Monday, August 31, 2009

Is that computer on campus covered by insurance?

KANSAS CITY (8/31/09)--Even if your son or daughter already is packed up and shipped off to college, check to make sure he or she is properly insured. Also, understand how this significant move away from home affects your own insurance policies (The Aug. 19).

Use this checklist to make sure you and your student are covered:

Does the student have a copy of health insurance cards? The student should have a plan for obtaining referrals and approvals--if necessary--before visiting a doctor or clinic. If the student will be seeking treatment outside a provider network, your insurer may charge out-of-network prices. Understand the level of benefits that are provided.

Does the student require a student health insurance plan? This may be a good option if she is older than the maximum coverage age, or if she is outside the network service area. Check with the school to see if the college has contracted with an insurer that offers student health insurance plans. If so, expect limited benefits and more exclusions such as treatment for injuries associated with alcohol or drug use.

Does the student need renter's insurance? Review your homeowner's insurance policy to see if the computer, other electronics, moped, bicycle, books, furniture and clothing are covered on campus. If not, purchase a renter's insurance policy immediately. Young renters often mistakenly believe the landlord has insurance to cover theft, fire, tornados, and other disasters. A landlord's policy does not cover the renter's personal property.

Do you have a detailed list of the student's possessions--including serial/model numbers and purchase prices? Consider using photos or videotape. Keep this list and photos in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe off-site, or scan the items and store digitally, and keep a backup at a remote site. It will come in handy if you need to file an insurance claim. Visit

Have you notified the auto insurer of any changes? Notify the insurer if the vehicle will be kept or garaged at a different location; if you don't, lack of disclosure could jeopardize a future claim ( Aug. 19). If the student won't have a car on campus and won't be driving your vehicle as often, ask if your rate can be reduced. And ask whether your insurer has discounts for maintaining good grades.

For more information, read "Have 'the Talk' Before Students Leave for Campus" in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Courtesy of

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