If you have a student leaving home for college, your tuition check is not the only thing at risk. Insurance gaps are common among college students – especially when parents and students attempt to secure coverage on their own without the help from a professional. The truth is, the rules change significantly when your child leaves the nest, and you may be surprised at what is not covered by your insurance policy. Read on to learn more about your student’s potential risk exposure and what you can do to prevent it.
Beware of Stripped Down Renters Policies Offered by Landlords
According to the information from an independent consumer survey published by the Wall Street Journal, approximately two-thirds of all renters forego renters insurance in the U.S. But if your student will be living off campus, renters insurance is a must. In fact, it may be required by landlords, who will mandate participation in a tenant policy for students who do not procure their own coverage. Beware, however, of stripped down renters policies offered by landlords who are more interested in protecting their own interests than those of your child. These policies are often designed with the primary goal of protecting the landlord’s liability interests, going so far as to name the landlord as an additional insured on the policy. Furthermore, it can hold back on important personal property protection for your student’s belongings, leaving them vulnerable to loss due to theft, fire and other adverse events.
Coverage Lapses for Part-Time Enrollment
Some students choose to attend school part-time so that they can work or fulfill other obligations while studying for a degree. In fact, according to the Department of Education, approximately 40 percent of all students enrolled in a college or university are attending part-time. While this allows for greater flexibility, better financial control and lower tuition, it can also result in an unexpected effect – the loss of insurance coverage or discounts.
For example, homeowners insurance usually covers a student’s personal property while living on campus. If the student drops below 15 credit hours in a semester, however, he or she may no longer qualify for coverage under a parent’s plan, regardless of where they live. Similarly, auto insurance companies often extend good student discounts for full-time students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher. This discount may not apply for a student attending part-time.
Belongings Left at School while Home for Summer
Many student choose to come home for summer, leaving their clothes and other belongings behind until fall. Understandably, it may seem unnecessary to pack an entire dorm only to move it back weeks later. However, doing this could cause unexpected financial hardship. According to the Merlin Law Group, many students and their parents are unaware that most homeowners insurance policies will not provide coverage for theft if a student has not been present at his or her residence away from home at any time during the 45 days prior to the theft. That means that possessions left behind at school may not be covered later in the summer, when most students have not been in their dorms for a couple of months.
Are You Overlooking Gaps in Your College Insurance?
These are just some of the ways students find themselves without adequate coverage while away at college. If you are leaving for school this semester or have a child who is preparing to leave the nest, take time to speak with a trusted insurance advisor about your college insurance needs and risk exposure. We can help you determine how much property, auto and health coverage your student needs and provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. Call us today for more information. We look forward to serving you soon.