Review Coverage for College Students. (Insurance)

Article excerpt

Students heading off to college, especially for the first time, face many insurance issues they or their parents may not have considered, the Financial Planning Association, Denver, Colo., cautions:

Renter's insurance is probably the most-overlooked form of coverage when a student heads for college. Students today tend to own more valuable personal items in their dorm or off-campus apartment than in the past, and campuses are not immune to theft or damage. The Independent Insurance Agents of America estimates 100,000 property crimes occur on campuses annually. (That doesn't count off-campus crimes.) Beyond clothing and bedding, a student's room may contain a DVD player, television, computer, and stereo equipment. Students in apartments will likely have additional items such as kitchenware and furnishings.

The school or landlord will not cover loss of these contents in such events as fire or theft. The parents' homeowner's policy may or may not include the items. For students living in college housing, policies usually take care of contents up to 10% of the coverage of the parents' policy. For example, if the parents are covered for $75,000, the student is limited to $7,500. See whether your policy will cover contents and to what dollar maximum. You may need to buy extra coverage through your carrier or even buy a separate renter's policy.

On the other hand, your homeowner's policy probably will not cover contents in off-campus housing. You will most likely need to buy a separate renter's policy. Some policies will let roommates share the policy. Renter's policies are affordable, with annual premiums running $150 to $200 for coverage of $15,000 in personal property and $100,000 to $300,000 in liability.

Health insurance. First, find out what coverage your own medical policy will provide for your child, particularly if he or she is going to school out of state. It may not cover anything but emergency care. If the policy will still cover your child for routine care, it may require the student to switch to a primary care physician closer to where he or she is going to school, or you may need to get local referrals for his or her out-of-state care. …