If you’re one of the many parents who shipped your child off to college earlier this year, you were probably caught in the whirlwind of orientation, move-in day, tuition, roommates, food money, and much more. In the midst of all the adventurous chaos, you may have overlooked some important considerations along the way. But don’t worry, when your studious academic comes home for winter break, you can sit down together and ensure you have these three things done before the spring semester starts:
Determine whether or not your child needs renter’s insurance.
When students go off to college they bring with them many personal belongings. From laptops, smartphones, cameras, TVs, and other expensive electronics to clothes, furniture and other prized possessions, the value of all that stuff adds up quickly. Depending on where your child is living, their personal belongings may or may not be protected. If your child is living in a campus dorm, their belongings may be covered by the personal contents coverage on your existing homeowner’s policy, however you should verify with your insurance advisor. If your child is living in off-campus housing, renting an apartment or a house with friends, they’ll most likely need their own renter’s insurance policy. Renter’s insurance may also provide liability coverage, which helps protect you and your child if they’re found responsible for property damage or an accident. Renter’s insurance is affordable and easy to obtain. Contact your insurance advisor to learn more.
Did your child take a car to college? Either way, you’ll want to notify your insurance advisor that your child is living away from home.
Here are some benefits of keeping your child fully insured on your auto policy if they go away to school but leave their car at home:
- They’ll be protected when they return home and drive a vehicle
- They’ll be protected if they drive another person’s vehicle while away and that vehicle isn’t insured properly
- They’ll be protected if they’re injured as a pedestrian or cyclist while away
- You may be eligible for a discount if your child is leaving the car at home
What about if your child moves away to college and brings their car?
- Notify your insurance advisor of the vehicle’s change in garage location. Depending on where your child is attending school, this could potentially save you premium dollars
- States have different minimum liability limit requirements. If your child is attending school out-of-state, your insurance advisor can tell you if the vehicle is properly covered.
- Keep in mind, that if the vehicle is titled in your child’s name, then they will need their own auto policy and cannot be listed on yours.
Has your child signed general and healthcare powers of attorney?
Once your child reaches age 18, you, as their parent, no longer have the legal authority to make their healthcare decisions or manage their finances. This is true even if you are paying their tuition, providing their health insurance and claiming them as a dependent. It’s especially important if your child is far away at school, in another state or even studying abroad. By having an attorney draft, and your child sign, a durable power of attorney, the named agent (probably you) will have the authority to help manage finances and make financial decisions on behalf of your child, should it become necessary. Additionally, being named as an agent in your child’s healthcare power of attorney authorizes you to make medical decisions on your adult child’s behalf, gain access to their medical records and obtain information about any health-related incidents or conditions. Without this power of attorney, if a car or athletic accident or something as minor as a short-term illness were to occur, you’d be unable to step in for your child.
While your child is home on break, you should make sure to sit down together to review these important items, contact your insurance advisor and schedule an appointment with you, your child and your estate planning attorney.