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Insurance FAQ's: How Does My Child Leaving For College Impact My Insurance?

It’s here.  The moment you have spent the last 18 years preparing for. You baby bird is leaving the nest. How is it possible to be proud and devastated all at the same time? When my precious baby boy left for college it felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart, but rainbows of love shot out.  Isn’t this the same kid that caused me to call the on-call ER doctor when he shoved M&Ms up his nose like yesterday? How can he be leaving for college?

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But it happened. The day came. 

We packed him up.  Settled him into his dorm. (I may or may not have made a to-scale construction paper layout of dorm to practice its layout ahead of time. I am that mom.) You've got to make sure that every square inch of that tiny closet-sized bunker was utilized to its max potential!

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We said our good byes and I somehow miraculously managed to make it home without turning around and picking him back up. Longest 88 minutes EVER! (I may or may not have measured the travel time from driveway to dorm. I told y'all.  I am that mom!)

There are so many logistics to think about, but one you might not have yet considered is how your child leaving for college may affect your insurance. 

Once you get that first dreaded bill from college, there's a good chance you are going to be trying to figure out where you can cut costs and save money in your own life. Seeing the dollar amount on the bottom of that tuition bill can be rather mind blowing. It’s enough to make a girl get pretty dang creative on how she can save a buck or two. But whatever you do, do NOT cancel your child's car insurance.

What do you mean I can't drop their auto insurance?

There are a couple of scenarios to consider when thinking about protecting your college student with auto insurance.

1. If your student does not have a car on campus, they still need to be protected when they are home and driving around visiting their friends. If your snuggle bunny is like mine, when he is home for the weekend or on break, despite what you may want to believe, his plans are likely not going to be to spend every free minute by your side.  I know right?? Crazy!! 

So, you  need to keep them on your policy.  Besides, they likely technically meet the definition of a household resident, which means they have to stay on.

2. In the case that your child borrows a friend's car while at school and that friend is under-insured. While the insurance of the car owner would be primarily responsible, you still need your policy to help balance out the cost if there is an accident, particularly if the car owner has low policy limits or is loaning their vehicle to your child as a temporary substitute vehicle.

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Good thing my son’s mom sells auto insurance now…yep—this accident was his.

3. In case another driver were to hit them (even if they aren't driving themselves). Even if they aren’t driving, what if your child was walking to class or riding a bike and some distracted delinquent is on the phone, updating their Instagram, eating Cheetos all while enjoying their very own personal in-car dance party, was to hit your precious baby?

Your auto insurance would protect them.

Bonus: Many insurance carriers count the time on your policy as continuous coverage.  By not dropping your child from your policy, you may actually help them when they eventually get a policy of their own. Invest in their future. Isn't that what college is all about anyway? 

Don't forget to protect your student's belongings with Renter's Insurance!

Renter’s insurance is actually pretty simple. 

If you currently have homeowner’s insurance, it travels with your child while they are living in a dorm.  Typically, their belongings will be covered up to 10% of the amount of coverage you have on your home. For example, if you have $100,000 of coverage on your home, they would be covered up to $10,000.  It’s like you are there sheltering him with a giant shield of protection!

Now, off campus housing is a completely different matter. If your child chooses to live off-campus and not in a dorm, they may NOT be covered on your homeowner’s policy.  You then would need to get a renter’s insurance policy.  This will provide coverage for their belongings as well as liability coverage if an injury was to occur in their rented home.  The best part—renter’s insurance is generally pretty affordable! 

So what do I do now? 

Contact your agent to see if your policy has a good student discount. 

Many carriers offer a discounted rate for students who maintain a B average (3.0) or better.  You will likely be randomly asked to provide a transcript of their grades.  Feel free to hand deliver it to your agent along with a 20-minute prepared speech on how your pookie-wookie is basically the smartest kid at his or her university.

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If your child does not have a car on campus, but they are listed as driving to and from school/work each day, check to see if you can change their rating to be listed as an occasional driver. This can help lower your premium as well. 

A lot of carriers also offer scholarships for their policy holders.  Call your insurance provider, or check out their website, for more information.

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Let us take care of the insurance stuff. You have more important things to worry about, like how you're going to fill all of that extra free time you have now that you have gotten used to your new child-free normal!

Contact us today so we can help you save money while keeping the level of protection that your college student needs. Helping you protect your family is our number one priority. 

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