As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, all over America the latest migration of students prepares to descend on college campuses. Depending on whether your student is facing year one or is farther along the higher education highway, their individual stress levels may range from sheer terror to borderline boredom. For you, concerns may be running the gamut from empty nest issues to "How are we going to pay for this?"
Not that we want to add any wood to the mental and emotional fires, but college-bound season is also the perfect time to schedule a session with your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent.
College raises a plethora of insurance issues that are far better addressed prior to departure than after. Here are just a few questions to consider:
How will your home insurance cover a personal property loss at college? While in your day packing for school may have meant a few boxes and one large suitcase, moving day on today's campuses typically involves trucks and trailers. How much will your student be carting off to his or her dorm or apartment? Will it be properly covered for such losses as theft or fire under your current coverage or will adequate coverage require endorsements or even a separate policy?
Will your student be taking a car to college? If so, who owns it? Where will it be garaged? Who will be driving it? Should you change the location address for that vehicle on your current policy to the school location? What affect on your current policy will such a change have—good, bad or indifferent? If your student has roommates with cars, how will your current auto policy work if there is an accident while they are using your student's car? Or when your student is using their cars?
Will your student be living on or off campus? In a dorm, apartment or rented house? All of these variables, especially for older students, can have an impact on your current protection and dictate a need for modifying your policy or purchasing a new one. For many insurance companies, there are also underwriting and coverage considerations based upon how many roommates will share your student's humble abode.
What about liability protection? Yours as well as that of your student? There are a multitude of liability issues that may arise from a family member living elsewhere. Some are common to any such arrangement; others are unique to college students and their parents. Even for students who are otherwise of legally independent age, when can parents still face liability for the student's actions while away?
How will your current health insurance apply at college? Will there be "in-network" professionals and facilities available locally? Does the college have its own infirmary, pharmacy or hospital facilities, and will your current plan cover their services? Are there student insurance plans available, especially for certain activities such as organized sports—and is it advisable to take advantage of them, regardless of your current coverage? Are there eligibility issues to keep in mind, especially if your student is older, is disabled, gets a full-time job or gets married?
The good news is these are not isolated issues, but simply questions faced by every parent and student as the college years begin. The great news is they also are handled regularly by your Trusted Choice agent, and he or she will be happy to sit down with you and your student to provide answers, advice and options. You may discover your current coverages respond to all or the vast majority of your concerns, and little need be done. If action is needed to assure your current protection will be there at time of need, you and your agent can make those choices at the best possible time—now, before that need arises.
Congratulations to your and your student as you together pursue a great future! It will be a rewarding, but sometimes wild ride! Be sure to take your Trusted Choice agent along.