Ask Kim


Insurance Coverage for College Students

Kimberly Lankford

Make sure your child's belongings are covered by your homeowners policy, and let your insurer know if your child isn't taking a car to school.



My daughter is leaving for college this week and isn’t taking a car with her this year. Should I notify my car insurance company? And is her laptop and everything else she takes with her still covered under my homeowners insurance policy?

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By all means, let your car insurance company or agent know that your daughter is going to college. If her school is more than 100 miles from your home, your premiums could drop significantly, and she’ll still have coverage when she returns for holidays and the summer. Also let your insurer know if your daughter ends up getting good grades -- most insurers offer a discount (typically about 15%) for students earning a B average or better, and the break usually counts for college as well as high school. For more information about these and other breaks, see The Biggest Car Insurance Discounts.

If your daughter lives in a dorm, her electronics, clothes and other possessions should be covered by your homeowners insurance, but ask your insurer for the details. Some insurers cap off-site coverage at 10% of the possessions limit on your homeowners insurance policy. For instance, if you have $200,000 in coverage on your home and $100,000 on your possessions, you may be covered up to $10,000 for possessions outside of your home. You can buy coverage beyond that for electronics and other special items. Electronics riders not only provide higher limits but also can cover accidental damage, such as a dropped laptop, which usually isn’t covered by homeowners insurance.

If your daughter lives in an off-campus apartment, your insurer may cover her possessions as long as she’s a full-time student under age 24. But some don’t cover students living off-campus at all. In that case, it can be a good idea to get her a renters insurance policy, which generally costs just $150 to $200 per year. The policy will cover her stuff as well as provide liability coverage if, for example, someone gets injured while visiting her. If she has roommates, they should each get their own renters policies. For more information about renters insurance, see Why Renters Need Insurance.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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