Student Life

Insurance coverage for your college freshman

By Suzanne Shaffer

As our students get ready for college, what types of insurance do they need?

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High School Parent | College Parent

In addition to health insurance, which is mandatory, consider these options:

Contents (Renters)

Whether your student lives on or off campus, it’s wise to protect him against theft, and this type of insurance costs relatively little, often under $200 for a year’s coverage. If your student lives in a campus residence hall, your homeowners or renters insurance policy may extend to cover his belongings. Most policies limit a student’s coverage to 10% of the parent’s coverage. In other words, if your homeowners policy has a personal property limit of $300,000, your student’s belongings are covered up to $30,000, after the deductible. Consider talking with an insurance representative to better understand the coverage available specific to your student’s living situation. Protect your stuff with Allstate Renters for as low as $4/mo.

Tuition

Provided through a third party, tuition insurance is low cost and will protect you from losing any prepaid tuition if an emergency arises and your student needs to withdraw mid-semester. Individual college refund policies may differ depending on whether the student is receiving financial aid. Before investing in this type of insurance, ask the college about its tuition refund policy. Many colleges send out information about tuition insurance when they mail or e-mail the tuition bill, and refund policies should be readily located on the school website.

Auto

story-icon-bar-convo-3Another tip from Judy McNary: Before your college student leaves home, have her make a photocopy of the items in her wallet. Lay the cards and licenses face down on the copier and then flip them over to capture the information on the back sides. Store this in a secure place.

If your student takes a car to college, you need to alert your insurance company. Depending on where he attends school, you may have to make changes to meet minimum coverage requirements for that state, which in turn may impact your premiums. Even if your student doesn’t take a car, it’s a good idea to keep him on your policy so he can drive during school breaks. Call your agent to see if his living situation qualifies you for a discount.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing concern, and college students are particularly vulnerable due to their online presence and penchant for using unsecured wireless networks to complete financial transactions. To make matters worse, according to a recent survey, young adults aged 18-24 took an average of 132 days to realize they had been affected by identity theft! In addition to considering identify theft insurance, review the identity protection tips below with your student.

Laptop

In addition to contents insurance, you should consider insuring your student’s laptop. Laptop coverage is affordable, often with an annual premium of under $100. The laptop will be covered for accidental damage such as drops and spills as well as theft, fire, flood, natural disasters and lightning strikes. You can also purchase a laptop tracking service that will give you the location if the laptop is lost or stolen.

Protect Your College Student’s Identity

Share these tips from UniversityParent financial expert Judy McNary with your student!

  1. Do not carry your Social Security card with you. Don’t share the number with anyone without knowing why they need it. Many schools assign students identification numbers to reduce access to Social Security numbers.
  2. Do not login to financial accounts on public networks or in public places.
  3. Always log out of financial accounts; don’t wait for them to time out.
  4. Store your laptop in a secure place. Lock your dorm room when you leave.
  5. Shred all offers for credit cards as well as copies of bank statements.
  6. Change passwords regularly and don’t share your password with anyone.
  7. Be careful of peer-to-peer file sharing programs as they may enable someone to access your computer without your knowledge.
  8. Be careful about what you share on social networking sites.
  9. Never loan your driver’s license, credit card, or debit card to anyone.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

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