The parents of college students moving to on-campus or off-campus housing should review their insurance policies to make sure their children’s personal possessions are covered while they are away at school, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Before a child heads off to college the I.I.I. recommends taking the following steps:
- Create a ‘dorm inventory’—a list of items the student plans to bring to school, along with its estimated value. To make this process easier, the I.I.I. has created free Web-based software, available at KnowYourStuff.org. Be sure to note specific high-value items such as a computer, camera or musical instrument and scan receipts into the system in order to document their retail value. Having an up-to-date inventory can help determine how much insurance to purchase and get insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, fire or other types of disasters.
- Contact your insurance agent or company representative—college is a major life event that may trigger the need for changes in insurance coverage, so ask about the insurance implications of a son or daughter becoming a full-time student and determine if supplemental insurance is needed. And, don’t forget to ask about discounts or ways to reduce costs.
Other Coverages to Consider
- Auto Insurance: If the student has been driving the family car and will now be away at college, at least 100 miles from home, make sure you let your insurance company know. You may be eligible for a discount on your auto insurance. If your son or daughter has their own car, it is very important to let your insurance company know if the car will be at school or left home, as the cost of the insurance will be based on where the car resides. Many auto insurance companies will also give a discount to students who get good grades at school.
- Tuition Insurance: This coverage refunds a significant portion of semester tuition and on-campus room and board when a student withdraws at any time during a to a covered medical reason, including emotional, nervous or mental disorders or the death of the student. There is no coverage if the student voluntarily withdraws from school. Student loans used to pay for college costs can also be covered by the policy. Tuition insurance is available to students through participating colleges and universities, including some graduate programs, and is provided by third-party insurers; these policies cost anywhere from 1 percent to 3 percent of tuition per semester. The average tuition cost for U.S. private schools in 2010 was $27,293 per year, according to the College Board, a nonprofit organization that keeps track of higher education information.