Summer is coming to an end, and the beginning of the new school year is around the corner.
As the parent of two college students and one who recently graduated, I understand how exciting this time is for students and parents.
Whether you are a recent high school graduate going into college or a nervous parent getting ready for your child’s first day, it is important to review your insurance policies to make sure your entire family is properly covered.
During this busy time of year, I want to remind Oklahomans that having proper insurance can provide greater peace of mind all year long and protect their family from financial disaster.
Here are some insurance tips parents and students should consider before heading to school.
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If your student is moving into a dorm room, your homeowners policy will likely cover their belongings in case of a loss.
Ask your child to let you know if they buy a new computer or other pricey items. You’ll need to check with your insurance company to ensure your coverage will take care of these things.
Students living off-campus should consider renters insurance. This coverage will protect students’ belongings and protect them if someone is injured on the property.
Premiums for renters insurance range between $15-$30 a month, depending on the location and size of the rental unit and the value of the possessions. Whether they live on campus or off-campus, a home inventory is a good idea. The list of items will make a future insurance claim quicker and easier to settle.
Oklahoma requires every car to have auto liability coverage or otherwise meet the financial responsibility requirements of Oklahoma law.
Auto liability insurance pays for property damage and bodily injury to someone else if you are found responsible for an accident, up to the policy’s limits.
If the title to the car is in your student’s name, they will have to have their own policy. If your college student is driving a vehicle you own, your child can likely stay on your policy.
If your student is heading to college without a vehicle, you might be eligible for a “student away at school” car insurance discount. Check with your insurance agent or insurance company and let them know where the car will be stored if the address differs from what’s on the policy.
Students have several options for health insurance coverage while away at college. If your children are covered under your insurance now, chances are they will still be covered while away at school. Any insurance plan that offers dependent coverage must make that available until the dependent is 26.
Many colleges and universities also offer their own student health insurance plans. The premiums and features vary widely from school to school. Check with your student’s school health center to see available coverage options.
Denied insurance claims
If your family experiences a claim denial or settlement disagreement, you can file a complaint at oid.ok.gov. The Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance team serves to mediate claims between policyholders and insurance companies.
If you have questions about other insurance issues, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit the website.
Glen Mulready is Okahoma’s insurance commissioner.
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