Back to school is an exciting time, and not just for the kids. The changing leaves bring with it new changes in life, like sending kids off to college, introducing juniors and seniors in high school to the road, and even starting up new business ventures. Even if you don’t have kids, you could be affected by the back to school season in a variety of ways, from increased auto liability in school zones to autumn home hazards.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re completely insured this back to school season, no matter your specific lifestyle or situation.
Note: We know that back to school is going to look and feel a little differently this year due to COVID-19, but we hope it’s still filled with excitement, learning, and fun for your family!
Back to school tips if your kid is going to college…
Consider renters insurance
If your son or daughter is planning to live on campus or rent an apartment in college, they’ll likely need renters insurance. Even if the apartment complex is “approved” by the school or has a university landlord, your child needs to be insured with a distinct renters policy. Most landlords’ or university insurance will only cover the structure of the building. That means anything within the walls of the apartment, including appliances and personal possessions, should be covered with appropriate renters’ insurance.
You’ll need to purchase renters insurance in the state where your child is renting and attending school. If it’s your first time buying renters insurance, here’s how to get started.
If your son/daughter is staying in a dorm room, they may still have some personal property coverage under your homeowners insurance. Their possessions would fall under your personal property coverage, so you want to make sure you are accounting for their belongings on your homeowners contents coverage.
Before your student packs up the car and heads off to school, you may want to review all the belongings they’re bringing with them with your insurance agent. Most homeowners insurance policies put a special limit on items away from the primary residence, usually around 10% of the policy limits, which may not be enough to cover what your child is bringing to school.
You’ll also want to weigh whether making a claim on your homeowners is worth it for your family, since claims can raise your homeowners insurance rates. A renters insurance policy is a generally low cost alternative to using your homeowners for a child at school.
College insurance tips:
- Safeguard your items from theft. Lock your dorm room or apartment. Don’t leave belongings unattended. Even the safest campuses have theft, so it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.
- Leave valuables at home unless you need them. Expensive jewelry and electronics may be safer at the parents’ house.
- Consider purchasing umbrella insurance for additional liability. If your college kid accidentally causes an accident, they could be responsible for personal injury or property damage worth thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. An umbrella policy is an inexpensive way to mitigate these risks and protect your family’s assets.
- Make sure you have enough health insurance. Most policies will cover kids up to 26 years of age, but you want to make sure it covers doctors and hospitals in the state where they are going to school. You can also look into school health plans as a primary or secondary option. Please note, InsuraMatch doesn’t work with health insurance.
If your student isn’t going to be driving a car at school, you may be able to get a reduction on your auto insurance premiums. We don’t recommend removing them as a driver altogether if they plan on driving your car during breaks or over the summer, since they won’t be covered whenever they’re driving. However, if your child is attending school at least 100 miles from home, you may be able to get a “resident student discount.” This means the student is still able to drive your car, but they’re a lower risk since they’re only driving it occasionally. This could lower your bill by nearly 30% every month while still keeping them insured.
If your student is bringing a car to school, they’ll need to purchase auto insurance in the state where they’ll be living, studying, and driving. They may be able to bundle their policy with you, but it depends on the carrier.
Make sure you inquire about a good student discount. Students 25 and younger with a 3.0 or higher GPA may qualify for a discount. Sometimes this can save 5% annually!
If your teen is starting to drive…
Every high schooler dreams of rolling up behind the wheel of a cool car to pick up their friends. But a teen’s dream is often a parent’s nightmare. There’s a lot to worry about when you have a new driver on the road. Insurance is there to help.
What do you need to know about a new or teen driver?
- Add all drivers to your auto policy. If your teen will be driving your car, even occasionally, you’ll need to add them as a named driver on your insurance policy. If you don’t and they get into an accident, your insurance company won’t pay out the claim.
- If your teen has their own car, they’ll need a separate auto policy for that car. You can bundle their policy with yours to save money on both vehicles.
- Rates for young, new, and inexperienced drivers are always higher. If you’re adding them to your policy or purchasing their own insurance, the premiums will be higher than you’ve seen in the past. You can offset these costs with certain auto discounts.
- The best way to save on auto insurance—and to keep your child safe—is by having your teen take a safety driving program. A driving course can ensure your teen learns how to drive defensively, avoid distractions, and stay safe on the road. Some insurers offer discounts if you take a defensive driving course!
- Inquire about a good student discount if your teen gets good grades in school.
If you WFH or have side business…
It’s common for entrepreneur-types to start a business or side hustle in the fall. That’s because it’s right before the holiday season (the most profitable quarter for most businesses), and fall also has a sort of nostalgia and desire for change that most of us like to act on (even more so than New Year’s). We’re also anticipating that a lot of people will continue working from home this autumn 2020 as a second wave of coronavirus threatens.
Working from home or launching a side business has unique challenges, obstacles, and hazards. You’ll want the proper insurance to protect yourself, your finances, and your new business. In most cases, your professional life is not covered under your homeowners insurance. Make sure you take extra care to ensure your office property and liability are fully covered.
Learn more with the following resources:
Get ready for fall roads…
More risks pop up as the seasons change. Traffic increases in the fall, and school zones and bus stops are more hazardous. Wet leaves or ice on the road along with severe weather can make driving more dangerous as well.
Check out these fall driving safety tips to make sure you’re ready for the back to school season on the roads. You’ll also want to do some routine auto maintenance to ensure your car is able to handle the fall elements and ensure your auto liability limits are high enough.
Watch your autumn liabilities…
Fall and winter have different sorts of liability hazards than the spring and summer. For example, trick or treaters will be on your property, and you could be liable for any slips or trips they may have (even if they’re in the process of TPing your house). Holiday guests could take a tumble on a frosty driveway. Even if your kids have an issue at school, it could fall under your homeowners’ liability.
Make sure you’re fully covered against all potential liability concerns. This means ensuring your homeowners’ insurance has high enough liability limits and/or adding a supplemental umbrella policy to protect your home, family, and assets. This also means taking extra precautions to make your home as safe and welcoming as possible.
Prep your home for the winter…
Did you know that cleaning your gutters can prevent homeowners insurance claims? Even seemingly small steps can make a huge difference in safeguarding your home against cold and harsh weather.
Click to learn about the most common cold winter insurance claims and how to prevent them. We also recommend checking out these home maintenance tips for fall to make sure your house is prepared for the back to school season.
You should also consider flood insurance. Almost all homeowners insurance does not cover flood, so you need to purchase it separately. Fall is more common for flooding due to an influx of rain, snow, and ice, so you’ll want to ensure you’re fully protected—even if you’re not in a high-risk flood zone.
Put away summer toys…
Summer is just about over, which means it’s time to put away those summertime toys. If you’re not going to be using your boat, motorcycle, RV, etc., then you may want to securely store them away for the season. Then, reach out to your insurance carrier; you may be eligible for a discount on these policies during the winter season! Check out these tips to keep your toys safe in the offseason.
Happy back to school!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
As kids are preparing to start another semester, you have to prep to go into a new season with its own unique challenges. Make sure your family, home, assets, and lifestyle are fully protected with all the insurance you need.
InsuraMatch agents are here to help. With a quick phone call, we can discuss your individual needs to make sure you are well covered for any season, starting this autumn. It’s our goal to help you find the best coverage at the best price, so you can feel confident heading into the back to school season.
Need help preparing your insurance for back to school? Give our expert advisors a call today at (844) 300-3364!
Not by the phone? Request a quote or schedule a time to talk: