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Consumer Alert: Get Insurance Needs In Place For Your College-Bound Student

TOPEKA, Kan. — College students across Kansas are packing furniture, electronics and all the other necessities of college life. They will soon head to their schools for the 2014-15 term. Will they forget something? Probably. But Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, hopes it isn’t their insurance coverage needs.

“As college students head to their schools around the state, I urge them (and their parents) to check over their property and medical coverages, so they don’t have surprises down the road,’ Commissioner Praeger said.

The Commissioner, the Kansas Insurance Department (KID) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have put together the following insurance tips for Kansas college students and parents.

Health Insurance
Nearly all young adults up to age 26 can now stay on their parents’ health insurance plans because of federal legislation. That provision is not affected by marital status, financial dependency, enrollment in school, or location.

At school, students should have copies of their insurance cards and know how to seek medical treatment, the Commissioner advises. For first-time college students, knowing where the student health center is located should be on their checklist.

“If the student is insured through a network of medical providers, check to see if he/she will be in or out of the provider network service area while attending school,” Commissioner Praeger said. “That will make a difference in how much you or your student will have to pay for out-of-pocket charges.”

Another coverage option is a student health insurance plan purchased through the college; However, not all schools offer these limited plans, and some have limited benefits.

Renters Insurance
Parents should check with their insurance agents to determine whether their family homeowners policies extend to children away at school. If not, they could consider a renters policy for their students.

“The one factor to remember is a landlord’s policy doesn’t cover a renter’s personal belongings,” Commissioner Praeger said.

Taking photos or video of the possessions and keeping an inventory list in a secure location are two good ideas for recording personal belongings.

To print an easy-to-use home inventory checklist from KID and get more tips about disaster preparedness, visit www.ksinsurance.org and click on “Publications” under the Quick Links button at the top right of the home page.” Smart phone users can do an electronic inventory by using the myHOMEScr.APP.book application from the NAIC.

Even coverage for contents in the student’s car or rental vehicle before he/she gets to campus is something you should check about with your family’s insurance agent

Auto Insurance
If a student is taking a car to school, check with your local agent about the current vehicle insurance policy. Ask about the rates for the college’s city and state before deciding whether to keep the student’s car on the family’s auto policy.

Identity Theft
Identity theft insurance is limited. It can’t protect parents or students from becoming victims of identity theft, and it doesn’t cover direct financial losses.

“It does give coverage for the cost of reclaiming you or your student’s financial identity — such as the costs of making phone calls, making copies, mailing documents, taking time off from work without pay (lost wages) and hiring an attorney,” Commissioner Praeger said.

Parents should check first to see if their homeowners policies include identity theft insurance while students are away from home. If a student is renting an apartment, ask if his/her renters insurance covers identity theft, or if that could be added to the policy.

“Making the college experience a positive one requires some preparation,” Commissioner Praeger said. “That is certainly true of making sure your students’ insurance needs are covered.”

The Kansas Insurance Department, established in 1871, assists and educates consumers, regulates and reviews companies and licenses agents selling insurance products in the state. More about the department is online at www.ksinsurance.org or at www.facebook.com/kansasinsurancedepartment.

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