Teen is Going to College

The moment’s come. The bags are unpacked, the bed is made, pictures are on the wall, and the snack-shelf is fully stocked. It’s time to say good-bye. And in your stomach, you feel an odd mixture of pride and joy, anxiety, and…sentimentality. Can this bright young college student who is positively vibrating with excitement REALLY be your little one who just learned to walk?

It’s hard to let go.

But as a parent, you’ve spent the last 18 years raising your child to be ready for these first steps into a life of their own. And you did a great job – otherwise, they wouldn’t be here.

Still, you want to make sure they're fully protected as they sail off with their wishes, dreams and hopes.

Eastern Insurance can provide you with guidance on what insurance you'll need and what you won't need for this life altering event. Following are some points to consider when it comes to your college student's insurance needs:

Auto Insurance

You might think that if your student goes away to school and doesn’t take a car, you can drop him from your auto policy and save some extra money. But what if he comes back for Christmas break and wants the car to visit friends? Or, what if he is away at college and his friends ask him to be a "designated driver" one evening?

If your student doesn't take a car to school, we recommend that you keep him listed on the policy for a number of reasons:

  • He’ll be fully protected if he returns home for a weekend visit and wants to drive.
  • He will have insurance protection when he’s driving a friend’s car while away, and that vehicle isn’t adequately insured.
  • Even if he doesn’t take a car to school, he’ll be fully protected if he’s hit by a car while walking or bicycling, or while being a passenger in somebody else’s car.
  • Keeping him on your auto policy maintains continuous insurance coverage, which may be beneficial when he gets his own auto insurance policy.

As a full-time student, your child may qualify for a Good Student Discount (if he maintains a grade average of 3.0 or higher). Make sure to let us know, and provide us with a copy of the transcript or a letter from a college advisor; the savings can be significant!

You can also apply for the Distant Student Discount if your child attends college 100 miles or more away from home.

If your student takes a car to school, she or he can still remain on your auto policy. In fact, your child should, since it is usually much more expensive for young divers and students to have their own policy. Be sure to notify us about the new garaging address: Not only do insurance companies prefer that, but it may also save you money, particularly if your student attends college in a less populated area of the state.

Full-time college students can usually remain covered on their parents’ auto policy if their primary address is the parents’ house, even if they attend college out of state. Make sure that the policy meets the minimum auto liability requirements for that state.

If your student owns the vehicle and holds the title, they'll need their own auto policy.

Eastern Insurance specializes in properly insuring your college student. We will review your situation and make sure all coverage is current and adequate.

Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance

You've bought your daughter a brand new laptop computer and a printer as a going away present. She's going to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a full time student. Will these valuable electronics be insured from theft, vandalism or a fire?

If your child continues to live in your household, his or her belongings are covered under your policy.

If your child stays in a dorm room on campus and you, the parents, have renters or homeowner’s insurance for your home, your insurance policy will extend to cover their belongings, up to a 10% limit of your personal property coverage.

That means, if your renter’s or homeowner’s policy has a limit of $200,000 for personal property, there will be coverage for up to $20,000 for your child’s belongings. Keep in mind that coverage is subject to your renter’s or homeowner’s policy deductible, usually $500 - $1,000.

Check with us to make sure the personal property limit on your homeowner’s policy is adequate. You might need additional coverage to insure expensive items like jewelry, musical instruments, or certain sports equipment.

Please note: Will your child return home or travel abroad for longer periods of time as part of their college experience? If they leave their belongings behind in a dorm or fraternity / sorority house for more than 45 days, your homeowners policy will no longer cover those belongings.

In that situation, it's important to either ship the belongings home during extended absences or temporarily store the items in a commercial storage facility.

If your college student lives in his or her own place off-campus, or shares an off-campus house or apartment with friends, things get a little trickier. You might have to set up a separate renter’s policy for your student. That will not only cover his or her "stuff", but also provide liability coverage in case somebody gets hurt in their place. In addition, many landlords have made renter’s insurance a requirement of the lease. Renter’s insurance policies are usually quite affordable, generally less than $15 per month.

Depending on your child’s particular situation, there might be some other variables that need to be considered. This is where an independent insurance agency (like us!) really comes in handy!

If your student is about to move into his or her own place, give us a call. We can help you navigate through the insurance-jungle and make sure you get the best value and protection for your money.

Health Insurance

Picture yourself getting a phone call one quiet winter evening. It's your 19 year-old college student son. He and some friends went on a skiing trip to a ski resort in another state. While skiing for the first time, he broke his collar bone.

He needs you to tell him what to do.

In a case like this, you'll need to check with your health insurance provider to see if your child is still covered. Here are some important points to consider:

  • As a full time student, he or she may be covered up to a certain age limit in Massachusetts.
  • If covered, be aware of how your coverage works in a different state:
    • If you have an HMO and your student's college is not within the service area, you will be covered for emergency situations. However, follow-up care may not be covered unless you go back to your service area.
    • If you have PPO and the accident is outside of the provider network, benefits will only be paid at the non-preferred level.

Please note: If your child travels while in school, make sure you check if their health insurance coverage extends to overseas travel. Many times it does not.

One-Stop Insurance Shopping

Having a child go off to school is a roller coaster ride. There is so much to think about, not to mention the whirlwind of emotions. Get yourself and your student the peace of mind you deserve when it comes to your auto, homeowners and health insurance protection. When life's emergencies are dealt with by a competent pro, it's one less thing to think about.

Our team at Eastern Insurance specializes in family protection plans. Our family-oriented agency has helped thousands of clients get prepared for the changing insurance needs of new college students and their families, while making sure they get the best protection for their insurance dollar. We know where to look to find the discounts!

Contact us today 800-333-7234 for a free review of your insurance plan.