Kids Off to College? Make Sure They're Protected

By Maryalene LaPonsie Posted : 10/07/2010

College-bound kids need protectionIt doesn't take long for children to grow up. In just two short years, they go from needing parental approval to watch a movie to being able to enter into contracts and buy houses on their own. Of course, just because the government and society say your children are now adults doesn't mean they still don't need a little help from Mom and Dad. If you have children leaving the nest, evaluate their auto insurance, renters insurance and health insurance.

Auto insurance on campus

Whether your student is purchasing a new vehicle or planning to use the family hand-me down on campus, car insurance is essential. Young drivers pose big risks to auto insurance companies. According to the Insurance Information Institute, adding a teen driver can result in a 50 to 100 percent increase in the family auto insurance premium. Despite that, generally the cheapest way to insure your student's car is to keep it on the family policy.

Car insurance is not a place to cut corners. In the event your student injures someone else in a car accident, the auto insurance company may be all that stands between you and a financially devastating lawsuit.

Renters insurance protects belongings

Many first-year students live in the dorms. However, the local apartment complex starts looking good as the student progresses. Just because your student won't be spending an entire year in the apartment doesn't mean you can skimp on renters insurance. It only takes a single fire or one break-in to result in thousands of dollars in lost property.

Think your child doesn't have enough to warrant renters insurance? Think again. Those iPods, laptops, designer jeans and smart phones add up quickly. Fortunately, renters insurance doesn't have to put a big dent in your pocket.

Most major insurance companies offer renters insurance and policies can cost as little as $15 to $20 per month. Generally, all renters insurance policies offer protection against a standard set of 17 "perils" that will be specifically outlined in the policy. These include:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Electrical surge
  • Vandalism
  • Smoke

Floods and earthquakes are excluded.

Medical insurance for college kids

Young adults think they are invincible but all-nighters lead to depressed immune systems, and weekend pick-up games of football lead to broken bones. The cheapest way to insure your child is to add them to your employer-sponsored group health plan. Beginning in September 2010, health care reform guarantees you the right to list your child as a dependent, even if they get married, on your group insurance until they reach age 26 years.

If you don't have employer-sponsored insurance, it is time to turn to plan B: An individual health insurance policy. Premiums for healthy young adults are generally quite low. Also compare the college health plan. Many colleges offer students access to a group plan that features low premiums for adequate coverage.


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