attends an out of state college, then you need to purchase a policy that meets that State’s minimums.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call. The Whitlock Group is here help you navigate the world of insurance and will make sure you and your family are covered in all stages of life.

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