August, when we send our kids off to college, is one of the busiest times of year. It’s a bittersweet time too. So hard to say goodbye. You fight back tears and memories of them oh so little.
I’ve experienced this too.
We just want them to be safe and happy.
Of course, we can’t do as much now to protect them as when they were little.
But we can make sure that our insurance still covers them properly.
The Twins head for college
“The Twins,” Denise and David, packed their bags and headed off for college.
Denise is the long-distance traveler- she flew back to school at Michigan State University. She’s hundreds of miles away, and lives on-campus. No. Car. Needed. She told Mom and Dad to put her car in the garage and drop her and the car from insurance. She guessed that she would be fine.
David, on the other hand, stayed closer to home. He’s only 30 miles away at Berkeley City College. He rented an off-campus apartment. He brought all his stuff to his new apartment... and he has a lot of stuff. Expensive stuff. But he still considers Mom and Dad’s home, “home,” so he guesses that Mom and Dad’s homeowners policy covers his personal possessions just like before.
The Guesses and Gaps
Mom and Dad (fictional), along with Denise and David (also fictional), have made some guesses about insurance. The life changes are big. The stakes are high. And guesses can cause gaps in coverage.
Every situation and policy is different. But I’ll mention several red flags in these decisions.
Red flag on Denise’s decision
There are many reasons why Denise should consider staying on her folks’ policy. First, there are several benefits from her staying on Mom and Dad’s policy, even if she isn’t currently driving her car. Things like “continuous coverage” and “uninsured motorist” and other insurancy-things. An agent can explain these benefits, and why they matter.
Second, dropping all coverage on her car means that it’s not covered even for inexpensive comprehensive coverage, which would be necessary if the garage were to catch fire.
Finally, when she comes home, it’s easy to forget to add her back to the policy... and that’s a recipe for trouble. Many companies offer a discount when “Denise” is more than 100 miles away from home.
But even if they don’t, she should consider remaining on the policy. Dropping all coverage is a risk that’s often not worth the savings.
Red flag on David’s decision
Most homeowners insurance policies will not provide coverage for “David” if he is living in his own apartment... even if he’s in college full time. It’s not a dorm, and that can make a big difference to some insurance companies.
Even if his insurance company extended personal property protection in this situation... it’s often limited. David has expensive stuff. His guess could cost him big time.
Now is the perfect time to make sure there are no gaps in coverage. You’ve said goodbye to “Denise and David.” If you have a bit more time... it’s time to say “hello” to your trusted local agent.
Call your agent and have a chat over the phone or over coffee. Discuss the life changes you just went through. Make sure your insurance still does the job of protecting your entire family.
Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates helping clients with insurance needs for personal, commercial and business insurance. Bruce can be reached at 707-931-0186, firstname.lastname@example.org