When your children head off for college, you could worry about a lot beyond their grades. To help create a safety net during this time of transition, it’s a good idea to review your insurance policies and make sure your children stay protected – even if they aren’t living at home. Answering these questions about your family’s situation can help you evaluate what type of coverage your student might need:

When and where will your child drive?

Most teen drivers are listed on their parents’ auto insurance policy, which is fine as long as the child lives at home. However, if your child takes a car to college, you need to alert your insurance company. Depending on where they attend college, you may have to make changes to meet minimum coverage requirements for that state, which may impact your premiums. If your student doesn’t take a car to college, it’s a good idea to keep them on your policy, so they can drive during school breaks. But you might want to call your agent to see if their living situation qualifies you for a discount.

What will they take with them?

If your child lives in a dorm, your homeowners or renters insurance policy may extend to cover their belongings. Most policies limit a student’s coverage to 10% of the parent’s coverage. In other words, if your homeowners policy has a personal property limit of $300,000, your child’s belongings will be covered up to $30,000, after the deductible. The coverage issue is more complicated if your child lives off-campus or owns very expensive electronic equipment, according to the Insurance Information Institute. As an alternative, you may need to help them purchase renters insurance - because it prevents your premiums from increasing as a result of a child’s claim. Consider talking with an insurance representative to better understand the coverage available specific to your child’s living situation.

What will they do if they get sick?

If your child is eligible for coverage on your health insurance plan, they may not necessarily need additional student health insurance at school. Any plan that offers dependent coverage must make that available until the dependent turns 26, according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes students going to college. If your child is not covered by your plan or you don’t have health insurance, a student health insurance policy is a low-cost alternative for health care. These plans are sold through insurers that contract with colleges. Speak to the school administration to see if they have insurance options, and what kinds of coverage they provide.

For some families, your student may also qualify for Medicaid while at college. To find out, check with your state’s insurance department.

Though preparing to send a child to college is a busy time for the whole family, it’s important to review your insurance policies to make sure your children are protected as they embark on the next phase of their lives.

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