Preparing for Adulthood! Important information for parents of teens 18 and older.

By: Advocate Brokerage

Once your child turns 18, in the eyes of the law they are legally an adult and in charge of their own life. The specifics of what that really means can sometimes take you by surprise and since we like educating each client we serve, we thought we would put together some information to help you prepare your teens for Adulthood.
There are a few pieces of legal documentation that you need to have in place so that you can have some peace of mind in the event of an emergency.
First up: The Medical Forms
Health Care Proxy/Medical Power Of Attorney
Medically speaking health care providers are no longer authorized to give parents details about the specifics of your 18+ child’s care unless you have the proper documentation in place.
One of the first items you need to discuss with your teen is getting some paperwork in place so you are designated as their Medical Power Of Attorney or Health Care Proxy. A Health Care Proxy or Medical Power Of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to make informed medical decisions on your child’s behalf if they should become medically incapacitated. If you don’t have a healthcare power of attorney in place, it is the doctors that will be the ones who will make decisions about care.
Important notes about a Health Care Proxy Form:
  • Be sure to have your child fill out the form with you. As you fill out the form, let them know that they can give you as much or as little authorization as they feel comfortable with.
  • If your child is going away to school in another state, you will need to fill out the form in both states to avoid any possible complications.
HIPAA Release
Another important document to get ready before your child heads off to college is a HIPAA Release. t to get ready before your child heads off to college is a HIPAA Release. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and it allows for health care providers to share medical information to specific designated people (parents, family members, or friends). If you have a signed HIPAA Release on file, it is like having a permission slip. Your child’s healthcare providers will know that it is OK to share information with you.
It is important to get this documentation ready now, before any medical emergency occurs. If your child is involved in an accident while they are away at school, you will not be able to find out any details over the phone UNLESS you have a HIPAA Release on file.
Remind your teen that the HIPAA release does not have to include everything. Your child can dictate what information they want released to you so make the time to sit down and have the conversation now, before they go away so that in the event of an emergency you can have peace of mind.
Second on the list: The legal documents
General Power of Attorney
While the Health Care Proxy (Medical Power Of Attorney) will allow you to step in and help when it comes to health care related choices, if you are going to make financial transactions on behalf of your child, you may need to put another important document in place, a power of attorney. A General Power Of Attorney will allow your child to give authority to another person when it comes to financial and legal decisions. It is a good idea to have a conversation about signing General Power Of Attorney for your teen if you feel they will need you to make financial or legal decisions on their behalf. With this document in place, you will be able to: manage bank accounts, file taxes, sign or break a lease.
Next Up: Let’s talk about auto insurance for college students
Auto Insurance
Another thing you should take some time to evaluate is their car insurance coverage. When it comes to car insurance for a child who is in college, the first thing to do is check the school’s policy on students having cars on campus as a freshman as many schools limit the number of drivers on campus. Once you are familiar with the school’s policies you can make your final decision as to if they will be taking their car with them to school or leaving it at home.
If your child WILL BE LIVING ON CAMPUS WITH THEIR CAR, be sure you let us know. There are a few circumstances where amending the garaging address of the car could mean a lower premium. For example, if your family currently lives in an urban area with high insurance rates and your child is going to school in a rural area in the same state, there may be a benefit to amending the garaging address because the insurance will be less expensive. For example, if you live in Westchester and your child is attending Cornell in Ithaca, it is less expensive to utilize their new address.
If they WILL HEAD TO SCHOOL WITHOUT A CAR, there may be adjustments that can be made to your insurance policy that will lower the premium. While you cannot remove them from your policy, they are still a member of your household even if they are no longer living under your roof while away at school. Your insurance carrier will require them to continue to be listed on your auto policy, but there is a special classification which lowers the premium for students over 100 miles away at school without a car. So, it’s important to call us so we can discuss your child’s specific situation.
Money saving tip from your insurance advocate:
Some carriers offer discounts if students maintain a specific GPA while attending school up to a specific age, typically 21 or 25. The grades required and the amount of the discount will vary by carrier so please get in touch with us to find out the specifics for your family.
For parents of recent High School Graduates, Congratulations! We hope this blog offered some valuable information to help you through this exciting time in your child’s life!! Our goal is to offer some peace and help you avoid making a stressful situation worse.

One Final Thought: Learn More About The World Of Insurance Property & Casualty Insurance 101

We believe in educating each client we serve. If you have an adult child who is leaving college and heading out on their own, we would love to help them learn more about the world of insurance and perhaps give you some peace of mind. We have a blog we’d love to share called Property & Casualty Insurance 101 which covers the basics of home and auto insurance. We invite you share the link with them. Or better yet, put them in touch with us! We’d love to assist them as they continue their journey into adulthood!

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