My son or daughter is away at school – can I remove them from my auto policy?
The short answer to this is “No!” The child on an auto policy is covered under that policy while away at school. This means they will have coverage if they drive someone else’s car and get into an accident. Even though they may not plan to drive another vehicle while at college, or have been told not to, we do see this happen often. And if they do not have coverage, they may incur serious financial damage for the parent if they are in an accident. Further, because the child is a resident in the household who is licensed to drive, insurance companies will not allow them to be excluded from a policy. Even if they’re removed, the parent may get a call from the insurance company or agent asking for proof that the student has their own auto coverage or is no longer a resident of the house. Insurance companies do not consider being at college as no longer living in the household. Even if they are successfully removed, the responsibility will then be the parent’s to remember to add them back to the policy when they return home for a break. In the insurance world, we rarely see this happen. People get busy, something else comes up… and then the student is home on vacation and driving around uninsured, which can lead to substantial financial damages. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
My son or daughter is away at school with a computer, musical instrument, or other expensive item – how do I insure them?
Luckily, this is easy! With most insurance companies, a home, condominium, or renter’s insurance will extend a portion of its personal property coverage off the premises of the home. If, for example, there is $40,000 in personal property protection on a home/renter’s/condominium policy, and the company extends 10% of it, a student’s belongings will be covered to a limit of $4,000. Thus, it is very important to check the personal property limits on the policy and the company’s limit of extension before a student heads off to school, to ensure that they are properly covered. Also check on the deductible on the policy for loss of personal property, to confirm that it is not too high to make a claim if a student suffers damage, theft, or other loss of the property. It is recommended to work with a local agent or agency, as they will be able to review this in the most timely and efficient manner. Another option is for students and parents to find out if the student’s college has a relationship with particular insurance companies so that the student can get their own policy.