If you are a college student, or you've got one headed off to college this fall, you may be wondering whether students who aren't living at home require new, different or additional insurance coverage. Although you should check with your personal provider to verify the terms of your particular plan, here's how most policies handle the situation of a college student living away from home while at school:
Students under the age of 26 can most likely remain covered by their parent's employer-based health insurance plan (unless they are covered by their own employer's plan). Employer-based plans are generally the most comprehensive, and consequently the most desirable.
However, if an employer-based plan is not a viable option, most schools offer a student health plan that's open to most, if not all, students. Unless the student has ongoing health issues, the student health plan should provide sufficient coverage of preventive care (think flu shots), doctor's visits, and prescription drugs, as well as catastrophic coverage.
Students also have the option of applying for an individual health plan. But note that costs and coverages vary widely for individual plans. You should also be aware that many schools require students to have health insurance, so going without probably isn't an option.
Personal Property Insurance
Full-time students who live on campus are most likely covered by their parents' homeowner's, renter's or condo insurance policy. So if that's your situation, just double check with your insurance provider and then relax.
But part-time students and students living off-campus most likely need their own renter's insurance policy. Renter's insurance is generally quite cheap - just be sure the policy includes liability insurance (in case someone is injured while visiting the student and sues), and determine whether you need special (and relatively inexpensive) riders for expensive items like computers.
If a student is taking a car to college, the student and/or their parents need to notify their auto insurance provider in order to maintain their coverage. The insurance premiums may go up, down, or remain the same, depending on where the school is located, and how much driving the student will doing. If the school is in a different state, you'll want to make sure that your coverage meets that state's minimum auto insurance requirements.
Going off to college isn't as simple as moving into a dorm room. But the good news is that it can take just a few phone calls to make sure there's adequate insurance coverage in place.