Kimberly Schwind wrote recently an article in the Inquirer titled What Type of Insurance Does Your College Kid Need. Her tips and insights are useful and something we summarize here for our college parents audience below. Indeed, the data from the National Center for Education Statistics reports on the risks within and surrounding college life are very real.

Here are some of the recommendations that Schwind suggests college families consider:

Dorms: Students living in dorms typically have most personal possessions covered through their parents’ homeowners insurance or renters insurance policies. However, expensive items, such as computers and other electronics, might be subject to coverage limits. (footnote from CPA – high deductibles and the potential for increasing premiums following a claim on a home insurance policy is why we strongly recommend college students purchase a renters insurance policy.)

Off-Campus Housing: Those living off-campus will no longer be covered by their parents’ policies. These students need a separate renters insurance policy to cover their belongings and protect them from liability if someone is injured on the property.

Vehicles: Parents’ auto insurance policies may or may not cover a college student’s car. At minimum, you’ll need to update the garaging location. Discounts may be available for students with good grades or those attending school more than 100 miles away and leaving their car at home.

Safe-guarding belongings

Burglaries make up about 50 percent of all on-campus crimes, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Creating an inventory of all belongings with estimated values can help a student determine how much coverage to buy and will serve as an easy-to-use record in the event of a loss.

It’s also important for students to proactively safeguard their belongings from theft:

  • Lock doors: Even if it’s just a trip down the hall.
  • Leave expensive jewelry at home: It’s not worth risking losing those items to a thief.
  • Engrave electronic items: Engraving laptops, tablets, televisions and other electronic equipment with an easy-to-remember identifying number can help police track them if they’re stolen.
  • Don’t leave belongings unattended: This is especially true for laptops, phones and tablets.
  • Remain alert: If out after dark, walk-in well-lit areas with other people around. When possible, walk with a friend.”

In addition to these property and personal liability risks, College Parents of America recommends families also consider:

Student Health Insurance:

Adult students are eligible to remain on a family health insurance policy, however, when a policy may not be available it is smart for college families to also consider the student medical insurance plan offered through their college or university. These plans typically coordinate primary care with also medical insurance required for serious illnesses and injuries. Take note to avoid paying twice for health insurance. If you have coverage for your family, you and your student can avoid being billed twice by waiving off coverage that may be required by your college or university.

Tuition Insurance

Most schools do not provide refunds to students if they have to withdraw from classes due to an illness, injury or other hardship like the death of a parent. As a result, it is important for families to understand the refund policy of the school and to calculate the potential financial loss to their family. Given that college is often the second largest investment families lives, it is prudent to consider tuition insurance. Remember – that tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the start of each semester. If your school does not provide 100% refunds, then be sure to ask your college for the option to purchase tuition insurance.

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