3 Insurance Considerations for College StudentsSeptember 6, 2018
When your child goes off to college it’s going to be a change for everyone. They are venturing out “on their own” for the first time and you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions about the nest getting emptier. The insurance implications of campus life are probably not the first, or second, thing on anyone’s mind. However, your college student still has both property and liability exposures present, and even some that are unique to their new living situation. Here are a few insurance considerations for college students:
1. Personal Belongings
You might not want to start adding up the dollars of “stuff” your son or daughter has in their dorm room or apartment, but it’s important to have a pretty good idea of the value of their contents. Most homeowners companies will offer a base amount of 10% of the Contents (Coverage C) limit on your Homeowners Policy for personal property away from the premises. So, if you have $150,000 of contents coverage for your home, you would have $15,000 of coverage for your college student’s personal articles in their room.
In most cases, this 10% represents an adequate limit of insurance. If you need more than the 10% provides, you may be able to endorse the policy to provide a higher limit, or you may find that the company which writes your Homeowner’s Policy may write a Renters policy for your child. This would provide them with both Property and Personal Liability coverage, but will create some added insurance expense.
2. Personal Liability
If your child is still a resident of your home, and just temporarily living on campus during the school year, your Personal Liability coverage is still covering him or her. That can be a benefit, but it also means that your policy is still on the hook for certain actions of your child while they are under your supervision to a much lesser extent than they used to be.
If you don’t already have Personal Injury Coverage on your Homeowners policy, it is probably time to add it. Personal Injury Coverage can protect you against claims made relating to defamation, libel, or slander (among other things). College students are often some of the most vocal members of society, and in the age of social media, where comments directed at other people are written down and essentially saved forever, this is a coverage you shouldn’t be without.
3. Auto Liability
There’s a good chance that your child will eventually take a vehicle to school with them. Campuses are a place of high pedestrian traffic, tight parking lots, and busy, narrow streets. There are a lot of driving hazards to consider and your college-age driver will be encountering them with only a few years of driving experience under their belt.
Now is probably a good time to review your Car Insurance and increase your liability limits for both property damage and bodily injury. You might also consider a Personal Umbrella Liability Policy, if you don’t already have one. If your child pays their own insurance premiums, it’s time to be that nagging parent and make sure they are keeping up with their bills so that their coverage stays current. College is expensive; causing an at-fault accident when you have no insurance in place is really expensive.
There is a lot of paperwork, applications, and general planning involved in getting your child to an institution of higher learning. It would be easy to either forget about dotting I’s and crossing T’s regarding your insurance policies or just avoid it altogether. However, there is hardly a more necessary time to ensure that you and your child are appropriately insured. Take a few minutes and make a call to an independent insurance agent to review your coverage and receive the peace of mind that you are correctly and adequately covered during this stressful, but exciting, transition period in your lives.
Disclaimer: Information and claims presented in this content are meant for informative, illustrative purposes and should not be considered legally binding.