College Student Insurance Tips

TA | April 13, 2009


MedSave.com and The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offer tips for parents and college students urging these young adults - and their parents - to get smart about insurance. Children living away from home might not be covered by their parents' property, auto and health insurance.

 Parents should carefully review their health, auto and homeowners insurance policies to determine exactly what is - and is not - covered for their college-bound children," said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Glenn Wilson. "Checking insurance coverage now will give parents and students peace of mind as they leave home for colleges across Minnesota and the nation."

Following are some information and tips for parents and college students:

College Students and Health Insurance

Most college students may be covered under their parents' health insurance coverage but that does not mean that this is automatically the best choice or the only coverage needed. While students are away at college, it is important to check whether the campus health facility, local physicians and hospitals accept the family's insurance coverage. Some colleges require students to enroll in a separate health plan specifically for the on-campus health facility. If not, it might be advisable to purchase a student insurance plan through a specialist in this field. MedSave.com lists reputable student insurance plans on a state-by-state basis. College students who purchase their own health insurance tend to buy plans like Basic Health Insurance or Core Health Insurance with no deductible but lower catastrophic protection. While this type of coverage is useful as supplemental coverage, it is not suitable as the only insurance. Most short term major medical insurance plans are available online on a semester or a year but may be paid on a month-to-month basis. Be sure the student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards and knows about obtaining referrals and approvals before seeking treatment. Popular student insurance plans including the popular "Secure STM" offer complete services online, including the ability to download ID cards and policies and check on claim status.

College Students and Auto Insurance

Parents and college students should do some homework regarding auto insurance.  If a college student is going to be using the family vehicle when visiting home, parents should make sure the child is listed by name on the family's auto insurance policy. If the student will be taking a car with them to school, parents should check the specific rates for the college's city and state before deciding whether to keep their child on the family's auto policy. It might pay to get a separate auto insurance policy for a student with a college address rather than leaving the student on the parent's policy. In addition, the insurance company should be notified each semester if the student maintains good grades, as that accomplishment might lower premiums. To control costs, parents should also ask about an "accident forgiveness" clause that promises not to raise premiums if a student gets into one minor accident. They should also consider raising the policy's deductible and only allowing their child to drive the family's oldest, least expensive car. In addition, parents might consider purchasing an older car for their child and foregoing comprehensive and collision insurance on that vehicle. MedSave.com recommends InsureMe.com for fast online auto insurance quotes from a variety of reputable insurers.

College Students and Travel Insurance

International travel involves a range of risks from unexpected trip cancellation, lost luggage, overseas medial care and emergency evacuation. A range of easy and inexpensive international insurance plans are available for every type of trip whether a spring break week in Cancun or an entire semester abroad in Europe.

College Students and Renter's Insurance

Whether students live in college housing or rent apartments, they will likely have valuables - such as a computer, TV, stereo and/or video game system - that could be stolen or destroyed in a fire or natural disaster. Parents should check their homeowners policy to see whether it will cover a college student's possessions. Furthermore, if students live in an off-campus apartment, parents should consider purchasing renter's insurance through their existing homeowners insurance provider. Liability risks of an off-campus apartment can be significant but are not likely covered under a parent's policy. For more information, visit www.insureUonline.org, a consumer resource that provides information about insurance for all life stages or check the "renter's insurance" section of InsureMe online quotes.

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