Before heading to college or sending a child off to college, there is a lot to think about: there’s financial planning, touring the campus (even if it’s only virtually this year), and of course, potentially meeting roommates and decorating the dorm room.
As you open this exciting chapter, don’t forget to take advantage of any available savings on your insurance for college students and update your policies. Think of it this way: If the college to-do list was a syllabus, getting your insurance needs in order would be one of your first assignments.
Insurance for College Students: Home and Renters
Parents may not be aware that homeowners insurance can extend some protection to their children going away to college. Approximately 10% of the personal property coverage on your policy (also known as “Coverage C”) will cover possessions in a child’s dorm room. “So, if the Coverage C on your policy was $250,000, $25,000 would be afforded to your child’s stuff if a covered loss were to occur,” said Emily Buckley, AAA Northeast lead insurance agent in Garden City, N.Y.
Expensive items such as computers and other electronics are often subject to coverage limits under a standard homeowners policy. If the limits are too low, parents may want to consider purchasing a special personal property endorsement.
If you are a student living off-campus, consider purchasing renters insurance, not only to safeguard you and your belongings, but to protect you from liability in the event that someone gets injured on the property. It may also provide funds in case a dorm room or apartment becomes uninhabitable because of a fire, pipe burst or other debilitating circumstance.
- Pack thoughtfully. While some valuables, such as laptops, may be needed on campus, other items like expensive jewelry might be best left at home.
- Create a detailed “dorm inventory” that includes photos and receipts of everything in your living space. If you need to file a claim, an up-to-date inventory will help make the process easier.
- Burglaries make up about 50% of all on-campus crimes, and the library, dining hall and other public places are the primary areas where they occur, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- Always lock your dorm room door and never leave belongings unattended on campus.
Insurance for College Students: Auto
Auto insurance coverage depends on where you attend college. If you commute or stay at college in your home state and remain on your parents’ policy, coverage likely still applies. If you attend an out-of-state school, make sure your insurance coverage follows you. Check with your insurance provider to ensure minimum coverage requirements are met in the state you are in.
Parents with college students 100 miles or farther away, may qualify for the student away discount on their auto insurance policy that some companies offer; if the child does not have their own vehicle with them and only drives the family car when they come home, your rate is lowered because they are no longer as much of a risk. Students that maintain a B or higher grade average may also be eligible for a good student discount.
To see what discounts you may qualify for and to ensure you have adequate coverage while at school, contact your insurance agent. “Any life event is the perfect time to give your agent a call to review and assess if any changes can be made to your policy to better protect you and your family, all the while saving you as much money as possible,” said Buckley.
Car Care at College Tips From AAA
Whether you need to drive your car many miles to an out-of-state school or are commuting back and forth every day, it’s a good idea to keep your car well-maintained and running smoothly to help avoid any risks on the road.
- Check your tires at least once a month using a tire pressure gauge.
- Regular upkeep such as oil changes, battery service, brake checks and filter replacements help extend the life of your car and helps mitigate repair cost. Check your owner’s manual to get to know your car’s maintenance schedule.
- Find a trusted repair shop near your school. Visit AAA.com/Repair to locate nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
- Breakdowns and other roadside emergencies happen. Make sure your vehicle has a well-stocked roadside emergency kit. In areas with winter ice and snow, add an ice scraper, snow brush and kitty litter or other material to increase traction if you get stuck in the snow. Emergency roadside assistance is available 24/7 for AAA members.
There are a variety of reasons why a student may need to pause or stop going to college. Tuition insurance can provide reimbursement for non-refundable expenses like tuition payments, housing and even meal fees for students who need to leave school before the end of the semester for reasons which could include any covered illness, injury or psychological condition.
Insurance coverage may differ by state. Speak to a AAA Insurance agent to learn more about how you or the college student in your life can save on insurance.