The process of preparing to send a child off to college can be daunting. There are a seemingly endless number of things to accomplish in addition to the emotional issues involved. As parents, we need to make sure our insurance program provides adequate coverage to protect our child. Relying on existing coverage-or a lack of it-can end up costing families during the college years and perhaps beyond.
We don't need to buy all kinds of additional insurance as we pack our child off to college. But we do need to review the coverage to know whether they're prepared for that stolen iPad, trip to the emergency room, or worse. Your insurance agent is a ready resource to assist in that review.
Although the needs of each situation can vary widely, here are several key considerations for different types of insurance:
Many colleges and universities require health insurance for the students. Most parents can meet this by keeping their children on their group healthplan, which allows children to remain on the plan until age 26.
If the college is in a distant location, its important to check that your plan's network of preferred doctors and hospitals extends there.Otherwise there may be out of network penalties or limitations to the coverage. You should be able to get a list of the preferred providers from your carriers's website, or call your agent or HR representativefor assistance.
School sponsored health plans can cost hundreds of dollars per semester. They may also place lower dollar caps on coverage. Plus, they may require that most care be provided through the student medical center. It may be a much better alternative to purchase an individual plan for that student. A student should be able to obtain a policy that costs less than $ 150.00 a month. You can review plans through your agent's website. Even if your child has left for school, you can still purchase a health plan for them.
Car insurance is an area wher families can actually save money.
Most carriers have a Student Away Discount that reduces the charge for a full time college student who attends a university over 100 road miles from their residence, and do not have a car with them on campus. The Good Student Discount your child earned in high school should also be available for them in college.
It is always a good idea to keep your agent informed on issues like a child going away to college. Yor agent can make sure you are getting the proper discounts and have the proper coverage in place. This is especially ture if your child takes a car with them to the campus. You as titleholder are still responsible for the vehicle.
It is not unusual for students to have thousands of dollars of electronic gadgets and other belongings in their dorm rooms, from laptops and video games to bicycles and musical instruments. And they are popular targets for theft. Be sure to schedule any laptops or items such as these for expanded protection.
These items are typically covered under their parents' homeowners or renters insurance if stolen. However, any reimbursement would be minus applicable deductibles unless scheduled on the policy. Coverage varies, so be sure to inquire about opolicy limits and restrictions.
Keeping receipts, serial numbers, and taking a photograph of each expensive possession can help ensure its proper replacement value if it is stolen.
To protect against such loss, or for extra coverage with a lower deductible, renters insurance is available for usually around $ 150 to $ 200 annually. Deductibles can be as low as $ 100.
Anyone living off campus may need to get a seperate renters policy to cover personal belongings and liability. It is also necessary that roommates get coverage as well. Your child's coverage does not extend to the property or liability protection of their roommates.
Tuition refund insurance is a means of getting your tuition beck if your student withdraws from college-generally only for documented medical reasons or due to the death of the student or a parent or guardian. Much of what it provides is peace of mind. But parents may want to think about buying it if they're paying all the costs at an expensive school, without financial aid, or if the child has a serious medical condition.
First look into the college's refund policies and tuition insurance plan. Another option is to get coverage through Sallie Mae. The nation's largest lender, which provides $ 5,000 of annual tuition protection to borrowers, also sells the insurance seperately. For example, $ 20,000 of tuition coverage costs $ 359 per year.
Buying life insurance for a college student might sound overly cautious, if not morbid. But it can make sense for parents who co-sign for tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Without it, they may owe the amount they have co-signed for if their child were to die. Some lenders may forgive loans for co-signers if the student dies or is permanently disabled. But be sure to ask your lender first and verify that in the loan documents.
Your agent can review and provide a quote for a simple term policy that would cover the student loans for your child. You may even qualify for a multi policy discount with your homeowners and auto policies with some carriers.
For those students traveling abroad, a policy that should be considered is a Travel Policy. Travel insurance can help cover the costs of a semester abroad marred or lost because of illness, accident, theft, or other setbacks. Insurers reimburse for many travel-related emergencies although exclususions of varying degrees exist. Some offer trip cancellation trip cancellation protection for any reason. Check with your college first, and carefully read the fine print of any policy.