College-Bound Should Hit the Books on Insurance

Here’s why it’s important to research renters, car and health insurance—the policies young adults may need as they head off to college.

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by NEA Member Benefits

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Children living away from home at college might not be covered by their parents’ property, auto or health insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It will pay to look into the details of the family insurance coverage before fall classes begin.

The summer weeks are a good time to do some homework on the kind of insurance coverage that college-bound students will need for the coming school year.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) strongly urges young adults—and their parents—to get smart about insurance. For insurance tips, NAIC suggests going to www.insureuonline.org.

Parents do not need the unpleasant surprise of an insurance claim that is denied because their child is not properly covered, NAIC said. The Association recommends that parents carefully review their homeowner’s, auto and health insurance policies to determine what is—and what is not—covered for college-bound children.

Renters insurance

Whether students live in college housing or rent off-campus apartments/houses, they will likely have valuables—such as a computer, TV, stereo and/or video game system—that could be stolen or destroyed in a fire or natural disaster.

Parents should check their homeowner’s policy to see whether it will cover a college student’s possessions. Furthermore, if students live in an off-campus apartment or house, parents should consider purchasing renter’s insurance through their existing homeowner’s insurance provider.

Auto insurance

If a college student is going to be using a family vehicle while at home, parents should make sure the child is listed by name on the family’s auto insurance policy.

If the student will be taking a family car with them to school, parents should check the specific rates for the college’s city and state before deciding whether to keep their child on the family’s auto policy.

Parents should also consider raising the policy’s deductible and only allowing their child to drive the family’s oldest, least expensive car. In addition, parents might consider purchasing an older car for their child and forgoing comprehensive and collision insurance on that vehicle. 

Health insurance

Under current law, children can be covered under their parents’ health insurance plans until they reach 26 years of age.

While students are away at college, it is important to check whether the campus health facility, local physicians and hospitals accept the family’s insurance coverage. If not, it might be advisable to purchase a student insurance plan through the college.

Be sure the student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards and knows the procedure about obtaining referrals and approvals before seeking treatment.

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