Insurance Issues for Parents of Students

If you have a student in college or soon will, an insurance checkup is probably necessary.

Renter”s insurance: Regardless of whether your child lives on or off campus, the residence probably will contain valuables such as a computer, TV, stereo, and a video game system that could be stolen or destroyed. Review your homeowner”s policy to see whether it will cover a college student”s possessions. 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.

Health insurance: Full-time college students are probably covered by your health insurance plans until they graduate or reach age 26. Even so, you should check whether the campus health facility, local physicians, and hospitals accept the family”s insurance coverage. If not, you may decide to purchase a student insurance plan through the college. Be sure the student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards and knows about obtaining referrals and approvals before seeking treatment.