August 16, 2012

Department of Insurance urges Missouri families to review insurance coverage before kids head to college

Student's new address may require changes to insurance policies

Jefferson City, Mo. - When checking off items for college, the Missouri Department of Insurance wants to remind students and parents not to forget insurance coverage.

"College students will be heading to school soon, some for the first time," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "That brings a lot of work and preparation, and we want to remind parents and students that insurance shouldn't get lost in the shuffle."

Huff says insurance needs and coverage may change when a student moves away to college. He offers these tips for families to make sure their students are properly covered when they're off at school:

  • Auto insurance: If your child is taking a car to college, check with your insurance agent about your coverage. The price and coverage of your policy may change based on the city and state where your child will live. In addition, ask whether your insurance company offers a good-student discount for maintaining a certain grade-point average.
  • Homeowners and renters insurance: Ask your agent if your child's possessions will be covered under your homeowners policy. Some homeowners policies cover a student's possessions if they live in on-campus housing. If your student will be renting, consider purchasing renters insurance, which averages $8 to $21 per month, depending on the amount of coverage. Some renters wrongly believe their landlord's insurance will cover their possessions in case of fire, storm damage or theft. Most landlords' policies only cover the building, not tenants' possessions. Renters insurance also covers tenants from liability for damage to the landlord's property, such as a kitchen fire.
  • Health insurance: Most young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance up to age 26, regardless of marital status, financial dependency, enrollment in school or residence. Students should take copies of their insurance cards and check their parents' health insurance plans to know which physicians and hospitals are in their network while away at school.

The department also encourages college students, as well as all consumers, to complete a home inventory, which is an itemized checklist of all possessions. A home inventory can make the process of filing a claim much more efficient in the event of fire, storm damage or theft.

An easy-to-use home inventory checklist is available for free at the department's website, along with free smartphone apps for iPhone and Android.

Students and parents with insurance questions can contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

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