August 22, 2011

Missouri Department of Insurance: As college starts, don't forget about insurance coverage

With kids heading out, parents should check insurance policies

Jefferson City, Mo. - Heading to college - it can be one of the most exciting times in a young person's life. But the state insurance department wants college students and their parents to remember that insurance needs change when kids move away from home.

"This is an important time in the life of a young adult," Missouri Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff said. "But what shouldn't get lost among all the other important decisions to be made are the insurance issues that arise when a student leaves home."

  • Health insurance: The law allows most young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance up to age 26. The law extends benefits to young children regardless of marital status, financial dependency, enrollment in school or residency. 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.
  • Homeowners and renters insurance: Check with your insurance agent to determine if your child's possessions will be covered under your homeowners policy. If not, consider purchasing renters insurance, which averages $15 to $30 per month, depending on the location and size of the rental unit and policyholders' possessions. Renters insurance covers the tenant's possessions, but not the building itself, which is covered by the landlord's insurance.
  • Auto Insurance: If your child is taking a car to college, check with your agent. Ask about the rates for the city and state where your child will be before deciding to keep the car on the family policy. In addition, students who maintain a certain grade point average may be able to take advantage of a good-student discount.

The department also encourages college students (and all consumers) to complete a home inventory, which is an itemized checklist of all possessions. The 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 at the department's website. Students and parents with questions can contact the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit