A Parent's Guide to Insurance for College Students
Students heading off to college, especially for the first time, face many insurance issues that they or you may not have considered. Here's a quick look at four of those issues.
Renter's insurance. Probably the most overlooked form of insurance coverage when a student heads for college is property insurance. Students today tend to own more valuable personal items in their dorm or off-campus apartment than in the past, and campuses are not immune to theft or damage. The Independent Insurance Agents of America estimates 100,000 property crimes occur on campuses annually (that doesn't count off-campus crimes). Beyond clothing and bedding, a student's room may contain a DVD player, television, computer and stereo equipment. Students in apartments will likely have additional items such as kitchenware and furnishings.
The school or landlord will probably not cover loss of these contents in such events as fire or theft and the parent's homeowner's policy may or may not cover the items. For students living in college housing, policies usually cover contents up to ten percent of the contents coverage of the parent's policy. For example, if the parents are covered for $75,000, their student is covered up to $7,500. See whether your policy will cover contents and to what dollar maximum. You may need to buy extra coverage through your carrier or even buy a separate renter's policy.
Your homeowner's policy almost certainly will not cover contents in off-campus housing. You will most likely need to buy a separate renter's policy. Some policies will let roommates share the policy. Renter's policies are affordable, with annual premiums running $150 to $200 for coverage of $15,000 in personal property and $100,000 to $300,000 in liability.
Health insurance. First, find out what coverage your own medical policy will provide for your child, particularly if your child is going to school out of state. It may not cover anything but emergency care. If the policy will still cover your child for routine care, he or she may need to switch to a primary care physician closer to school, or you may need to get local referrals for your student's out-of-state care.
Reprinted with the permission of College Parents of America. © 2007 CollegeParents.org
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