Insuring your college student should be at the top of your preparation list. Sending a child off to college is a significant milestone that represents the culmination of years of planning and hard work. As you prepare for the start of the semester, you should consider how your insurance needs may change with your son or daughter away at school.
Protecting Your Student’s Belongings
Many homeowner’s policies consider a dorm room as an extension of your home, so items your child keeps there may be covered to some extent. However, if your child has expensive electronic equipment or furniture, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.
If your child lives off-campus, insuring your college student may require an update. His or her possessions may not be covered by your homeowner’s policy. In that case, you may want to consider renter’s insurance, which costs as little as $15 per month. Renter’s insurance will cover possessions in your child’s off-campus apartment or house as well as provide liability coverage if anyone is injured in the residence.
Keeping Your Child Healthy While on Campus
Many students can stay on their parent’s health plans if they are full-time students. However, restrictions vary greatly by state, and coverage could be even more complicated if your child is attending an out-of-state school.
If you find your child doesn’t have coverage under your plan, you have a few options. Most colleges have their own health plans, but some policies have high deductibles and low coverage maximums. A few don’t offer any coverage for conditions present before entering the school, so be sure to examine plans carefully. Otherwise, you may want to consider an individual policy for your child. As a college student, you have a variety of plan options, and it is in your best interest to examine the benefits and drawbacks of each one:
- Parents’ Health Insurance Plan: Individuals up to age 26 who are not eligible for group coverage outside their parents’ plan are entitled to coverage on their parents’ plan. This can be a convenient option because all billing and claims are handled by your parents. However, if you attend school in a different state, your coverage levels may drop, and it may be more expensive than other coverage options.
- School-sponsored Health Insurance Plan: Many schools offer insurance plans for full-time students. They tend to be relatively affordable and convenient, as medical services are often available on campus. However, the plan may not cover services you receive off campus and may have limits in the coverage. This plan also will drop your coverage if you graduate or drop below full-time student status.
- Student Health Insurance Plan: Full-time students ages 17-29 at a state-accredited college are eligible. One major advantage is that coverage travels with you if you go to school in a different state. But, it may be more expensive than individual health coverage, may not be available in your state and you may be declined based on your medical history.
- Individual Health Insurance Plan: Most states offer several affordable options with a range of benefit options, and the biggest advantage is that you can keep this coverage after you graduate or drop credit hours. One downfall is that medical claims may not be paid at the highest level when at home if your family lives in another state, and you could be declined coverage based on your medical history.
How to Make the Best Decision for Insuring Your College Student
In order to choose the plan that is best suited to you and your situation, consider the following criteria:
1. Health Benefits: Make sure you know what benefits each plan you’re considering offers. Buy only what is important to you, but don’t skimp on benefits that you truly need.
2. Costs: Consider which plans match your budget in terms of premium, deductible, copayments and coinsurance.
3. Physician Network: If you have a preferred doctor, make sure to check which plans include him or her in their physician network.
4. Brand: Are there brand-name carriers that you prefer or would like to avoid?
Changing Auto Coverage
If your child moves more than 100 miles away from your home to attend school and doesn’t keep a vehicle there, your auto insurance premiums could decrease by as much as 30 percent. Call us today at 863.802.9600, and see if you can save money while still maintaining coverage for your child when he or she is at home.
Insurance Questions to Ask
Here are some important questions to ask when your child goes to college:
- Will my child’s belongings be covered if he or she lives in off-campus housing?
- Do I have to change my auto policy if my child brings the car to school?
- If my child is an athlete, will he or she be covered under my family health plan if he or she is injured during a practice or game?
We’re Here to Help
If you are sending a child off the college and haven’t looked at adjusting your coverage, contact us today to learn more. You could save money on your policies and protect your child from expensive incidents while away from home.