Time to Ace College Insurance 101
Millions of students descend upon college campuses each year on a journey to discover their career path. The things they learn won’t just come from textbooks and lectures – life experience also plays an important role in their transition to adulthood. Unfortunately, not all life lessons are pleasant ones.
Consider, for example, the stress, panic, inconvenience and financial strain the two of you might experience if their belongings were stolen, or damaged in a fire while away at school.
“Most college students don’t think about protecting their belongings with insurance because, until this point, they’ve lived under their parents’ safety net,” said Chris O’Rourke, Vice President of Property Claims for Mercury Insurance. “Parents have a million other things running through their heads when their kids leave for college, like whether they’ll go to all of their classes, keep up with their assignments and act responsibly given their new-found freedom. Talking to their children about insurance needs isn’t necessarily at the top of the list.”
Replacing property – like a stolen or damaged laptop – can be vital, but the expenses can add up very quickly. Luckily, Mercury Insurance offers a few different ways to make sure your student is covered.
Homeowners insurance exists to protect your property against unexpected losses. An added benefit of having this coverage is it can extend to property outside of the insured dwelling. Full-time college students under the age of 24 who have moved away from their parents’ home can still be covered under their parents’ homeowners policy. Homeowners policies provide coverage for damaged personal items, any damaged school property and any medical bills that could ensue if another student is injured in your child’s dorm room. Personal belongings stored in your student’s car are also protected against theft or damage, such as a backpack stolen out of the backseat of their vehicle.
Student Away Endorsement
This optional endorsement can be added to a preexisting homeowners, renters or condo insurance policy to extend the same homeowners coverage to students who live away from home during a standard university school year and are enrolled part-time in school or over the age of 24 (or 21 if they are in your care but not related to you). This policy endorsement can be applied to students living either on-campus or off, in shared residences. This is a hassle-free, inexpensive – as little as 30 cents a day – option for parents who wish to easily cover their students without having to take out a renters insurance policy in the student’s name. Each university student under your policy has to have a separate endorsement.
Students renting a house or apartment for the school year may prefer to take out a renters insurance policy as it may be required by some landlords. Renters insurance is inexpensive – as little as 35 cents a day – and will cover financial reimbursement for personal property damaged in fire, theft or vandalism, as well as liability insurance so your student is protected if someone is injured in their house or apartment. A separate endorsement policy can be added to cover any roommates in the shared space.
Students bringing their car to school should review their auto policy – they’ll need to adjust their coverage if attending an out-of-state university. Consider keeping your student’s car on your auto insurance policy if they choose to leave the vehicle at home during the school year. It may still be at risk for collision or theft even if they won’t be driving the car regularly, and you’ll want it covered when they return home during semester breaks.
“Discuss with your Mercury agent what option is best for you and your student,” said O’Rourke. “It’s important to recognize the significance of insurance before something happens – a little smart planning now could ultimately end up saving you a lot of money down the line.”