College Students

My Child Is Heading Off to College – Does My Insurance Coverage Follow?

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You’ve known for almost 18 years this moment would likely come one day, and now it’s here – your child is getting ready to leave for college. Before you bid your child a tearful “see you later”, make sure your aspiring student is protected with insurance to cover mishaps that may occur.

Insurance to Cover Theft

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, burglaries are responsible for 56 percent of all criminal incidents on college campuses in the United States. In 2013 alone, there were 15,500 reported cases of theft filed by university students. The most commonly stolen item? Laptops.

If your daughter plans to live in a dorm or other form of student housing located on campus, she might be covered under your home insurance policy. However, some providers restrict how much contents coverage can be extended to off-premises belongings. Check with your independent agent to verify your coverage.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, most carriers will only allow 10 percent of the home’s contents coverage to be reserved for possessions outside the home. Meaning that if your contents coverage is set at $100,000, you’ll only get $10,000 of protection for the belongings your child takes to school. Because of this limitation, it may be beneficial to purchase a floater or endorsement for high-value items.

If your son will be living off-campus in an apartment, he might no longer be considered a dependent, and would need his own renters policy because your homeowners insurance typically wouldn’t cover him.

Auto Insurance

Since many universities place restrictions on students bringing their cars – such as limiting parking, charging a hefty sum for parking passes or allowing only upperclassmen to bring vehicles –­ many students decide to ditch their cars altogether, or just leave them at home. If it’s the latter, your daughter (or you, if you’re footing the bill), could save on auto insurance. Some carriers offer a discount for cars that aren’t being driven regularly for students attending college 100 miles or more away.

However, if bringing a car to school is a necessary and feasible option, make sure the vehicle is insured with the bodily injury and property damage liability coverage that meets state regulations. It’s also a good idea to choose a policy with collision, comprehensive and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to help keep her protected in a range of scenarios. Most companies will offer a multi-car discount if you choose to add your child to your existing auto policy.

Peace of Mind While Your Child is Away

Sending your son or daughter off to college is a huge adjustment – often a greater challenge for a parent than the child. However, making sure your college student is properly insured can help make the transition easier, and give you confidence that if the unexpected occurs, your scholar-to-be is protected.