Thursday, August 9, 2012


Parents – It’s Time for an Off-to-School Review of Insurance

DES MOINES, IOWA, AUGUST 9, 2012 Sending a student to college can be an emotional and trying time.

Remembering to pack everything they will need while away from home is a challenge — and so is understanding

all of the various and changing insurance needs. The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) encourages families to

examine and consider The following tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to

help them review and update their insurance policies to cover their college student.

Health Insurance

Any insurance plan or issurer that offers dependent coverage must make that available until the dependent reaches

age 26, according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Both married and unmarried dependents

qualify for this coverage. Until 2014, if the parent's coverage is through an employer, and the dependent is eligible

for coverage through his or her own job, the parent's plan is not required to provide coverage.

Know Your Policy

Before leaving home, make sure your student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards and knows about

obtaining referrals and approvals (if necessary) before seeking treatment. If you are insured by a health

maintenance organization (HMO), check to see if your student will be outside the HMO service area while away

at school. If this occurs, the student likely will have coverage for emergency care, but might have to travel to a

physician or hospital within the HMO service area for routine care. If your insurer is part of a preferred provider

organization (PPO), your insurer may pay benefits at out-of-network levels if you are outside your network.

Check your plan provisions or speak with your insurer to find out what level of benefits are provided by your


Student Health Insurance Plans

If your student's healthcare coverage is limited by the network service area, another option is a student health

insurance plan. These plans are sold by an insurer that has contracted with a college to offer coverage to its

students. In general, these plans have more limited benefits and more exclusions than traditional health insurance

plans. Many policies also will exclude routine examinations and injuries sustained while under the influence of

alcohol or drugs.

Renter's Insurance

Many students bring thousands of dollars worth of personal items — such as electronics, a computer, textbooks,

clothes, furniture or a bicycle — with them to school. So, whether your student is living on- or off-campus, it's a

good idea to review your homeowners policy to see whether your student's personal items will be covered.

Does Your Student Need Renter's Insurance?

If your student is younger than 26 years old, enrolled in classes and living in on-campus housing, your

homeowners policy will likely extend to the belongings they take with them. However, if your student is living

off-campus, talk with your insurance agent about whether your homeowners coverage will extend to the rental

property. If it does not, you might want to consider renter's insurance to protect your student's personal property in

the event that it is damaged, destroyed or stolen.

A Home Inventory

A comprehensive list of your student's possessions — including purchase prices, model numbers and serial

numbers — will help you decide how much renter's insurance your student will need. It's also a good idea to have

a detailed inventory in case of disaster, as it will help you and your student should you have to file an insurance

claim following a loss. Make sure to take photos or video of the possessions, and store the inventory in a secure,

off-site location. Parents should also keep a copy of the inventory and photos.

The NAIC myHOME application makes it easier for you to document your student's valuables,

update their inventories and store the information for easy access after a disaster. The app is free and available for

both iPhone® and Android® smart phone users.

To download an easy-to-use home inventory checklist and get more tips about disaster preparedness, visit

The Big Move

Before you pack all of your student's belongings into a car or rental trailer, make sure to talk with your insurance

agent about insuring the contents. Ask if your homeowners insurance policy will cover the belongings in the

student's car or rental trailer before they get to campus. If your student is going to live off-campus, ask your

insurance agent if coverage in their renter's policy will extend to the belongings during the move. If not, ask your

insurance agent about a separate rider in case of accident or theft.

Auto Insurance

A significant move away from home can have a big impact on your auto insurance policy. If your student is taking

a car with them to school, check with your agent about the existing insurance policy. Ask about the rates for the

college's city and state before deciding whether to keep your student's car on the family's auto policy. In addition,

the insurance company should be notified each semester if the student maintains good grades. Maintaining a

certain G.P.A. might make your child eligible for a good student discount.

For more tips on how to keep your auto insurance costs down when your teens start to drive, visit

Identity Theft

As a college student, your child may be more vulnerable to identity theft because of the availability of personal

information and the way many students handle this data. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the

United States, costing victims more than $5 billion annually.

College students are more likely to be hit by identity thieves because they are generally unprepared to protect

themselves when the steady stream of requests for personal information begin.

Identity Theft Insurance

Identity theft insurance cannot protect you or your student from becoming a victim of identity theft and does not

cover direct monetary losses incurred as a result. Instead, identity theft insurance provides coverages for the cost

of reclaiming your 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.

Before You Buy

Check to see if your homeowners policy includes identity theft insurance, and ask your insurance agent if this

extends to your a student living away from the your primary residence. If not, you might be able to purchase a

stand-alone policy from another insurer, bank or credit card company. If your student is renting an apartment, ask

if their renter's insurance covers identity theft, or if it could be added to the policy.

For More Information on Identity Theft

For tips on protecting your student from identity theft, visit

For more information on what to do if either of you becomes a victim, visit the Federal Trade Commission

website or the U.S. Department of Education website.

Your Insurance Options

For more information about auto, home, life and health insurance options, as well as tips for choosing the

coverage that is right for you and your family, visit

About the Iowa Insurance Division

The Consumer Advocate for Insurance represents consumer interests within the Iowa Insurance Division.

The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) has general control, supervision and direction over all insurance and

securities business transacted in the state, and enforces Iowa’s insurance and securities laws and

regulations. The IID investigates consumer complaints and prosecutes companies, agents and brokers

engaging in unfair trade practices. Consumers with insurance or securities-related questions or complaints

may contact the IID toll free at 877-955-1212 or visit the Division on the web at