August 17, 2015

Missouri Department of Insurance reminds parents and students to review insurance needs for back to school

Students' belongings may not be covered by homeowners policy

Jefferson City, Mo. - As students and their parents gear up for heading back to school, the Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging families to review their insurance policies to see what is covered while students are away at college.

"Life changes such as moving away to college can impact your insurance coverage," said John M. Huff, director of the Department of Insurance. "It's important to understand what your coverage is now so you are covered if you have to file a claim."

Huff says insurance needs and coverage may change when a student leaves for college. Missourians can learn about insurance before leaving home by watching DIFP Weekly - Back to School. He also offers these tips for families to make sure their college-bound students are properly covered:

  • Auto insurance: If your child is taking a car to college, check with your insurance agent. The price and coverage of your policy may change based on the city and state where your child will live. Also, see if your insurance company offers a discount for a student's good grades. The department has an auto insurance guide and video that provide basic information. The video and guide are located on the department's website at http://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/auto/auto.php.
  • Homeowners and renters insurance: Ask your agent if your child's possessions will be covered by your homeowners policy. Some policies cover a student's possessions if they live on campus. For students living off campus, consider renters insurance, which costs about $8-21 per month. A landlord's policy will only cover the building, not the tenant's possessions. The department has a video that highlights basic renters insurance on its website, insurance.mo.gov.
  • Health insurance: Most young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance up to age 26, regardless of marital status, financial dependency, residence or enrollment in school. 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 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 on the website, along with free smartphone apps. They are available http://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/home/homeinventorychecklist.php.

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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