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Liability Coverage for Your College Bound Kids

Liability Coverage for Your College Bound Kids

With Summer vacations coming to an end, I wanted to touch base on an issue near and dear to my heart. I have joined the ranks of having a high school graduate off to college so I wanted to take a moment to discuss the insurance implications and how your policy covers various situations which could arise.  Those of you without kids away from home, hang in there, some of this will relate to you as well. First, let’s talk about liability away from home.  Your personal liability coverage applies to you while away from home so that in certain situations you would have coverage for an event which you become legally liable for.

Here’s an example:
You rent a hotel room with a kitchenette and decide to make something to eat.  As it’s cooking, you doze off and a fire breaks out. Your personal liability from a homeowner’s or renter’s policy would respond to cover the damages.

Now, back to your kids. If they are in a college dorm, personal liability coverage would apply to them as well.  If they are renting an apartment, it can be a bit more tricky because they might have their name on a lease, which creates contractual liability between the child and the landlord of the rental property.  Once they cross that threshold, we typically would recommend implementing a renter’s insurance policy.  They are typically very affordable, with $20K-$30K of personal property and $300K liability usually costing between $100-125 annually.

Second, let’s discuss personal property away from home. This coverage varies from carrier to carrier so call your agent to confirm any specific questions. The most common coverage on a homeowner’s or renter’s policy provides 10% of the personal property limit off premises. Some plans may have limitations if it is a permanent residence off premises (careful on kids renting versus dorm room at college, rental could be considered permanent and dorm temporary). There may also be limitations on the coverage territory with some covering worldwide and others only covering the U.S.  It is best to call your agent with specific questions, but know that you have at least some protection for your personal property while it is away from home.

With vehicles, there are many scenarios to discuss. It’s important to keep in mind that the vehicle insurance goes with the titled owner of the car. If your child has your vehicle at school, you are protected while your child or any other permissive user is driving the car.  Most policies also allow for coverage if you or children are driving a vehicle owned by someone else who is not insured. The liability protection from your policy would apply in most cases if this were to happen.  As stated before, there are many variables here that could become factors if anything were to happen. The best thing to do is call your agent to make sure your specific circumstance is covered and that you know the rules surrounding your policy.

Thanks again for allowing us to protect your families.

Jon Oaks

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