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Insurance: A Must for College Students

2013-08-20
By: Advocate Brokerage

 

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By Rosalyn Binday

          Your daughter did well on the SATs, aced the interview and is now heading off to her college of choice.  Before your pack up the car and head off to drop her off at his new school, schedule an appointment with your insurance broker.  Now is the time to review your policies to make sure that they cover everything from a stolen laptop to a serious risk such as another student who drinks a beer in your child’s dorm room and then gets in a car accident. 

          Does your insurance cover the theft of your son’s laptop from his dorm room?  What about the expensive watch his grandparents gave him for graduation?  Does he play a musical instrument that is worth a lot of money?

While your homeowner’s policy may cover theft, check what your deductible will be. It may make sense to list these items on a valuables policy, which doesn’t have a deductible. A Personal Articles Floater is ideal for more expensive items that have values which exceed a homeowner’s policy.  There is no deductible for this policy, which offers separate protection for expensive items that are appraised and insured for their full value.

If your child will live off campus, it is essential for him to have renter’s insurance, which is very affordable.  The average rental insurance policy is around $150 per year.  This will cover any damage to the apartment or its contents.  You don’t want a lawsuit from a landlord that ultimately holds you responsible for damage to a rental unit that is under your name. 

          Even if your child is not bringing a car to college, it’s probably required that you continue to carry him on your auto insurance.  He may drive your car when he is home for vacation.  Or she may borrow a friend’s car at school. Either way, your college student is still a part of your household, and you need to be protected in the event of an accident.

          If you don’t have an umbrella policy, perhaps now is the time to speak to your insurance agent about its benefits.  Ask yourself if your job or accumulated wealth makes you the target for a lawsuit.

The New York Times reported in a 2010 article entitled “Choosing Insurance for College Life” that a family was sued because their son was working at a party where a student drank too much and accidentally fell down a flight of stairs and died.  The lawyers singled out the student whose family had money even though he had not served the other student a drink.  Pranks and parties can mean liability for parents.

          An umbrella policy starts when the liability on an auto policy or applicable homeowners policy is exceeded.  The umbrella can provide anywhere from $1 million to $20 million in extra coverage, and the extra protection from such a policy is well worth the cost.

Parents should also make sure that their college student is covered for identity theft. Young people are often the victims of identity theft because they don’t check their credit information on a daily basis. In addition, often the cards are issued to the parents not the child.  Check with your insurance agent if your homeowner’s policy covers identify theft.

          Insurance provides peace of mind.  Send your child off to college knowing that both of you are well protected.  We’re here at Advocate Brokerage to answer your questions and provide you with the best solutions. 

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