Before heading to college or sending a child off to school, there is a lot to think about: there’s financial planning, touring the campus, 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 technology 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.
Students living off-campus should consider purchasing renters insurance, which covers belongings and provides protection from liability if someone is injured on the property. It may also provide funds if a dorm room or apartment becomes uninhabitable because of a fire, burst pipe or other debilitating circumstance.
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- Pack thoughtfully. While some valuables, such as laptops, may be needed on campus, other items like expensive jewelry are probably better 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. Check with your insurance provider to ensure minimum coverage requirements are met.
Parents who have kids attending school 100 miles or farther away could qualify for the student-away discount on their auto insurance policy that some companies offer. A young adult who doesn’t own a vehicle and drives the family car only when home is considered a lower risk, hence a lower rate. Full-time students who maintain at least a B (3.0) average or equivalent 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 you or your child is 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 driving many miles to an out-of-state school or 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 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 costs. 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.
Learn about student loan options and how you can save with AAA.
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.