My kid is headed off to college, do I need to do anything to my insurance policies?

July 7, 2016

It’s that time of year when kids are preparing for college. They’re getting their textbooks and schedules straightened out, but have you thought about how their leaving may affect your insurance? We’ll look into how your coverage may extend to them at school, and also possible discounts you could be receiving.

Whether your child is a freshman or senior, there are coverages that usually extend from both your auto and home policies. As long as they are considered an “Insured” or “Family member”, there are coverages that they should receive under the policy. Even if your child goes to school in a different state, your policy will still provide certain coverage.

Home Insurance:

“Insured means…A student enrolled in school full-time, as defined by the school, who was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school, provided the student is under the age of 24 and your relative OR 21 and in your care…”

Auto Insurance:

“Family member means a person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is a resident of your household. This includes a ward or foster child.”

If your child fits the homeowners standard description of an “Insured”, as shown above, then they are considered insureds and members of your household. From your homeowners policy, your child receives coverage for their personal property. There may be a limit on the extension of coverage, so check with your specific policy. Whether your child is in a dorm room or apartment near campus, this extension should cover their items. Liability coverage may also extend, but this coverage will have more limitations. It’s best to review your personal homeowners policy to verify how liability coverage would extend to your child at college.

The definition of “Family member” for an auto policy is a bit more vague than the homeowners “Insured” definition. The most important part of the definition is that they must be a resident of your household. While your child is away at school temporarily, and they still have a room at home, they are considered a resident of your household. You may or may not provide your young freshman with a vehicle for their first year. There are discounts for students who are away at school without a vehicle, so be sure to ask your agent about this. If you do provide your university student with a car, then the policy will follow the car and they will be covered (even in another state).

Once they graduate, things change a bit and you will need to make sure there is still coverage. If your child has decided to stay in another state full time after graduation, they should get their own insurance in that state. Always contact your agent or insurance company if things change to verify you still have coverage.

Disclaimer: Not all insurance policies are the same. Coverages and exclusions may vary and all statements made here are based of off normal auto and home policies. Please always follow the law.