DEARBORN, MI, (August 22, 2018) — Many Michigan families are sending their children off to college in the coming days and weeks. It’s critical that parents check their insurance policies and how these changes will affect their college student. With coordinating things like tuition fees, books and meal plans, some families don’t consider the new risks that heading to college can create. The risks include loss of personal property without adequate coverage, liability and identity theft.
“Many parents and guardians consider college to be a life-changing experience for students, but it could actually have an impact on our insurance needs as well,” said Randy Williams, Vice President of Michigan Field Operations, AAA – The Auto Club Groups.
Review Auto Coverage
If a student is attending school 100 miles or more away from home and will not take a vehicle with him, the family may be able to list him as an “occasional driver” with the insurance company and save money. Conversely, if a student does take her vehicle to college and is shuttling others to and from their hometown on a regular basis, the family is open to a greater liability risk. “It is in the parent’s interest to review the bodily injury limits on the auto policy and even consider an umbrella policy,” added Williams.
Understand the Difference Between Homeowners’ and Renter’s Insurance
Many homeowners’ policies will cover a child’s personal belongings while at college if damaged by fire, water, or other perils named in the policy. However, you need to consider the limitations of the policy and if that will be enough to replace what was damaged.
A homeowners’ policy will likely cover a student living in a dorm, but AAA suggests that students who rent off-campus housing consider renters insurance.
“Renters insurance is an affordable way to protect personal property when students are living away from home,” noted Randy Williams.
Protect Personal Property
Dorm rooms can be a treasure trove for thieves due to the number of electronics—like laptops, tablets, smartphones and gaming systems – that are kept there. The U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security survey shows that out of 37,000 criminal offences on 11,000 campuses in 2016, burglary and motor vehicle theft counted for more than half of all (51%) crimes. Parents should review their policy to see what is covered and add additional limits for specific items, like expensive laptops or musical instruments, if needed.
Protect Your Student’s Identity
People fall victim to identity fraud every two seconds, creating significant risk, especially for students. AAA helps make identity theft protection easier with ProtectMyID® Essentialcoverage for free for members. It provides daily monitoring of credit reports, fraud resolution assistance, and Lost Wallet Protection.
“If your student’s wallet is lost or stolen it can be a difficult and time-consuming process to replace the items,” added Williams. ProtectMyID’s Lost Wallet Protection can ease the process of replacing your credit cards and preregistered debit and medical ID cards with a dedicated Fraud Resolution Agent.
AAA recommends these tips to help keep your student safe while away at college
- Create a “dorm inventory,” with photos, of all valuable items that will be in the dorm. Save a copy electronically and leave the other copy at home.
- Leave valuable or irreplaceable items at home.
- Lock dorm room door once on campus.
- Never leave belongings unattended on campus
- Refrain from social media postings about or which include photos of their valuables.
- Purchase a AAA membership for your student and enroll in ProtectMyID®