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6 Types of Insurance for College Students and How to Save on Them

Health Insurance For College Students

6 Types of Insurance for College Students and How to Save on Them

Published June 17, 2024

Health Insurance For College Students

Students have multiple insurance options when they head off college. Most have health insurance, but many families may not be aware of other types of insurance for college students.  For example, only 55% of U.S. renters have renter’s insurance despite its affordability. This guide covers six types of insurance for college students, including tips on choosing what’s right for you.

What Types of Insurance Are Available to College Students?

College students and their families have several insurance options to consider to safeguard their health, property, and finances: 

  • Health Insurance: Essential for accessing medical care without prohibitive costs.
  • Property Insurance: Protects personal belongings through renters, dorm, or personal property insurance.
  • Auto Insurance: Provides coverage for accidents and theft for students who drive.
  • Tuition Refund Insurance: Offers financial protection if a student must withdraw from college.
  • Travel Insurance: Covers trip cancellations, lost luggage, and medical emergencies for students studying or traveling abroad.
  • Life Insurance: Provides financial security and peace of mind for students and their families in the event of an untimely death.

1. Health Insurance for College Students

Health insurance is essential for college students to ensure they have access to necessary medical care without incurring prohibitive costs.

Health insurance options include:

  • Parental Plans: Many students can stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until they turn 26. This option is often the most convenient and cost-effective. Ensure the insurance has in-network providers in the city where the student attends college to avoid high out-of-network costs.
  • School-Offered Plans: Colleges typically offer health insurance plans for students. These plans cover services provided on campus and nearby facilities. However, they can be expensive. If you opt out of the school’s plan, you may need a waiver to avoid automatic enrollment.
  • Marketplace Plans: Through the health insurance exchange, students can find plans offering better coverage or lower premiums, especially if they qualify for subsidies.
  • Medicaid: For students who demonstrate financial need, Medicaid provides comprehensive health coverage at little to no cost.
  • Student Health Center: Check out the provided services and their costs. Basic care co-pays can range from nominal to very expensive.

Tips for Choosing College Student Health Insurance

Compare the coverage details, costs, and provider network for each option. Consider the student health center’s services and whether they require additional co-pays or fees. Ask the school and return the waiver as soon as possible. Most colleges automatically add a charge for health insurance, and at most colleges, you must manually decline coverage by showing proof of insurance every year.

2. Property Insurance for College Students

Property insurance can take several forms for college students. These include renters insurance, dorm insurance and policies that cover only property.

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is important for students living off-campus in rented apartments or houses. It covers personal belongings in case of theft, fire, or other damage and provides liability protection if someone is injured in the rental unit. 

This type of insurance ensures that students can replace their belongings without financial hardship. For example, if a student’s laptop or textbooks are stolen, renters insurance can cover the replacement costs.

Policies typically cover personal property, liability, and additional living expenses if the rental becomes uninhabitable. High-value items like jewelry or expensive electronics might need extra coverage. Renters insurance can also cover situations when a student drops their phone or accidentally spills something on it.

To find affordable renters insurance, students should compare quotes from different insurers, looking for student discounts and bundling opportunities with other types of insurance like auto or health. One we recommend is GradGuard.

Dorm Insurance

Dorm insurance is specifically for college students living in dormitories. It offers similar protections to renters insurance, covering personal belongings in case of theft, fire, or other damage within the dorm. Dorm insurance can also provide liability coverage if the student accidentally damages the dormitory or someone else’s property. This type of insurance is particularly useful as it often includes coverage for items that students frequently use, such as laptops, smartphones, and other electronics.

Strictly Personal Property Insurance

Personal property insurance is another option that focuses solely on covering the replacement cost of personal items if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed. This can include electronics, clothing, furniture, and other personal effects. Basic policies cover standard personal items, but students with high-value items, such as professional equipment like cameras or musical instruments, might need additional coverage.

While renters insurance covers personal property, liability, and living expenses, personal property insurance focuses exclusively on replacing personal items. On the other hand, dorm insurance is tailored to the needs of students living in on-campus housing and may include protections specific to dorm life.

Tips for Inventorying Personal Belongings

To streamline the claims process, students should create a detailed inventory of their belongings, including photos, receipts, and descriptions. This helps provide clear evidence if items are lost or stolen. Students should also check what items, such as jewelry or electronics, may be excluded from coverage.

3. Auto Insurance for College Students

Auto insurance is crucial for students who drive their own or a family vehicle while attending college. It covers damages from traffic accidents, theft, and other vehicle-related incidents.

Consider these factors affecting car insurance for college students:

  • Legal Requirements: States have minimum auto insurance requirements, including liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage. Some states also require coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists.
  • Auto Insurance Rates: Rates vary according to the student’s driving record, age, gender, the vehicle’s make and model, and the location where the car is driven and parked. The more expensive question is whether your student will drive their own car while in college. If not, you may not need car insurance or can just keep them on your policy for when they drive home.
  • Discounts Available for College Students: Many insurance companies offer discounts for good students (maintaining a high GPA), for students who complete a safe driving course, and for those who agree to limited car usage, such as keeping the car on campus but not using it frequently. Selling their car if they don’t need it during school for four years can also help contribute to covering college expenses and limit the debt they incur in school. Car-related costs can add up quickly: parking fees, gas, repairs, maintenance, and insurance.

4. Tuition Refund Insurance

Tuition refund insurance provides tuition, room, and board reimbursement if a student has to withdraw from college for reasons such as illness or severe anxiety. It protects the significant educational investment, ensuring families do not lose money if a student cannot complete a semester.

Before purchasing, check the college’s refund policy. Compare the cost of tuition insurance with potential losses if your student leaves school mid-semester past refund dates.

If you don’t have tuition insurance and your student leaves school mid-semester, discuss options with the school accounting department to see if part of tuition or room and board payments can be refunded.

5. Travel Insurance for College Students

Travel insurance can cover items you never thought of and can even cover students at college. Policies typically cover travel cancellations, lost luggage, and medical emergencies.

Students studying abroad or traveling for internships and projects should consider travel insurance. It can cover trip cancellations and provide medical coverage abroad.

Review policies carefully to determine what is and isn’t covered and under what circumstances. Ensure that high-value items like electronics are covered, possibly with an extra premium.

6. Life Insurance for College Students

While not commonly considered essential for college students, life insurance can provide peace of mind and financial security. Life insurance provides a death benefit to designated beneficiaries upon the insured person’s death.

A term life policy is an affordable option, providing coverage for a set period (e.g., ten years). This can help cover funeral expenses and any outstanding student loans.

Life insurance ensures that, in the unfortunate event of a student’s death, their family is not burdened with funeral costs or unpaid student debts. If something happens, a student can get a minimal policy with a life insurance company to cover funeral expenses and the cost of repaying student loans. Term life insurance for ten years should be inexpensive, sometimes as little as a few dollars per month.

How to Save on Insurance as a College Student

You can save on college student insurance in three main ways. Bundling policies and student discounts are the two most popular methods. A third is choosing high deductibles, which means higher out-of-pocket expenses if you submit a claim.

1. Consider Bundling Policies

Bundling multiple insurance policies with the same provider can lead to significant savings.

  • Benefits of Bundling: Insurance companies often offer discounts to customers who purchase multiple types of insurance (e.g., health, auto, and renters) from them.
  • How to Bundle Effectively: Compare bundle offers from various insurers to ensure you get the best deal. Look for packages that cover all necessary insurance types at a reduced rate.

2. Check on Student Discounts

Many insurance providers offer special discounts for students.

  • Types of Discounts Available for Students: Discounts are often available for maintaining good grades, being a safe driver, or even attending college away from home.
  • How to Qualify and Apply for These Discounts: Students typically need to maintain a certain GPA (often a B average or higher) to qualify. They should provide proof of their academic standing to the insurance company. Completing a recognized driver safety course can also help with safe driver discounts.

3. Consider Higher Deductibles

Opting for higher deductibles can lower premium costs but comes with increased out-of-pocket expenses in case of a claim.

  • Pros and Cons of Higher Deductibles: Higher deductibles reduce monthly premiums but mean more out-of-pocket expenses when filing a claim. It’s a trade-off between lower regular payments and potentially higher costs if an incident occurs.
  • Impact on Premium Costs: Increasing the deductible amount can significantly reduce the cost of premiums. Students should weigh their financial ability to pay higher deductibles against the savings on their premiums.

Bottom Line

Insurance is essential for college students to protect their health, belongings, and finances. By carefully evaluating the available options and understanding the coverage details, students can choose the right policies to meet their needs.

FAQ on College Student Insurance

What Types of Insurance Do College Students Typically Need?

College students usually need health, personal property, and auto insurance. They may also consider travel insurance, tuition insurance and life insurance.

How Can College Students Find Affordable Insurance Options?

College students can find affordable insurance by bundling policies, utilizing student discounts, choosing higher deductibles, comparison shopping, and staying on a parent’s plan.

What Should College Students Consider When Choosing Health Insurance?

When choosing health insurance, college students should consider network providers, coverage options, costs, school requirements, and services the student health center provides.

Why Is Renters Insurance Important for College Students?

Renters insurance is crucial for college students to protect personal belongings against theft or damage, provide liability coverage, and cover additional living expenses if the rental becomes uninhabitable.

How Does Auto Insurance Work for College Students?

Auto insurance for college students includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. Rates depend on driving record, vehicle, location, and usage. Discounts are available for good grades and safe driving.

Should College Students Consider Life Insurance?

College students might consider minimal term life insurance to cover funeral expenses and student loans, providing financial protection and peace of mind for their families.

How Can Students Ensure They Are Not Over-Insured?

To avoid being over-insured, students should review their coverage, assess their needs, and seek professional advice to ensure optimal coverage without unnecessary extras.

What Are Some Common Pitfalls When Filing Insurance Claims?

Common pitfalls when filing insurance claims include incomplete documentation, missed deadlines, lack of follow-up, and needing to understand policy exclusions, which can delay or jeopardize a claim.

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Other Articles You Might Like:

Can Insurance Help Families Manage the Financial Risks of College Life?

How College Tuition and Renters Insurance Help Families Plan for the Unexpected

9 Things to Do After Getting Accepted to College

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