Taxes & Insurance

Parents and prospective students tour a college.

If you have a student in college or soon will, it’s time to do an insurance checkup.

Health insurance: Your children remain covered under your FEHB insurance until they reach age 26. Even so, you should check whether the campus health facility, local physicians, and hospitals accept your coverage, especially if you are enrolled in other than a national plan and the college is outside that plan’s coverage area. Be sure the student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards and knows about policies on matters such as obtaining referrals before scheduling specialized treatment.

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Renter’s insurance: Review your homeowner’s policy to see whether it will cover a college student’s possessions such as a computer, TV, video game system and so on; they can easily be stolen or damaged in a college environment. For students living in an off-campus apartment, consider purchasing renter’s insurance through your homeowner’s insurance company.

Auto insurance: If your college student will be using the family vehicle when visiting home, make sure the child is listed by name on the family’s policy. If the student is taking a car to school, parents should check the specific rates for the college’s city and state to decide whether to keep the child on the family policy or get a local policy. In any case, the insurance company should be notified each semester if the student maintains good grades, because “good student” discounts might be available.

Parents also should also ask about an “accident forgiveness” clause, which will prevent a raise in premiums if a student gets into a minor accident. Another tactic is to raise the policy’s deductible and allow the child to drive only the family’s oldest, least expensive car.

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