Jun 12, 2008

Are college students covered by their parents' insurance policies?

If you've got a child headed off to college in the fall, it's not too early to start looking into their insurance coverage while they're away. I found a handy little column in the June issue of Westways, so I'll share what they say:
  • Health insurance - Most health insurance policies cover dependents up to 25 years of age if they're in school full-time. You'll want to check your own plan for its specifics, though, and talk with your child about what "full-time" means. (One dropped class could mean no health insurance - yikes!) You should also take a look at what out-of-network costs might be if your child's school is far away. If your policy doesn't cover your child, or you're worried about those out-of-network costs, you can purchase a temporary policy - I seem to recall my schools always offered one, though I never bought it (they always seemed a little shady to me - maybe they were actually catastrophic policies? - so make sure you read the fine print).
  • Property insurance - If you can still claim your child as a dependent, she will most likely be deemed part of your household and her possessions will be covered under your homeowner's policy while she's away at school. But the coverage might be limited, so check your policy and decide whether renter's insurance might be a better bet. In this situation, I would probably call up my insurance agent for guidance.
One final note: If you're bearing any kind of responsibility for your child's college education, you may want to make sure your life insurance coverage is adequate. It's occurred to me that our very first term policies will expire just as Alex heads off to college, and the polices that we acquired shortly after his birth will expire while he's still in school. I expect our finances to be such that we won't need additional policies at that point, but if we aren't as financially secure as I hope we'll be, I'll consider five-year term policies so that money won't be a source of stress in the event of the unthinkable.


ktoth04 said...

Myself and my roommate are both covered under our parents plan, but while I am automatically renewed, she has to fill out a form every year to prove she is still in school full time. It might be prudent for whoever is responsible to check every few months to make sure they are still being covered.

SavingDiva said...

I was covered on my parents' insurance all through college (and after). My school also offered health insurance for student for a small fee (I think $200/year or something like that).

Father Sez said...

We have a family health insurance package. I found out by chance that children once they reach 18 are not eligible.

The insurance company with all its fancy computer systems did not write to me to ask if we would be interested to sign up separate policies for the elder girls.


Chief Family Officer said...

@Ktoth04 - Great suggestion!

@Saving Diva - That's about what I remember, too, but I also recall the coverage not being very good. That's why I think it was more of a catastrophic policy, but it was so long ago, I can't be sure.

@Father Sez - That does not sound like a good situation. I hope you were able to find reasonably priced insurance for your older kids. You're right, you'd think the computer system would be set up to offer you options - it would make them more money!

Jerry said...

I don't know if things have changed but when I was in college I was covered by my parents' health insurance. Folks should call or check their policy to find out definitely. But, your post leads me to think that most policies cover kids through college.