STATE – Insurance considerations should be at the top of your college checklist, according to the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey, Inc. The trade association that represents agents across the state reminds students and their parents to contact their insurance agent to verify the specifics of their policies and educate themselves about any coverage limitations. Parents may need to purchase additional coverage for their child’s possessions, depending upon where their child will live at college.
“Check your homeowners policy to see if the items your child is taking to college are covered in case they are damaged or stolen,” says Anthony Bavaro, CIC, CRM, president of PIANJ. “Prepare and maintain a list of possessions such as computers, televisions, stereos, cameras and jewelry, including the original cost and purchase date. If the value of these items exceeds the off-premises coverage limit of your homeowners policy, purchase additional coverage. You’d be surprised how much everything adds up.”
Students living on campus may be protected by the parent’s homeowner’s policy, as long as the student maintains residency in the parent’s household. Some insurers expressly define what “residency” means in their policy, but many insurers leave room for interpretation. Before a claim occurs, be sure to find out what criteria your insurer uses to determine whether your student child is still a resident of your household. College students renting an off-campus apartment or house while away at school may need to consider purchasing a renter’s policy, depending on the situation. In order to get the best protection, choosing a scheduled coverage option probably makes sense for high-value possessions such as computers, musical instruments and jewelry.
Auto insurance is another consideration for college-bound kids. If your child is attending school more than 100 miles from home without custody of a household vehicle, you may be eligible for a reduction in your auto insurance premiums. If your child has custody of a vehicle at school, then the insurer may want to rate your insurance based upon where the vehicle is garaged. And, don’t forget to instruct your child on what to do in case of an accident and where the important documents (i.e., insurance card and vehicle registration) can be found, suggests PIANJ.
“It’s a good idea to contact your independent, professional insurance agent whenever a major life change occurs,” says Bavaro. “College is one of them. Parents and students should be fully aware of the options available to them.”
PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.