Home Work on Insurance

If you are college-bound this fall, don’t forget to review your insurance. By making sure the stu­dent’s possessions are protected in case of theft, fire and other dam­age while they’re at school, you could save yourself a lot of stress and expense later on. Plus, certain policy updates could save you money — a real bonus for anyone footing tuition bills!

Vehicle coverage

The rage at some college campuses is motorized scooters. However, they’re also one of the easier items to steal or damage. Like a car, scooters must be spe­cifically insured — they don’t fall under homeowners, renters or auto policies for other vehicles. General Casualty Insurance Companies, for example, insures scooters under its motorcycle policy.

Deciding whether or not to keep a car on campus carries finan­cial implications as well. General Casualty’s Charles Valinotti, assis­tant vice president of auto insur­ance, shares advice on how to score the best deals:

 Make sure policies are up to date with the student’s current school address. You may benefit if she moves to an area with lower rates.

 Look into discounts if the stu­dent leaves his car at home. If the student’s dorm is more than 100 miles from your driveway, where the car is kept, you may be eligible for discounts.

 If your student leaves his car at home and won’t be using it while he’s in school, consider reducing coverage or changing his driving status from primary use to occasional use.

 Remember, your insurance company’s good student discount may apply for college students, too. For example, full-time stu­dents who are less than 25 years old may qualify for General Casualty’s Good Student Discount.

Personal property coverage

Many possessions students bring to school are covered under their parents’ homeowners poli­cies, but others may require the student to purchase renters insur­ance. You may also consider insur­ing higher-value property separate­ly. Sometimes called scheduled or floater coverage, it applies to items such as bikes, jewelry or electronic equipment, if their values exceed the limits of the homeowners or renters coverage for those items.

Insurance companies vary in their definitions of whom and what is covered under their policies. Talk with your insurance agent to deter­mine whether your student needs renters insurance or if your hom­eowners policy is adequate. Below are questions to ask to determine the best option:

 Is the student considered a “resident of the household” under your policy?

 Is the student’s dorm or apart­ment an “insured location” under your policy?

 Does it matter whether the stu­dent is full-time or part-time?

 What impact does the parents’ tax status or student’s marital sta­tus have?

“Students’ belongings — which often include expensive computer equipment — can be worth a sig­nificant amount of money. The best way to make sure they’re adequate­ly protected is to check with your insurance agent,” said Dan Kovac, General Casualty’s assistant vice president of homeowners.

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