It is critical that parents check their insurance policies before sending their children back to college. With tuition fees, books and meal plans, some families don’t consider the new risks that heading to college can create. The risks include loss of personal property without adequate coverage, liability and identity theft.
“Many parents and guardians consider college to be a life-changing experience for our students, but it could actually have an impact on our insurance needs as well,” said Alicia Lyles, Midwest Field Vice President for AAA—The Auto Club Group.
If a student is attending school 100 miles or more away from home and will not take a vehicle with him, the family may be able to list him as an “occasional driver” with the insurance company and save money.
Conversely, if a student does take her vehicle to college and is shuttling others to and from their hometown on a regular basis, the family is open to a greater liability risk.
Many homeowners’ policies will cover a child’s personal belongings while at college if damaged by fire, water, or other perils named in the policy. However, you need to consider the limitations of the policy and if that will be enough to replace what was damaged.
A homeowners’ policy will likely cover a student living in a dorm, but AAA suggests that students who rent off-campus housing consider renters insurance. “
The U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security survey shows that out of 36,000 criminal offences on 11,000 campuses in 2015, burglary and motor vehicle theft counted for more than half of all (52%) crimes. Parents should review their policy to see what is covered and add additional limits for specific items, like expensive laptops or musical instruments, if needed.
People fall victim to identity fraud every two seconds, creating significant risk, especially for students. Follow the steps below to protect yourself while in college.
Create a “dorm inventory,” with photos, of all valuable items that will be in the dorm. Save a copy electronically and leave the other copy at home.
Leave valuable or irreplaceable items at home.
Once on campus students should always lock their dorm room door.
Never leave belongings unattended on campus.
Refrain from social media postings about or which include photos of their valuables.