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Indiana Department of Insurance Recommends Making Sure College-Bound Students Are Covered

With school starting again soon, here are some tips to keep your students covered.

Many Indiana colleges and universities will be starting classes soon. While your focus may be on your child’s health and safety during these challenging times, the Indiana Department of Insurance encourages you to review your insurance coverage with your college-bound student so they are prepared in the event they need it.

“Making sure your college student has the necessary coverage for health, auto and home/rental insurance before moving onto or near campus can alleviate any unfortunate financial surprises from a claim denied by your insurance company because it wasn’t covered in the policy,” said Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson.

The Indiana Department of Insurance offers these tips to help you review and update your insurance policies to cover your college student.

Health Coverage Options

Staying on Parent’s Plan. Your dependent child can be covered on your health insurance plan up to age 26. Check with your employer for specific date of discontinuation.  

Federal Marketplace Plan. If you choose not to cover your under 26 year old on your plan, he/she has the option to apply for a private health insurance plan through the Federal Marketplace. Depending on your child’s income, he/she may qualify for premium tax credits which lower costs on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, or for Medicaid coverage. He/she can apply for coverage at https://www.healthcare.gov/.

School Sponsored Health Plan. Many colleges and universities offer their own student health plans. Some of these plans have limitations as to what/where services they will cover. Check to see if the college your child is attending offers a plan for students and whether the plan meets your child’s health and budget needs.

Tips:

  • Make sure your student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards
  • Make sure your student knows about obtaining referrals and approvals (if necessary) before seeking treatment
  • Make sure your student knows the impact on costs if he/she uses out-of-network healthcare providers
  • Check your plan provisions or speak with your insurer to find out what level of benefits is provided by your policy

Homeowner’s and Renter’s Insurance

Living On Campus. If your student is younger than 24 years old, enrolled in classes and living in on-campus student housing, your homeowners policy will likely extend to the belongings they take with them. Please note that most homeowners insurance policies place limitations upon the amount of personal property coverage available for property located at residences other than the primary residence.  

Living Off Campus. You should talk to your insurance agent about whether your homeowner’s policy coverage will extend to the rental property. You should not rely on the landlord’s insurance to cover your college student’s possessions. The landlord’s insurance most likely covers structural damage to the building and may even protect against damage caused by tenants. Coverage does not extend to your college student’s personal property, nor does it protect him/her from being liable for damage they might cause to the building inadvertently (e.g., a kitchen fire or plumbing mishap).

Another important component of renters insurance is liability coverage, including personal liability and medical payments to others. Personal liability can provide much needed coverage if, for example, a claim is made or a suit is brought against your insured college student for damages because of bodily injury or property damage caused by a fire or accident in your college student’s off-campus rental.

Renter’s insurance also may provide necessary medical payments to others in the event a person on your insured college student’s rental property becomes injured or an injury is caused by an animal owned by or in the care of your college student.

Tips:

  • Consider adding a “rider” to provide extra coverage if your college student has unusually expensive items (e.g. electronics, musical instruments)
  • Talk to your insurance agent to help determine if an additional rider is needed or renters policy is needed to best protect your college-bound student
  • It's also a good idea to have a detailed inventory of your student's possessions including purchase prices, model numbers and serial numbers – it will help you and your student should you have to file an insurance claim following a loss
  • Check out the NAIC myHOME Scr.APP.book application – it makes it easy for you to document your student's valuables, update their inventories and store the information for easy access after a disaster

Auto Insurance

Taking a car to school. Check with your agent about the existing auto insurance policy – a significant move away from home can have an impact on your rates. Ask about the rates for the college's city and state before deciding whether to keep your student's car on the family's auto policy. Auto insurance coverage primarily follows the vehicle, rather than the driver.  Therefore, it is important for students to understand that if they allow friends to borrow or drive their car, the coverage provided would come from the vehicle owner’s insurance policy. Policies may also contain restrictions in coverage when an unlisted or unlicensed driver is operating the vehicle.

Leaving the car at home. If your student does not take a vehicle to school, you may want to check with your carrier to see if they offer a discount, or revised rate. This may only apply if the student isn’t driving the car while away at school and he/she is more than 100 miles away from the insured address.

Tips:

  • Discuss expectations concerning use of the insured vehicle with your student before he/she leaves for college – claims submitted under the policy may result in increased auto insurance rates
  • Notify the insurance company each semester if the student maintains good grades –maintaining a certain G.P.A. might make your child eligible for a good student discount

Tuition Insurance

Tuition Insurance, also known as tuition refund insurance, is insurance that provides coverage if a student faces circumstances where they need to suddenly withdraw from school, most often for medical or mental health reasons, although there are policies available that offer broader coverage.

Tips:

  • Tuition insurance can be obtained from an insurance provider, educational institutions, or even as part of a student loan.
  • Make sure you understand what is covered under the plan – every tuition refund plan has its own rules and limitations for coverage. Overall reimbursement depends on the type of policy purchased and the reason for withdrawal.
  • Epidemics and pandemics are typically excluded from tuition insurance. However, some insurers have been flexible with this policy during the coronavirus pandemic and have covered students who needed to withdraw during the Spring 2020 semester due to contracting the virus.

-Courtesy of Indiana Department of Insurance-

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