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Q: My son is starting college soon. What types of insurance might a freshman need to know about?

 

A: Once your son goes to college, his insurance needs may become slightly more complex than they were when he was in high school.

 

Health insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, students under the age of 26 can remain on their parents' health care insurance. But did you know that he may be able to get coverage under the university's student health care plan? Also, students can buy coverage on the federal or state open market.

 

The ACA's website, healthcare.gov, offers information about health care options for young adults, and college students in particular. Compare costs and see which option makes the most sense for your family.

 

Life insurance. While unpleasant to think about, you or your son may need to consider life insurance.

 

Student loans are a huge liability. Whether you are a co-signer or your son has taken the loans out for himself, life insurance could help cover the costs of student loans should something catastrophic happen to them.

 

Renter's insurance. If your child lives off-campus, they need to think like any other apartment-dweller about renter's insurance.

 

Your homeowner's policy may provide limited coverage of a child's personal property — and have large deductibles. Compare that to the pros and cons of a renter's policy, perhaps even under your child's name.

 

Car insurance. If your child is bringing a car to campus, review your policy. Ask about special discounts: Some insurers provide discounts for students with a B average or better.

 

Umbrella insurance. Finally, as an extra measure of security, you may want to look into umbrella insurance. This extra liability insurance is designed to kick in when the liability on other policies runs out.

 

Types of liability covered under an umbrella policy (but often excluded from, say, a homeowner's policy) includes false arrest, libel/slander, or invasion of privacy. It can help protect your savings in cases of major claims or lawsuits.

 

Help protect your college-aged child and safeguard your own finances by re-examining your family's insurance needs.

 

In addition, reviewing your insurance needs can provide a teachable moment. Talk to your child about all these important considerations so they can grow to become financially savvy adults.