Sunday, August 3, 2008
Insurance Needs of College Students
by Kim Lynch
It's finally happened. Your son or daughter is preparing to go off to college. You want his or her experience to be as seamless as possible, and that means staying on top of the bigger responsibilities like insurance.
More than likely, you'll have another four years to worry about keeping your child insured with health benefits, car insurance and even renter's insurance. Unfortunately, many parents get so caught up in the other financial aspects of sending their children off to college like tuition, room and board and other expenses that they forget just how important insurance is... until it's too late.
By ensuring that you have the proper coverage for your child, you're eliminating the possibility of having to incur loftier expenses down the line. From a broken bone to a car collision to an apartment burglary, there are plenty of unwanted mishaps that can take place, which is why it's so important to protect your child -- and yourself -- from the get-go.
While some insurance companies allow full-time students to remain on their parent's health plan, others do not. Some insurers only permit students to stay on the health plan until the age of 22, regardless of whether they're still in school or not. Another thing to consider is if your insurance plan will cover your child if they're attending a school that is out of state.
According to the American College Health Association (ACHA), between 12 to 15 percent of all college students are without health insurance. And it's quite possible that the other 85 percent don't have enough coverage. Many universities are now making it a requirement for students to have health insurance before they can attend the school.
In fact, a survey conducted by the ACHA revealed that at least 80 percent of private schools and almost 40 percent of public schools are making healthinsurance mandatory. Without adequate coverage, students can find themselves faced with serious debt if they suffer a serious illness or injury. According to Cindy Andreatos, Enrollment Specialist at Design Savers Medical Plans indicates, ‘Today a stint in the hospital can cost $40,000.00 and that's a lot to pay off. And if by chance if you don’t pay your bill in a timely manner, Hospitals and Healthcare providers can hurt your credit rating.’
Both students and parents can't afford not to have proper health insurance coverage. Luckily, there are plenty of companies out there that offer reasonable coverage for college students.
Take www.studentshealthinsurance.com, www.acsa.com, www.studentresources.com and others. All of these companies provide health insurance policies for full-time college students, college graduates or international students.
But insurance goes beyond healthcare. Parents also must consider automobile insurance and renter's insurance. Maybe your child is taking their own car to college or perhaps they're taking one of your cars. It's integral to make sure that you have adequate auto coverage in the event of an accident.
This is something that should be taken care of before your child ever leaves home. Where they'll be attending school will likely affect the amount of money you pay. Other factors include their grade point average, whether or not they're bringing the car to school and whose name the policy is under.
Regardless of what your situation is do some research. Check out websites such as www.Student.AutoCarInsurance.org, www.Student.AutoInsure.org, www.statefarm.com or www.geico.com to learn about the policy options for your child.
Although many parents may stay on top of health and auto insurance, renter's insurance is often forgotten. Ironically, renter's insurance can be a lifesaver - and definitely a moneysaver -- if your child is the victim of a burglary or a natural disaster such as a fire or hurricane. For just $15 to $30 a month, parents and students can rest easy knowing that they're covered in the event of a catastrophic event.
Unless you can afford to replace computers, DVD players, televisions, furniture and other costly belongings, renter's insurance is likely one small expense you won't want to forego. No parent ever wants to imagine the worst case scenario involving their child. However, by being prepared, parents and students will have a recovery plan in place in the case of an emergency.
Websites such as www.allstate.com, www.csiprotection.com, insuremydormroom.com, and www.nssinc.com and others all offer quotes and policies for college students.
There's nothing more exciting than watching your son or daughter go off to college. However, you'll sleep easier knowing that you have all the bases covered to guarantee that the finances of both you and your child are protected.
And that's the best insurance money can buy.