Another group of Freshman prepare to begin their college careers this Fall. Plus, the upperclasspersons are preparing to either return to their school, or move to another school. This occasion requires thoughtful planning on the part of the students and their families. As parents, we need to make sure that our children are properly prepared, have the right tools, and the right protection to give them the very best chance to succeed. A crucial part of this strategy includes insurance. The wrong plan could turn a bad situation into a catastrophe. As an Independent Insurance Agency, we can direct you so that if and when misfortune strikes, there is a safety net.

There are essential protections necessary for your student’s college campus life. And even though no two situations are the same, some basic items can assure that that trip to the emergency room, or that burglary of items from the residence will not disrupt or even end the semester.

There is no guarantee that nothing bad will happen, but proper planning can lessen the impact dramatically. Here are some tips for you and your student.

Although the needs of each situation can vary widely, there are several key considerations for different areas of concern.

HEALTH

Your children can remain on the policy of the family until their 26th birthday. So there should not be a need to purchase a separate policy for the student. However, keep in mind, that today’s generation of health insurance policies, deductibles and networks available for service are not the old policies of yesterday. Knowing the network is vital! Be sure to check available doctors and hospitals near the university your child is attending. Check the website of your health carrier, check with your H R Department for assistance in locating network physicians. We can also provide you with information regarding options we can supply to make sure you are covered.

AUTO

There is potential good news in this area. It may be possible that your family may save money at this point in time. Our carrier insurance policies have a rating for “Student Away”. This usually reflects a reduction in the premium for college students over 100 road miles from the family residence. This, coupled with a Good Student Discount can save on the family auto premiums. Of course, if the student takes a car to campus, that discount will not apply.

Since our lives involve many different chapters, it is extremely important to keep your insurance advisor up to date on any change of lifestyle, like a child getting his or her driver’s license, or going away to school. This will help assure you have the proper coverage and premium levels in place. Please keep in mind that if your child takes your car to school, you, as titleholder are still responsible for the operation of the vehicle.

Also remember, that personal auto policies have specific exclusions for certain activities. So if your young driver decides to join a ride sharing, Uber type plan, or a delivery service, make sure that there is coverage under the commercial policy of the organization they are driving for. Your personal auto policy does not provide such coverage.

An Umbrella Liability policy should be considered essential.

PERSONAL PROPERTY

It is not unusual for a student to have thousands of dollars of electronic equipment and other personal items in their dorm rooms or apartments. These laptops, tablets, video players and games, bicycles, and musical instruments are popular targets for theft. Be sure to schedule laptops, and to discuss the coverage under your Homeowners policy for these items before something happens. There are restrictions and exclusions that do limit the coverage, so be sure to keep us informed of these to insure proper coverage.

As with things in your home, keep receipts and an inventory so that in the event of a claim, you can be sure to identify all of the affected property. Renters Coverage is also available at very reasonable rates.

LIABILITY

It is important to be sure that the residence of your student has liability coverage. An injury to a guest at your child’s apartment could expose the family to a significant liability claim, along with defense costs. Talk to us about placing proper Liability coverage for all locations. An Umbrella Liability policy should be a part of your planning process.

UMBRELLA LIABILITY

You may have noticed a consistent recommendation in this article. When your child is off premises, there is an increased posibility of activities that may not occur at home. Plus your responsibility for your vehicle or the premises occupied by your child does not disappear because they are in college. One of the best bargains in insurance is an Umbrella Laibility policy. For a couple hundred dollars, you can significantly increase your level of protection. You should also earn multi policy discounts with your Homeowners and Auto policies with the addition of an Umbrella Liability policy.

TUITION

Tuition Refund Insurance is a means of getting your tuition back if your student withdraws from college-generally only for documented medical reasons or due to the death of the student or a parent or guardian. Much of what it provides is peace of mind. But parents may want to think of this coverage if they are paying all of the tuition costs at an expensive school without financial aid, or if their student has a serious medical condition. Sallie Mae offers such a plan, as do many universities.

LIFE

Buying Life Insurance for a college student might sound overly cautious, if not a bit morbid. But it can make sense for parents who co-sign for tens of thousands of dollars of student loans. Without this, the parents could be exposed to a significant debt in the event of the death of their student. Some lenders will forgive the debt in such cases. Be sure to ask your lender first and verify that in your loan documents.

TRAVEL

For those students traveling abroad, a policy that should be considered is a Travel Policy. Travel Insurance can help cover the costs of a semester abroad marred or lost due to illness, accident, theft, or other setbacks. Insurers can reimburse policyholders for many travel related emergencies, although exclusions of varying degrees exist. Some such policies offer trip cancellation protection for any reason. Check with your college first, and carefully read the policy.

Good luck to your child-student in this exciting new life chapter, and be sure to talk to us regarding proper coverage for the experience.

This is an updated version of an earlier blog, but it contains information that is relevant to today’s college student and family.

Grooms Insurance Associates is proud to have been named Business of the year for 2013 by the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce.

We also are honored that our friends and policyholders have named us as a 2015 Top Insurance Provider in the Daily Herald Reader’s Choice Awards.

Thanks to our friends and clients for helping make us achieve such recognition