Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Off to College? Don't Forget Insurance


...ignoring needed coverage can punch a hole in your budget if you break an arm or a member of the campus "entrepreneurial class" steals your student's laptop computer.

Don't forget to pack the health and personal property insurance when you head to college this fall.

Both are affordable because most students are healthy and don't have a lot of expensive stuff. But ignoring needed coverage can punch a hole in your budget if you break an arm or a member of the campus "entrepreneurial class" steals your student's laptop computer.

Many people forego health insurance because of its perceived high cost. The health of most 18- to 21-year-olds makes insurance an affordable safeguard.

Your student's college may have negotiated a group rate with a carrier that probably costs less than individual coverage. An individual policy allows you to tailor coverage to the needs of your student. If your student has no chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, consider a plan with a high deductible, moderate co-pay and hefty catastrophic coverage. Deductibles can range from $500 to $3,000. Be sure to compare premiums and deductibles.

Shop around for a plan that provides health and wellness checkups. Don't over-insure, but be sure to cover any known conditions. Remember that the first step into adulthood may be uncertain and your student may simply need to talk to someone about academic pressure in a new environment. Many plans cover visits with a mental health professional up to a pre-determined amount.

There also temporary health plans offering coverage for 30, 60, 90 or 180 days. Such plans can provide stopgap coverage as you investigate permanent coverage or can be used to cover the gap between graduation and your student's first job.

The key: Shop around to find the best coverage for your student's needs at a good price. The insurance industry is highly competitive and carriers offer an array of plans to match various budgets.

For a wealth of information regarding students and making wise financial decisions, go to Scott Reeve's Smart Students, Smart Money.

Many health plans don't have caps on wellness and preventative care. Most plans pitched to students provide out-of-state coverage to accommodate travel. You can buy overseas coverage, too.

Many colleges require students to carry health insurance to enroll. If you're covered by the policy provided by your parents' employer, you're home free. If not, it's time to shop around.

In general, coverage for your personal property is reasonably priced. Be sure to photograph your more expensive items – computer, stereo, iPod and music collection – and store the images somewhere other than your laptop's hard drive. Think about keeping one set of images on a hard-drive at home and have a second set available at school, perhaps stored in an e-mail account. Gather your receipts and make copies so you can quickly and accurately establish the value of your property if it's stolen or damaged.

Talk to the campus police about engraving your name and Driver's License number on your laptop and other items. This may deter some thieves and it will make it easier for the police to return your property if it's recovered.

Campus honor codes notwithstanding, take basic steps to protect your property. Lock things away when you're out of your room and tuck your laptop under your arm whenever you leave your study carrel at the library. No kidding – simple things like that will sharply reduce the chances that your stuff will be stolen.

If your parents have taken care of the auto insurance when you were a high school student, now's a good time to learn the basics. Most undergraduates are under 25, and this is likely to boost your rates – especially for men who, on average, tend to be higher risk drivers.

Your parents may be able to carry you on their policy while at school. You may be able to save some money by completing an approved driver's training class and by maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Getting nailed for dumb moving violations such as speeding or an unsafe lane change will jack your rates immediately. A DUI or accident where you're at fault will send your rates through the roof of the campanile.

The type of car you drive also affects your rates. If you're looking to save money, simple beats flashy, four cylinders tops a V-8.

You've heard the expression "C-Y-A." Well, kids, that's what insurance is all about.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos