As college students return or go to campus for the first time this month, Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. reminds them and their parents of the importance of insurance for college students away from home.
BacktoSchool.jpg“Insurance can be confusing,” Commissioner Redmer said. “Over the next few weeks, thousands of Maryland parents will be dropping their children off at college and unloading those laptops, furniture and electronics. Even if a student is a dependent under his or her parents’ insurance, that property may not be covered. Now is the time to consult an insurance professional to check on your insurance needs.”
This year, the Maryland Insurance Administration is making it easy for you to get smart about your insurance needs. Take a look at these quick tips before the school year begins:
There are a few options for students looking to purchase health insurance. You may be able to continue coverage under your existing health benefit plan if you are still a dependent, or you may be able to purchase a new policy through your school or the Maryland Health Connection.
Existing Health Benefit Plans
If you are covered as a dependent under your parent’s or other guardian’s health benefit plan, you may be eligible to continue this coverage as long as you are under age 26. You should contact your carrier to find out if your plan will cover services in the area where you are attending school and if there are any additional steps you need to take to ensure coverage.
Students who do not have health insurance may opt to purchase a student health plan. Some schools will offer this during the registration process. Check with your institution to see what their process is.
Maryland Health Connection
Starting November 1, open enrollment begins for individual health policies. You can contact the Maryland Health Connection at 888-642-8572 for information on an individual policy, tax credits, or Medicaid enrollment. An individual health policy you sign up for during open enrollment will take effect on January 1. If you qualify for Medicaid, you can sign up at any time.
Once a student determines the appropriate option, it is important to make sure they understand their policy and what it covers and excludes. Take a look at our Health Insurance Shopping Tool on our website, www.insurance.maryland.gov, for more information.
A student’s property, such as clothes and electronics, may be covered by their parents’ or legal guardian’s homeowners policy in the event of loss or damage. However, since the homeowners policy may limit what student property is covered or have a high deductible, if the student is living off campus, renters insurance should be considered. Renters insurance is an inexpensive form of coverage that protects your personal property and insures you in case someone is injured while at your property.
Regardless of where you decide to live, it’s a good idea to have a list of your belongings in case something happens. This list will help you and your parents determine how much insurance is needed, and it will provide an inventory in case you need to file a claim. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a home inventory app for iPhones and Androids and a simple-to-use printable home inventory checklist.
Maryland requires vehicle owners to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, which pays damages and injuries to someone else if you are found responsible for an accident you did not intentionally cause. Maryland also requires personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It is always a good idea to check with your agent to see if you have enough coverage.
If you want coverage for damages to your car, you will need comprehensive and collision coverage. Collision coverage fixes damage caused when you hit something or if somebody hits you. Comprehensive coverage is for just about everything else.
You will need to purchase your own policy if your name is on the title for the vehicle but you may be able to stay on your parents’ policy if they own the vehicle and you are a listed driver.
Everyone has insurance needs even when you are just starting out. Your parents, family members and friends are great resources, but be sure to check our website or contact us for the most up to date information.