Your child has graduated from high school and is headed off to college. What is a bittersweet but exciting time for your new graduate could be a little bit nerve-wracking for you. For the first time, your child—now a young adult--is going to have a new level of responsibility.
You are confident that you’ve done everything to teach your kid to make smart decisions and act responsibly. Still, there’s that small doubt about the temptations of college life and how your young adult will respond to the influences of others. Almost every college student makes mistakes, and you want yours to be protected.
From a financial standpoint, the solution to your dilemma is ensuring that you have the right insurances in place to protect you and your college student from losses.
Here are some options that could offer you the peace of mind you need.
Auto Insurance and College Students
College students are still relatively inexperienced drivers. Simply put, a campus filled with younger drivers means increased risk for accidents. Here are some things to consider about auto insurance for your college student.
Will your college student be able to have a car during freshman year?
On many campuses, first-year students who live on campus are prohibited from having a parking space allotted. If this rule applies at your kid’s college, you should still list them on your auto coverage while they are away at college.
What are your liability limits?
Liability coverage shields you if an injury or damage arises from a car accident. States mandate this coverage, but in most cases, the state minimum requirement is insufficient coverage. Increase your liability limits to the maximum you can afford to ensure you are covered if your college student does cause an accident.
This coverage provides bodily injury liability or the cost of medical expenses or lost wages of those involved in the accident. It also includes property damage liability, which pays the cost of repairing the other party’s vehicle or for other property damage.
Get under the umbrella
Finally, add an umbrella insurance policy that adds an extra layer of cushioning for your family. This coverage extends your liability if an accident maxes out your liability coverage.
Protect Their Belongings
You might also be concerned with the security of the new college student’s belongings once out from under your roof.
In most cases, your homeowner’s policy will offer a sufficient amount of protection for “offsite personal property.” These are the items they take to their dorm room.
The level of protection that’s typically offered is based on a percentage of your contents coverage. It looks something like this.
Your homeowner’s policy includes coverage for up to $100,000 in contents coverage and provides for 10 percent of the total coverage for offsite contents. This gives your college student $10,000 of protection for their belongings.
Also, the student has the benefit of being covered under the liability portion of the parents’ homeowners policy. This protection covers your family member from damages if a friend or visitor to your child’s apartment has a slip and fall accident while they are away at college.
There is one caveat with homeowners insurance in these situations. The student must reside at the parents’ home primarily. In other words, they must be residing away from home temporarily (during the school terms) and live with you for the rest of the year. So, students who have moved out of the family home already will need to secure their own coverage.
Personal injury coverage
It’s also advisable for parents to add personal injury coverage to their existing homeowners’ policy when they have a child heading off to college. This additional plan protects from claims of defamation, libel, and slander.
Is your college student on social media continuously? Little do they probably know that they could be setting themselves up in a potentially sticky situation. Social media comments, even opinions, can be considered libel in some states. Even if your child does not mean malicious harm to another person, the legal fees could mount quickly in such a case.
Your local insurance agent is your family’s best resource for this coverage—and will know more about specifics in your state.
Your child’s now a young adult who is about to venture off and explore the world away from your watchful eye. While you can’t be there with them, you can protect them by providing insurance that will help keep them on the fast track to a successful college career.