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The last week of August is when most students start heading to colleges and universities. While your focus is likely on your student’s move and making sure his or her living space is safe and comfortable, don’t forget to review your insurance coverage so your student is prepared in the event they need it. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Division of Insurance offer these tips to help you review and update your insurance policies.

Home Insurance
If your student is younger than 24 years old, enrolled in classes and living in on-campus student housing, your homeownecollege move in dayrs policy will likely extend to the belongings he or she takes to college. Since most home insurance policies place limitations upon the amount of coverage available for personal property when it is away from your primary residence, you should check with your insurance agent or company to determine whether or not you need additional coverage.

If your college student is living off-campus, you should not rely on the landlord’s insurance to cover your college student’s possessions. The landlord’s insurance policy does not extend to your college student’s personal property, nor does it protect him or her from being liable for damage he or she might cause to the building inadvertently, such as a kitchen fire or plumbing mishap. Check with your insurance agent or company to determine whether a separate renter’s insurance policy for your college student may be necessary.

In addition to providing coverage for your college student’s personal belongings and liability, renter’s insurance also provides medical payments to others in the event a person in your college student’s rental property becomes injured.

A comprehensive list of your student’s possessions — including purchase prices, model numbers and serial numbers — will help determine what amount of coverage is needed. Make sure to take photos or video of the possessions and keep copies of the inventory and photos as it will help you and your student should you have to file an insurance claim following a loss.

Apps such as the NAIC myHOME Scr.APP.book application make it easy to document valuables, update inventories, and store the information for easy access after a loss.

Health Insurance
Make sure your student has copies of the relevant insurance cards and knows about obtaining referrals and approvals, if necessary, before seeking treatment. If your insurer is part of a preferred provider organization (PPO), it is important to identify and use in-network physicians and hospital services in the new college location to control your out-of-pocket costs.

If you are insured by a health maintenance organization (HMO), check to see if your student will be outside the HMO service area while away at school. If so, the student likely will have coverage for emergency care, but might have to travel to a physician or hospital within the HMO service area for routine care. Check your plan provisions or speak with your insurer to understand the benefits provided by your policy if your student needs to obtain medical care near college.

Your student can be covered on your health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old. If you choose not to cover your student, he or she has the option to apply for a private health insurance plan through the Connector.

Auto Insurance
If your student is taking a car to school, check with your agent about the existing auto insurance policy. A significant move away from home can have an impact on your student’s auto insurance rates. Ask about the rates for the college’s city and state before deciding whether to keep your student’s car on the family’s auto policy. Many insurance companies offer discounts for good grades or students who live away from home without ready access to a car.

Automobile insurance coverage primarily follows the vehicle, rather than the driver, so it is important for your student that they continue to be responsible for accidents that occur with that car even if they are caused by someone they allowed to use their car temporarily. They should also understand that most auto insurance policies for personal cars do not automatically provide coverage if they are used in a ride sharing program such as UBER or Lyft, or in a car-sharing program.

For more information visit http://www.insureuonline.org or call the Division of Insurance Consumer Service Unit at (617) 521-7794.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education.

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