Types of Insurance Your College Student Might Need
Insurance for everything, from any special equipment required for school to health insurance, can be a vital part of your family’s budget.
Nora Savosnick is a photojournalism student from Norway who is studying in New York. She has a lot of expensive camera equipment that she carries with her all around the city.
If she were a student without insurance, and for some reason had to replace this equipment, it would be impossible for her to do so.
Luckily, Nora does have coverage from her travel insurance policy.
It has allowed her to replace a stolen coat and a few other items, but the best thing it did was give her the security in knowing that she could continue her photography studies if any of her equipment was lost or worse, stolen.
Review these types of insurance carefully to see what your student does and doesn’t need:
Health Insurance Options for College Students
Health insurance is the most complicated topic among college insurance options.
If you have health insurance through your employer, keeping your college students on your policy is the best way to go.
You just want to make sure your insurance has in-network providers in the city where your student attends college.
Keep in mind, however, if you have your own insurance, you may need a waiver from the school to avoid purchasing theirs.
(Student health insurance can add up to thousands of dollars as an addition cost to attend college.)
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 the coverage by showing proof of insurance every year.
If your student doesn’t have insurance through you, options to buy health insurance beyond the college offerings are through the health insurance exchange and Medicaid – if the student can prove financial need.
Subsidies may also be available if you are no longer declaring your college student on your tax returns.
For primary care, check into what services the student health center provides and at what cost. Co-pays can range from being nominal to very expensive for basic care.
What Is Tuition Refund Insurance?
If you are concerned your child may leave school for reasons from anxiety to serious illness, tuition insurance can provide reimbursement for expenses from tuition to room and board.
Before you consider purchasing tuition insurance, check with the college and look at all refund dates for tuition, fees, and room and board. Then compare the cost of tuition insurance with what you could potentially lose.
If you don’t have tuition insurance and your student leaves school mid-semester, past refund dates, discuss options with the school accounting department to see if part of tuition or room and board payments can be refunded.
How Much Is Car Insurance for Students?
The larger and more expensive question when considering whether your teen needs their own car insurance is whether your student will be driving their own car while in college.
If the student will won’t be driving their own car, you may not need car insurance at all or can just keep them on your policy for when they drive at home.
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.
Expenses related to cars can up up quickly: parking fees, gas, repairs, maintenance, and insurance.
Should College Students Have Life Insurance?
A student can get a minimal policy with a life insurance company to cover funeral expenses and the cost of repaying student loans if something happens.
Term life insurance for a ten-year period should be fairly cheap, sometimes as little as a few dollars per month.
Renters or Dorm Insurance? Which Is better?
No matter whether your student is renting an apartment or living in the dorms, they’ll need some sort of insurance to protect their belongings in case of instances such as fire or theft.
It can also cover situations when a students drops their phone or accidentally spills something on it.
Travel insurance can cover items you never thought of and can even cover students at college.
Review policies carefully for locations covered by insurance, such as being at least 30 miles from home. They will also cover when trips are canceled for varying reasons.
Review policies carefully for what is and isn’t covered and under what circumstances.
General Note: For this insurance and any other, check carefully what items may be excluded from coverage. For instance, jewelry or expensive electronics equipment may not be covered.
With the travel insurance Nora purchased, she paid an extra premium to cover her camera equipment.
Cell Phone and Tablet Insurance
Cell phone or tablet insurance from your carrier may actually be duplicate insurance your student already has from dorm protection or travel insurance.
The only difference may be as a warranty for repairs. Generally, phones and tablets are covered under warranties by the manufacturer for the first year. So coverage may be necessary for the second year, but not the first.
Get everything in writing and look at insurance as a package.
I learned the hard way with a recent “buy one, get one free” cell phone offer that if you don’t get the offer in writing, it can be rendered invalid.
Three different supervisors told me the second phone would be free and then I was charged $700.
Before you make decisions about insurance, don’t trust what the insurance person says without seeing a sample policy. Print out policies, so you can highlight similar coverages.
That way you don’t buy two policies that do the exact same thing.
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