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Back to School Insurance Risks

With a busy school year in sight and new insurance risks on the horizon, now is a great time to make sure your insurance policies are up to snuff.

With a busy school year in sight and new insurance risks on the horizon, now is a great time to make sure your insurance policies are up to snuff. Talk to your insurance agent about any big changes in your life before the first bell rings. Here are a few scenarios that could apply to you.

Joey wants to bring a car to college

While cars give students the freedom to get to off-campus jobs or go home for the weekend, there are downsides. For starters, it costs money – money many college students don’t have. Aside from fees for long-term parking, students will pay for gas and oil changes. Drivers younger than 25 also spend more on auto insurance because they are considered more likely to be involved in a crash. Plus, many colleges do not let freshmen bring cars to school. If your child decides against it, talk to your insurance agent. You can save money by removing the child from your policy or by making them what’s called an “occasional driver.” If they do drive, ask about discounts for students with good grades.

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I shuttle the neighborhood kids to school

Driving a carload of kids to school is a big responsibility. “If you’re going to be doing that on a regular basis, you should review the bodily injury liability limits on your auto policy and consider an umbrella policy,” said Chris Wukovits, an insurance manager for AAA Northeast, who shuttled his kids and their teammates to games as a basketball coach. If you’re responsible for a crash, bodily injury liability can help pay for injuries to others as well as legal fees. An umbrella policy is added coverage that kicks in when the liability limits on another policy are reached.

Tina’s laptop was stolen from the campus library

Some homeowners, renters and condo policies offer off-premises theft coverage, which could help Tina recoup her loss in this scenario. But not all policies include this protection. For example, in several New York counties, off-premises theft coverage is very expensive, so it’s optional, Wukovits said. Talk to your insurance agent to learn how your child’s belongings would be protected at college. Typically, parents’ homeowners, renters or condo coverage would protect a child’s possessions at school from fire, water and other perils named in the policy. But there’s a limit – usually 10 percent of the personal property coverage for the parents’ main residence, Wukovits said.

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