When sending a child off to college, the checklists (and the costs) seem never-ending. Between tuition, textbooks, rent, bedding, housewares, and luggage, many parents forget insurance.
Insurance needs are often overlooked in the last-minute scramble. But relying on existing coverage – or a lack of it – can end up costing families during the college years and perhaps beyond. While parents don’t necessary need additional or specialty coverage for a child going to college, it is important to review their current policies to ensure they are covered.
Auto Insurance Review
Think twice about sending your child to college with a car. For students who attend college more than 100 miles away and don’t own a car, the family premiums may be reduced by up to 20 percent. Most college campus’ provide a more-than-adequate bus and shuttle system that make cars virtually unnecessary. If your child does have a car of their own, inform the insurance provider of the move because the location may impact your premium.
Property Insurance Review
Students generally have at least a cell phone, iPod, laptop and maybe a gaming system in their dorm room. These are all theft targets, but they are generally covered by the parents' homeowners insurance. It is important to review the policy and be sure the student’s property is covered. Keep an inventory of what is taken to the student’s dorm room. Anyone living off-campus will need to get a separate renters insurance policy to cover personal belongings.
Life Insurance Review
Life insurance on a student may seem silly because the student is not providing an income or supporting dependents, but for parents who co-sign on student loans, it might be worth thinking about. If your student were to become disabled or pass away with outstanding loans, the co-signer may be held liable to repay the loan. In this instance, life insurance on your student may be worth the additional cost at least until the loans are paid off.
Health Insurance Review
Many colleges and universities require health insurance for students. Today, most parents can keep children on their plan until age 26 but it is important to make sure that your network has preferred providers near your child’s college campus. School-sponsored health plans are usually available, but are more expensive than general health insurance plans. These are best-suited for the many students whose parents don't have health insurance.