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What to Ask Your Insurance Agent Before Your Kid Goes to College

When students head to college in the fall, they will be taking more than a backpack full of fresh pens and pads of paper. They will be armed with technology must-haves, furniture, clothing, and everything it takes to get through a school year away from home. As a parent, you can help protect them with the right insurance coverage so they can focus on what really matters this school year. We had an agent answer the most common questions about insurance for college students.

Q. How can we protect my child’s belongings when they are away at school?

A. If your child is living on campus, their belongings may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Depending on what they are bringing to school, take an inventory (ideally with photos) and keep your receipts. If anything is damaged or stolen from their dorm room, it may be covered under your homeowners policy. You can also help them protect their more expensive electronics (like laptops, tablets and cell phones) from electrical surges and mechanical breakdown with residential equipment breakdown insurance.

If your child plans on living off-campus, consider adding renters insurance. It’s a surprisingly affordable way to protect your child’s belongings. Renters insurance will cover the possessions inside their apartment from theft or damage. What it won’t cover is damage to the structure (the apartment building or house they are renting). When looking at off-campus housing, verify the property owner has a policy to cover the structure itself before signing a rental agreement.

Q. Will my auto insurance cover my child when they travel to school?

A. There are a lot of things that factor into auto insurance coverage when your child heads to school, including the distance from home, whether the city or school has public transportation available, and whether they will be living on-campus or off-campus. Your student can still remain on your policy, but you will want to speak to your agent about your auto coverage needs.

Q. Can my student stay on my healthcare plan?

A. Students aren’t always known for making the best health choices when they go to school. Coupled with living in close quarters, not enough sleep, and little exercise, a lot of students find that they feel under the weather more frequently during college. They may need to need to visit the health center or find a local doctor where they attend school.

According to provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), your child can remain on your health insurance plan until the age of 26. Let your insurer know that your child will be going away to school. They may have a list of local healthcare providers that are in-network. Also, be sure that your child has their own health insurance card. Discuss co-pays and other provisions unique to your coverage and have a plan to cover expenses as they arise. It’s a good idea to check with vision and dental insurance as well – often students can take care of these appointments when they are home during breaks (so they don’t need to find providers near the college.)

Q. What other insurance might be necessary for college students?

A. When people live in close quarters (whether a dorm or apartment complex) it can be tough to be vigilant all the time with your confidential information. Identity theft can happen when confidential information is left out, say on a desktop, open laptop or cell phone. Consider adding identity theft protection to your homeowners policy to help prevent ID theft from happening, and resolving it if you or your child do fall victim.

Sending your child to college can be a big adjustment – for both you and your favorite student! Knowing you are covered with the right insurance policy can help make the transition easier for both of you. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent about providing the right protection during college (and beyond).