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Thursday, August 14, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY– Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is urging college students to get smart about insurance before setting foot on campus.
“Insurance can be complicated and daunting to navigate, especially for young people beginning to set out on their own by going to college,” said Doak. “With these tips and a little research, college students can be prepared for the unexpected and save a lot of heartache in the process.”
The Oklahoma Insurance Department recommends the following tips for new and returning college students to help get smart about insurance.
Students have options when it comes to selecting health insurance. Coverage may be obtained through parents’ insurance policies, through the institution where the student is attending or through the Federal Exchange. Parents’ insurance plans that offer dependent coverage will be available until the dependent reaches age 26. Some students may opt to purchase a student health insurance plan through their school. It is important to note that often school health insurance plans have more limited benefits and more exclusions than other options and have limited coverage for prescriptions and preventive care. A third option for students is to purchase health insurance through the Federal Exchange by going to healthcare.gov.
Regardless of how the coverage is obtained, keep these general tips in mind:
- Understand the policy. Students should sit down with parents or guardians and go through what's covered. It is important to know what may have to be paid during illness or in the event of an emergency.
- Find the list of covered doctors, hospitals and pharmacies within network and keep a copy handy.
- Students should always know where their insurance card is; one way to do so is to keep it with their driver's license or identification.
Homeowners and Renters Insurance
Students living in dorms are most likely covered by their parents’ homeowners insurance in regards to belongings. Parents are wise to always check with their agent to ensure enough coverage for all of the student’s belongings, including expensive items such as laptops, jewelry, TVs, etc. Some policies may limit coverage for student belongings to 10 percent of the total amount of personal property coverage.
Students living off campus in alternate housing such as an apartment or condo should consider renters insurance to protect their property. A landlord’s insurance policy will cover structural damage to the building, but will not cover occupants’ personal property. Renters insurance is often a reasonably priced insurance policy that will protect personal property and insure the renter in case someone is injured while on the property.
Regardless of living on or off campus, it is important for students to build and keep a home inventory for themselves. A home inventory for just the student will help them and their parents know how much insurance is needed and help in the event of filing a claim. Tools for building a home inventory can be found on the OID website by clicking here.
Auto insurance for college students typically falls into one of two categories. If the student’s name is on the title for the car, they or the parents will need to purchase an auto insurance policy for the student. If the parents own the vehicle, the student may be able to stay on the parents' policy. Make sure the insurance agent knows where the vehicle is if the student is living away from home. Student discounts may also be available and agents can advise on the specifics.
It is important to know the difference between liability coverage and comprehensive coverage. Liability pays for damages and injuries to someone else if the insured driver is found responsible for an accident. Comprehensive and collision coverage covers damage to the policyholder’s vehicle regardless of fault. Collision coverage will fix damage caused from being hit by something or somebody and comprehensive coverage is protection against anything else, such as hail damage or hitting a deer.
Everyone needs insurance and it is important to get smart about insurance needs. Whether just starting out or entering retirement, consumers need to prepare and educate themselves on their individual needs. For more information, consumers are urged to call the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Division at 1-800-522-0071 or visit www.oid.ok.gov.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
For more information contact:
Calley McGehee Herth