By Lorie Ham
Another fall is upon us, which for some, means sending our kids off to college. If they are living away from home, it can bring a lot of changes to your life—an emptier house, less food to cook, and perhaps some extra quiet time. It can also bring other changes that need to be considered—such as, does your insurance need to change?
Mennonite Insurance agent Michelle Heinrichs faced those same questions recently. The first thing they did was review their contents and liability coverage under their renter’s policy to make sure that the policy coverage would extend to their son while in the dorms.
”We confirmed that while he considers our home his primary home—comes home at Christmas and Summer vacations—he can be considered an insured under the policy until he is 25. When he moves into an apartment at the beginning of the next school year, most companies would consider him on his own and this will not allow him to fall under our policy. So, we plan to get him his own contents policy then.”
So what if your student is living in an apartment already? Mennonite Aid Plan offers a Renter’s policy if the student lives in a home. If a student needs coverage for living in an apartment, they can offer them coverage through their agency side. “Just note that coverage is for the named insured and not the roommate,” continues Michelle. “A common misunderstanding is that the policy coverage extends to all residents of the home/apartment. These policies are not able to be written that way. Each roommate would need their own coverage for their own risk exposures.”
Another insurance question may come up if the student has their own car. Michelle’s son does have his own car, and he took it with him to school. What they did in this instance was to update their auto policy to show the new “garaging address.” According to Michelle, all vehicles should have an accurate garaging location. “There are possibly different risks depending on locations.”
However, many kids do not take a car to college with them. In trying to save on their premium, their parents might choose to remove them from the policy while they are away at college. “If there is ANY chance a student might drive a friend’s car, the exposure is still there, and it is best to not exclude them from the policy,” shares Michelle. “If an accident occurs while the student is driving, it could be catastrophic if no coverage is in place on their behalf. If you are wondering, review this with your own insurance agency.”
So make sure that you do your homework so your college student has all of the coverage they need. If you have questions about any of these situations, feel free to reach out to Mennonite Insurance Services and they will be happy to help. Mennonite Insurance offers coverage for all of these needs. Be sure to visit their website, and give them a call with any questions at (559) 638-2327.