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Sending Students to College: Insurance and Important Things to Remember

Guest post by:
Rebecca Woan
Founder and CEO, Chartwell Insurance Services
Independent insurance broker

Sending a student away to college is the bridge between childhood and independence. I need to avoid being the cobbler with no shoes, because for the first time I will have a child in college. As I prepare myself for the transition, I have compiled a list of important issues to consider beyond course selection, checking accounts, and living arrangements.

  1. Protecting your students’ possessions
    Students’ possessions in a college residence hall are typically covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance policy. However, since the deductible will likely exceed the value of your students’ items, and because it could compromise future renewals, we discourage parents from filing a claim on their policy in the case of theft or damage. Instead, some families may wish to purchase a low-cost College Student Renters Insurance policy to cover students’ items.

  2. Off-campus housing and liability to parents
    If your student moves out of the college residence hall and into off-campus housing, a new set of issues arises:

    • Co-signing leases: As a co-signer, parents could be held liable if anyone is hurt or injured at your child’s apartment. Make sure to add the location to your homeowner’s policy, ensure there is proper liability coverage, and talk to your student about the risks involved of hosting parties and serving alcohol.
    • Purchasing a renter’s policy: A good renter’s insurance policy will provide protection in case a fire, pipe burst, or other covered loss makes the apartment uninhabitable. Each roommate should purchase their own policy to ensure the proper coverage limits.
  3. Power of attorney for health care and financial needs
    “Helicopter parents” beware; your students over the age of 18 have the exclusive right to privacy over their healthcare, grades, and their financial records. So if your child is injured while away at school, hospitals and doctors may be legally prevented from sharing this information with you unless you have a power of attorney. Usually a power of attorney naming the parents and signed in the home state will apply, but it’s a good idea to check before your student leaves home. Be sure to keep a copy on your phone and with your trusted advisors for quick access in the event of an emergency. See the article from Financial Advisor for more information.

  4. Vehicles
    Before your child leaves for school, review the following:

    • Usage: Inform your insurance agent when your student is more than 50 miles away from home if they are taking a family vehicle with them, or if they should be classified as away at school without a vehicle.
    • Discounts available: There are often discounts on the parents’ automobile policy if the student maintains a “B” average or better. If this is the case, ask your student to send a screenshot or copies of their grades to show your insurance agent.
    • Roommate drivers: Parents should ask their insurance agent if roommates are covered to occasionally drive their students’ vehicle. Many, but not all insurers will consider this permissive use and will allow this without adding the additional operator to the policy. However, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and avoid sharing vehicles if possible.
    • Title new cars in your students’ name: It’s best to title newly acquired vehicles in your child’s name. This saves the trouble of having to transfer the title later on when he or she is fully independent and living out of the house. As long as the student is a member of the household, the car may be included in the family policy even if titled in the name of the student.

Should you have a claim or an issue while your child is away at school (it’s inevitable I hear!), know that your agent will do what’s right for you, and advocate on your behalf.

Find an agent to learn more, or if you’re already a Chubb client, log in to review your coverage today.


The views, information and content expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of any of the insurers of Chubb Limited.  Chubb did not participate in and takes no position as to the nature, quality or accuracy of such content. The information provided should not be relied on as legal advice or a definitive statement of the law in any jurisdiction. For such advice, an applicant, insured, listener, or reader should consult their own legal counsel.

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