In today’s world, college students arrive on campus with more than their clothes, notebooks and pencils. They usually come loaded up with a stockpile of electronic gadgets… Items like laptops, smart phones, iPods, iPads, tablets, printers and other devices are commonplace as back to school must-haves. It seems to be the trend that every college student has more expensive learning supplies than students in the past did.

Breaking Down Insurance Coverage

Dorms: The belongings of college kids living in dorms will usually be covered under a homeowners insurance policy.

Off-Campus: Full-time students living off-campus may also be covered if their primary residence is still listed as their parents’ home. Insurers have several other qualification criteria for coverage and they usually place a maximum age limit of 24.

Although the liability limits of a homeowners insurance policy usually apply equally to covered college students, many insurers place a 10% cap on the possessions limit. However, some insurers may not have sufficient provisions to cover college kids in certain situations. Many parents may want to purchase additional insurance coverage to ensure their kid’s possessions will be covered. If additional coverage is desired, a renters insurance policy is often the best solution. This will usually cost between $150 and $200 annually, depending upon goods valuation and limits. If a child will be living with roommates, their policy will not cover the roommates’ possessions.

Parents should ensure their kids are fully covered when going to college, including their automobile. Auto insurance rates will rise or fall depending on the school’s geographic location and proximity to home. Some students may choose to attend college without taking their car. This is especially true for students who attend colleges and universities in large metropolitan areas where efficient bus systems and city transit exists. If it happens that the campus is at least 100 miles away, parents should contact their insurers because in many cases, parents can receive a discount totaling up to 20%. However, students would still be covered on holiday visits and during summers at home.

Health Insurance for College Kids

Another important detail to consider is health insurance. Many college kids are known for making poor nutritional choices (*cough cough* Ramen noodles and beer), experiencing high stress and not getting enough sleep. In excess, these factors can add up to more trips to the doctor. As a general rule, student health plans that offered by schools are very limited. They are expensive, have low cap amounts and may require students to seek care only via on campus medical facilities. Since children are usually covered by their parents’ medical insurance until a certain age, most parents opt to rely on this type of coverage. However, children of parents with limited HMO plans may only be able to seek emergency treatment on campus, which could mean much higher bills or higher copay amounts. An individual health insurance policy may be the best option for parents who have limited HMO plans. At about $150 less per month for one individual, these plans are relatively affordable. Premiums are lower with high deductibles. Students with plans featuring a deductible of $1,200 or more may open a health savings account and make contributions without tax penalties.

Protecting Their Identity

Another huge consideration for college students is identity theft protection. Typically, this coverage is limited. It cannot prevent parents or students from becoming victims of identity theft, and it doesn’t cover financial losses directly.  However, it does give coverage for the cost of reclaiming you or your student’s financial identity.  For instance, identity theft protection may cover the costs of making copies of documents, making phone calls, mailing documents, lost wages, and attorney fees.  Parents should check first to see if their homeowners policy includes identity theft insurance while the student is away from the family home. If a student is renting an apartment, ask if his/her renters insurance covers identity theft, or if that could be added to the policy.