Don’t Forget Insurance for Your College-Bound Kids


August 6th, 2015

 

In the excitement of sending a child off to college, it’s almost inevitable that something will be forgotten… You paid the tuition bill; you ordered the textbooks; you stocked up on the dorm room necessities; but what about the insurance??

 

A college student’s insurance needs are often overlooked in the last-minute scramble. But relying on existing coverage, or a lack thereof, could end up being a big mistake in the event of a stolen iPad, trip to the ER, or worse.

 

Below is a brief look at the different types of insurance you may want to consider for your college-bound kid:

 

HEALTH

Many colleges and universities require health insurance. Most parents can meet that by keeping their children on their plan, which federal health reform allows until age 26.

 

If your child’s school is far from home, it’s important to check that your plan’s network of preferred providers reaches that area. Otherwise the highest level of coverage may not be available. If your child is in need of their own health insurance, some schools sponsor their own plans. However, they can sometimes be somewhat costly and may limit where your child could be treated. An alternative would be an individual health insurance plan. Contact Gunn-Mowery’s Employee Benefits Specialists for additional information about individual health insurance plans.

 

AUTO

Car insurance is an area where families could actually save some money. If your student attends school more than 100 miles away from home and does not take a car, your premiums may be reduced. And, regardless of whether or not they take a car to school, some insurers also offer a ‘good student discount’ for those who maintain a B average or higher.

 

Even if they do not qualify for either discount, you should still inform your insurance company that a student on the policy will be relocating. It’s important to keep insurers informed of such moves since it could impact your premium.

 

PERSONAL PROPERTY

It’s not unusual for students to have thousands of dollars of electronic gadgets and other belongings in their dorm rooms, from laptops and video game systems to bicycles and musical instruments. And these are all popular targets for theft.

 

Such items are typically covered by the parents’ homeowners or renters insurance if stolen – minus the deductible, of course. However, coverage varies, so make sure you’re familiar with your policy coverage and its limits.

 

Taking a photograph of each expensive possession could help ensure receipt of its proper replacement value if stolen. To protect against items being lost, or for extra coverage with a lower deductible, renters insurance can be obtained usually at a very reasonable cost. Renters insurance is also sometimes required by landlords for each tenant living off-campus. Make sure you and your child are fully aware of what’s required and expected before signing the lease.

 

TUITION

Tuition refund insurance is a means of getting your money back if the student withdraws from school – generally only for documented medical reasons. Parents generally consider tuition refund insurance if they’re paying all the costs at an expensive school without financial aid, or if their child has a serious medical condition.

 

Besides private tuition refund insurance, Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest student lender, also sells tuition protection to borrowers (up to $5,000 annually).

 

LIFE

Buying life insurance for a college student may not be something you’d want to think about, but it can make sense for parents who co-sign for tens of thousands in private student loans. Without it, they will owe the amount for which they co-signed if the unthinkable does in fact occur.

 

TRAVEL

Travel insurance can help cover costs of a semester abroad gone bad due to illness, accident, theft, or other setbacks. Insurers reimburse for many travel-related emergencies, although exclusions vary widely. Some offer trip cancellation protection for any reason. Check with the college first, and carefully read the fine print of any policy.

 

Whether your child is headed off as a freshman or she’s finishing her senior year, it’s important they (and you) are properly protected. Please contact Gunn-Mowery to review your coverages to ensure all bases are covered.