As you prepare to send your child off to college with the latest fashions, state-of-the-art technology, hottest wheels and a passion for social media mingling consider the following exposures to help ensure that you have the right coverage in place to properly protect your most valuable assets: your child and your wealth.
Vigor for Vogue
Typically colleges/universities do not insure the personal property of its students. The sincere joy and sweat equity you took in purchasing the trendiest dormitory decor, electronics, computing, cooking/eating supplies and bedding essentials could be gone in sixty seconds or go up in smoke; Literally. Students living on campus should purchase their own renters insurance if not covered under your homeowner policy to protect their belongings in the event of fire, theft or vandalism. Generally, homeowner policies provide coverage for personal possessions stored off premises up to the policy limits. Check your current homeowner policy to see how and if personal property coverages extend to your student.
Tenacious Techie with Wild Wild Wi-Fi
Encourage your student to take steps in locking electronics and laptops in safe places by keeping their dorm room locked when stepping out or purchasing a small safe. Unauthorized access is potentially a major problem for students who use a computer or high-tech devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers, encourage long and strong passwords to hinder access to their gadgets. Leaving these devices unattended can result in your student becoming the latest identity theft victim. Likewise, the email regarding a personal assistant job offer which requires no interview and just a “trivial” amount of your student’s personal details like full name, full address (no PO Boxes allowed), email address, date of birth and bank account information (for direct deposits) to secure employment can lead to disastrous financial repercussions. Urge your students to avoid the lure of unsecure Wi-Fi networks. The same features that make free Wi-Fi desirable for your student makes them desirable for hackers; specifically, that it requires no authentication to establish a network connection. This creates an amazing opportunity for the hacker to get free access to unsecured devices on the same network. A first- party cyber incident endorsement can help you stay ahead of potential online threats and facilitate your financial and emotional recovery in the unfortunate event that your student is victimized.
What’s a little too fast and too furious amongst friends?
Young motorists pose a unique risk with a variety of hazardous driving habits. Mostly notably is inherent inexperience and distracted driving. Whether your student has wheels on campus, utilizes public transportation or it a proud member of the “by foot gang”, your automobile policy needs to be modified. Anytime your car’s primary location changes; you should update your policy information to ensure adequate coverage. Conversely, if your student does not bring a car to college and will only drive when they are visiting you for the holidays, you may potentially be eligible for an “away at school” or “occasional use” policy discount.
As instant gratification is at an all-time high, a night of youthful transgressions or alcohol-induced courage can be captured by cell phone cameras and put on the Internet for all to see. Your student should consider the high probability that a classmate may post slanderous and defaming comments or images of him or her. Hosting a party where underage classmates are drunk and boisterous or someone is sexually assaulted by a guest, or a drunken friend is paralyzed while driving back from the campus party can all result in the parents of these students filing a lawsuit against you. Be sure you and your child understand these risk as well their university’s polices and legal consequences. In the event of an incident the liability from your homeowner or a personal excess liability policy can shield your financial wealth.
Sending your child off to college is gratifying transition; a goal you have worked hard for, similar to your accumulation of wealth. Be proactive and take the time to ensure your personal insurance program addresses your specific exposures. Have a conversation with your personal risk advisor.
Julia Monique Johnson MBA, API, AINS
AIG Private Client Group
Cincinnati Insurance Companies