Is Your College Student Adequately Insured?

Indian or Middle Eastern college student covered by her parents' homeowners insurance studies in a university library.

Preparing to head off to college is an exciting time filled with dorm room shopping, course selection — and seemingly endless paperwork. With admissions applications, financial aid forms, and housing contracts in your rearview mirror, you may be sighing with relief that you’re finished. But don’t get too comfortable yet. Have you verified that your child is adequately insured under your homeowners and car insurance?

As a parent, it’s crucial to understand what insurance coverage your child may need while they’re away at college to ensure they are protected. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of insurance that may be relevant for your college-bound child to ensure a smooth transition from your home to their new home.

Homeowners insurance

Whether your child is taking a lot of electronics or just a wardrobe full of expensive athleisure, you may wonder if their items are protected while they are away. Here’s what to know depending on where they’re living.

Your child is a resident of university property

It’s always wise to check with your insurer to verify what’s covered, but in general, most insurance companies will cover your child’s belongings as long as they live in a dorm, apartment, or other residence owned by the university.

However, while those items might technically be covered, many homeowners insurance policies come with a hefty deductible of $1,000 or more, which might not make that coverage feel like much of a bargain if your $600 bike goes missing. Sometimes, paying the deductible can wind up costing more than just replacing the item.

That’s why you might want to look into a dorm insurance policy, which is often quite affordable. These policies usually have a much lower deductible, which would make it more worthwhile to tap into for stolen or damaged property. Even better, most dorm insurance covers accidents and water damage, which are common claims for electronics. (Another option is renters insurance, which provides additional coverage that might be more than you need in the dorm — more on that below.)

Even if you decide to rely on your regular homeowners policy for your dorm dweller, consider getting a separate policy for special items, such as cherished jewelry. This policy can protect specific pieces that have been lost, stolen, or damaged.

Your child lives off-campus

When your child moves into a house or apartment off-campus, your homeowners policy is unlikely to cover them, and you should heavily consider renters insurance. Some landlords might even require it as a qualification for the lease. Even if it’s not required, it’s a wise purchase — not only to cover your child’s belongings but also for its other protections.

That’s because renters insurance covers not just personal property, but liability in case someone is injured on the property. Many policies also will cover “additional living expenses” (ALE), which are costs such as temporary housing and food that are associated with being displaced from the property if it needs to be repaired and is uninhabitable for a time.

Car insurance

Car insurance can be a trickier situation, depending on whether your student has a car at school or is just an at-home driver. Here are some highlights of how car insurance may be applicable in each scenario, but always check the details with your own carrier to avoid any unpleasant surprises. 

Your child has a car at school

Many parents opt to keep their college student on their family’s car insurance plan, since it can be cheaper than having them maintain a separate policy. Even though the coverage should remain the same, make sure to let your insurer know that the car is located elsewhere.

There are a couple of breaks you may qualify for. First, while you might assume a “good student discount” only applies to high school drivers, many companies will also offer this break to high-performing college students. In addition, you might see a reduction in rates depending on where you live and where they attend school. If the campus is deemed “less risky” than your current environment — for example, if it’s in a rural area and you live in a busy urban area — the rate you pay to insure your college student could actually go down.

Your child doesn’t have a car at school

As always, you should check on this with your insurance company. In general, though, if your child is enrolled full-time in an educational institution at least 100 miles away (meaning they are unlikely to return home often and drive your car), they can be listed on the policy as a “student away at school” which could reduce your rates. This will allow them to drive the car when they’re home on breaks and could cover them if they borrow their roommate’s car, but the rules can vary by incident on this. A smart strategy is to ask your child not to drive anyone else’s car.

Of course, you also can remove them from your policy, but that could spell trouble when they return home or if they happen to drive a friend’s car. Another factor to note is that if you remove your child from your policy, their future insurance rates may be higher, given the lapse in coverage. 

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Are you wondering if your home and auto insurance will cover your college-bound child?

Use Matic to compare coverage options and find a policy that meets the needs of your changing family.

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This Blog/Vlog/Website is made available by Matic Insurance Services, Inc. for educational and informational purposes only. Matic makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of the information contained herein. Insurance products and services described may not be offered in all states. Eligibility for insurance will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. A Matic Insurance Agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.