Insurance Tips to Protect College Students and Parents
Austin, TX — If yours is among the nine million U. S. households sending students off to college this year,
you need to ensure your planning has included the all-too-often forgotten subject of insurance, according
to the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT).
“More than 80 percent of students may not have enough insurance to protect them from property loss or
liability,” says IIAT Executive Director, David VanDelinder. In addition, one-in-seven students has
inadequate or no health insurance.
“Parents should take a few minutes to talk to their insurance agent about these issues before sending kids off to college away from home,” says VanDelinder. Below are tips college students and their parents
Student Property and Liability Insurance Issues
The typical homeowners policy may provide some protection for college student’s property and personal
liability exposures away from home. The student must be considered an “insured” under the terms of the
policy and be a legal resident of the family household. However, there may instances where a student
doesn’t meet this legal test, such as a 23-year-old graduate student living in an apartment year-round.
Other policies indicate students under the age of 24 are covered only if they are enrolled in school full
time. However, fluctuations in class offerings each semester, as well as work schedules, often cause
students to end up carrying fewer hours than required by the school to be classified as “full-time.”
Therefore, a college student might be insured one semester and not insured the next semester.
Another potential problem is the small amount of insurance that may be available to cover a loss. Virtually
all homeowners policies cover personal property away from the main residence – usually 10 percent of
the personal property covered inside the home. For example, if the policy provides a limit of $100,000 on
personal property in the home, then only $10,000 is available to cover personal property of a college
student living on campus. Also, some policies won’t pay when property is stolen while a student is away
or living at home for the summer.
“Contrary to what some might think, a typical renter’s insurance policy can be pretty affordable,” says
VanDelinder. “Parents and college bound students should calculate the value of the property they will
bring them, whether it’s a new lap top, stereo or other valuables.” For a cost of about $100 to $150 a year
a student can get $15,000 in personal property coverage and about $100,000 in liability protection.
Student Auto Insurance Issues
While there are obvious exposures when a child takes a car to college, there can be a dangerous
coverage gap for students who don’t have a car at college, according to VanDelinder.
“It goes without saying that just because a kid does not take a car with them to college does not mean
they won’t be driving or occupying a car. Whether they borrow a friend’s car or just ride around as a
passenger, coverage for the student on the family auto insurance policy depends once again on the issue
of residency.” A policy which covers just the exposures related to driving or riding in someone else’s car is
called a Named Non-Owner Auto Policy.
It’s best to first determine with your agent how the auto will be rated, which could be higher or lower
depending on policies rated either in the college town or home territory location. The student may also
qualify for a Good Student or Driver Training Discount or be able to lower his or her rates by increasing
Call on us anytime. We’re here to help!
Michelle Haddox / Bill Haddox Insurance.com