College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.
It's important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never "one-size-fits-all" situations, but below is a guide to the language in Florida policies. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
Coverage of personal property: Florida homeowner’s policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.
For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property.
Liability coverage: There is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.
Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can't be met under your current policy, don't forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.
Your Auto Insurance Policy
Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
Coverage with a car at school: A car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
Driving a friend’s car at school: Students would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.
Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance companies require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.
Going away to school is an exciting and challenging time for both students and their parents. Making sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options, so just give us a call or come by.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
We are often asked that if a student goes away to college and doesn’t take a car, should they be dropped from the family auto policy to save some extra money. But remember, your college student will be back for Christmas break and wants the car to visit friends. Or, what if he is away at college and his friends ask him to be a "designated driver" one evening?
If your student doesn't take a car to school, we recommend that you keep him listed on the policy for a number of reasons:
As a full time student, your child may qualify for a Good Student Discount (if they maintain a grade average of 3.0 or higher). Make sure to let your agent know, and provide them with a copy of the transcript or a letter from a college advisor The savings can be significant.
You can also apply for the Distant Student Discount if your child attends college 75 miles or more away from home.
If your student takes a car to school, they can still remain on your auto policy. In fact, they should, since it is usually much more expensive for young divers and students to have their own policy. Be sure to notify your agent about the new garaging address: Not only do insurance companies prefer that, but it may also save you money, particularly if your student attends college in a less populated area of the state.
Full-time college students can usually remain covered on their parents’ auto policy if their primary address is the parents’ house, even if they attend college out of state. Make sure that the policy meets the minimum auto liability requirements for that state.
If your student owns the vehicle and holds the title, they'll need their own auto policy.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY can help you in properly insuring your college student. We will review your situation and make sure all coverage is current and adequate.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
How important is coverage protection in the event of an accident with a minimally insured driver - CRITICAL!!
In Florida 1 out of 4 drivers are minimally insured.
We can help you better understand the coverage you currently have and discuss the need for adequate "uninsured motorist" coverage with you.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
There are two major reasons the car ownership cost in Florida are ranked 13 percent above the national average.
One of the reasons why Florida is so pricey is because of higher car repair costs. "When Floridians take their car to the shop, they pay about 10 percent more for parts than the typical U.S. vehicle owner," according to Bankrate.com.
ranked 13 percent above the national average.
Insurance is also a driving factor in Florida's higher costs. Florida drivers paid an average of $1,124 for their policies between 2007 and 2011, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
"That's 27 percent more than the average U.S. vehicle owner paid over the same span of time," Bankrate.com said.
So let consider the question, who know more about lowering the cost of insurance; the average consumer or an independent insurance agent with experience and many companies to shop for the best value (price and best coverage)? Read more...
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Considering that around 90% of all insurers underwriting homeowner's insurance subscribe to the CLUE service, it's certainly something that you should know about. Many home buyers have at least a basic understanding of the process such as their credit, pre-approval, and a home inspection. However, most buyers don't have a clue what a CLUE report is, much less what an important element it ti when buying and insuring a new home.
About CLUE Reports
The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, is a database that allows auto and homeowner insurers to exchange information about property loss claims. Unless your state specifically requires it, prior notification isn't required before your information goes into the system. In Florida, CLUE reports are used for automobile homeowner's insurance policies.
Here's a simple example of how the exchange system works:
What does a CLUE report say about me?The CLUE report includes personal information such as your name and date of birth. Tied to your identifying information is a record of any homeowner property loss claims you have submitted to an insurance company for the past five years, including:
The CLUE database may also include notations of property "damage" - even if the insurance company didn't pay out a cent. Any hint of water damage to a property, for example, is likely to trigger a negative mark on the property's CLUE report. Well intended consumers who call an insurer to merely inquire about coverage for water damage have been shocked to have their insurance cancelled. Your chance to get new insurance at a good rate could be affected.
Why do insurers use CLUE reports? CLUE reports are a way for insurers to share information about your record of filing insurance claims. Insurance companies are by nature in the business of assuming risk. The more that a company pays in property claims, the less it profits. CLUE reports are one of the ways an insurer assesses how much of a risk it is assuming by selling you an insurance policy.
The theory is that an individual's history of filing insurance claims is a good indicator of how likely that person is to file future claims. Taken to the extreme, this process of risk analysis translates to "use it and lose it". If you file a claim against your policy, report damage without filing a claim, or even inquire about your coverage, you may not get new insurance at a good rate - or at all.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -