In a very short period of time, there have been a surprising large number of changes in the exposures you now face with your children away at college, mostly in the area of health insurance. Let’s touch on the three questions we hear most often this time of year with children heading off to college.
“How can I protect myself from being sued should a friend of my son’s get involved in an at fault accident using my car?” As a general rule think of the insurance policy for your vehicle as being in the glove box of the car, meaning that on the typical personal auto policy the insurance o that vehicle will respond for ANY permissive user. If your child’s roommate was given permission to drive your car your insurance policy will most likely respond to the accident when the driver is at fault. There is little, if anything that the driver or the driver’s parents can do to remedy this situation. From your perspective, only making sure your child doesn’t let anyone drive the car will solve the issue. A good friend curtailed this by teaching his daughter the long lost art of using manual transmission. Turned out that such a small percentage of youthful drivers have this skill, her car was never used by other classmates – Thanks Andy B!
“Do I have to worry about getting health insurance for my college bound student?” One of the most popular tenants of “Obamacare” is the allowance for children under the age of 26 to remain on the parent’s health insurance policy. Unfortunately the same program has left many of the providers of those policies looking for ways to cut back on the increasing cost of providing their employees and families with medical coverage. One popular way of saving premium is to select plans that have limited or no “out-of-network” benefits. If your college bound child is heading out of the area and your family is covered by a company group health program (or even a personal family policy) review the out of network coverage availability. If out of network coverage is provided make sure you are familiar with the deductibles and other limitations.
“We spent a small fortune to furnish our son’s apartment off campus. Does our insurance policy cover this?” In the case of off campus housing, the answer is often no especially if your child maintains an annual lease and resides in the apartment outside of the school year. In that situation we recommend a tenants insurance policy that includes the added benefit of additional liability insurance. In the case of a dorm, your homeowner’s policy would likely respond but it is important to review this area with us. High valued items (think laptops, expensive sports equipment) many need special coverage.
PLEASE call and talk to us about your particular situation. There is very little in the insurance world that is “black and white,” particular scenarios often determine how coverage should be tailored to meet your specific needs. In addition to answering your questions, we will always ask you questions to root out other potential issues that may not have occurred to you.