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Minnesota Commerce Department urges college students and their families to do homework on insurance needs and coverage

8/19/2016 9:35:14 AM

For Immediate Release:

With many Minnesota students headed off to college this month, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is encouraging families to do some advance homework on their students’ insurance needs while at school.

“Even as students look forward to college, they also need to think ahead to protect themselves against risks and unforeseen costs,” said Rothman, whose agency regulates the insurance industry. “Parents also want the peace of mind and financial security that insurance can provide when their child is away at school. It’s important to take some time to do your homework both to confirm what insurance coverage you already have and to shop around for any additional coverage that might be needed.”

Rothman offers the following tips for both parents and college students compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Auto Insurance 

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

If your student maintains good grades, let the insurance company know. Good grades can save money with a discount on the insurance premium.

The WreckCheck smartphone app from the NAIC will help if your student is involved in a crash. It offers a step-by-step process to create an accident report and file an insurance claim. WreckCheck is available free at the iPhone and Android app stores.

Renters Insurance

Many students bring thousands of dollars’ worth of personal items to school, including electronics, furniture and bicycles. 

If your student is living on campus, confirm with your agent that your homeowners policy will cover the student’s personal possessions. If the student is living off campus, renters insurance should be considered because the landlord’s policy will not cover a renter’s damaged or stolen personal property. Renters insurance can also provide liability coverage against a medical claim or lawsuit if, for example, someone slips and gets hurt while at your apartment.

Students should maintain an up-to-date inventory list of personal possessions and keep it in a secure location. A photo or video inventory is even better.

The NAIC offers a smartphone app that makes it easier to document your student’s valuables and store the information for easy access when needed. It’s available free at the iPhone and Android app stores. If you prefer the low-tech method, the Minnesota Commerce Department website also offers a Home Inventory Checklist that can be printed out and completed.

Health Insurance

Nearly all young adults up to age 26 can now stay on their parents’ health insurance plans because of the Affordable Care Act. Marital status, financial dependency, enrollment in school and location don’t affect this option.

If the family insurance plan has a network of preferred medical providers, confirm that in-network providers are available where your student is attending college. That can make a big difference for out-of-pocket costs for care. At school, students should have their health insurance cards and know how and where to seek medical treatment.

Another coverage option is a student health insurance plan purchased through the college. Check with your college about availability and the details of coverage and costs.

Commerce is here to help

If you have a question or concern about insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us
or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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