Carson City, NV - August 18, 2015
Classes will soon be in session for many college students in Nevada. While it is an exciting time for students, it may be nerve wrecking for some parents sending their kids off to college. To help parents rest easier, the Nevada Division of Insurance encourages parents to review their insurance policies to ensure their college student is adequately protected against the unexpected while at school.
“The most important piece of advice we can share with parents with kids going off to college is to check with their insurance agent to discuss the type of insurance and the level of coverage their students will have once they are in school,” said Acting Insurance Commissioner Amy Parks. “Doing this may help parents and students be more financially protected.”
Before your student heads off to college, it may be a good idea to talk to them about health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), college students may remain under their parent’s health insurance policy until they are 26 years old. If this is the case with your family, before your student leaves home make sure they take with them a copy of their insurance cards and are familiar with “in” and “out” of network providers in the area where they are attending school.
Make sure the student knows if your insurance policy is a preferred provider organization (PPO) or a health maintenance organization (HMO). In the case where they are insured under a PPO plan, your student may be able to see an “in network” physician even if they are attending school outside of Nevada. Seeing an “out of network” physician will cost you more out of pocket.
If you are insured under an HMO plan, you should verify that your student’s providers are within its network service area, otherwise they may need to travel elsewhere to get routine medical attention that is covered under the plan unless there is an emergency.
If your family chooses not to keep your student on your health insurance policy until they are 26, your student may have the option to apply for a health insurance plan through the Federal Marketplace. Depending on the student’s income, they may be eligible for lower monthly premiums, Medicaid, or other savings.
Another option available to students is the purchase of a health insurance policy through the college or university they are attending. Some universities such as the University of Nevada in Reno and Las Vegas offer ACA compliant policies. For more information on these policies you may visit www.unr.edu/shc or https://www.unlv.edu/srwc/health-insurance
Please keep in mind if your student does not have medical insurance they may face a penalty under the ACA for not being insured.
Some college students may decide to live in their college dorms. If this is the case, check with your insurance agent to verify if your homeowner’s insurance policy will extend to your student’s belongings in school and what the coverage limit is.
In your student is living off campus, please keep in mind that the landlord’s insurance policies typically only protect structural damage to the building, not your student’s personal belongings. In this scenario, your student may want to consider purchasing a renters insurance policy. Renters insurance may not only cover your student’s personal property inside the rented property, or stolen from their vehicle, or taken from their backpack while they are studying on campus, but may also cover additional living expenses if the rental unit becomes temporarily uninhabitable. A Personal Umbrella insurance policy covers liability to others if you or your student are determined to be liable for injuries to others or damage to other’s property.
It is always a good idea to conduct a home inventory and document all of the student’s property. A home inventory list will help the student and the parents know how much insurance you need in the event you need to file a claim. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a free smartphone app that makes a home inventory easy. You will find the iPhone version here and the Android app here.
If your student is taking a vehicle to school, check with your auto insurance agent and inquire about the insurance premiums in the city or state where they will be attending school because moving to a different location may have an impact on your auto insurance premiums. Also, check with that state’s Department of Motor Vehicles about that state’s vehicle registration requirements and minimum required liability insurance laws. Registration requirements in another state may require purchasing an auto insurance policy issued in that state by an insurer licensed in that state. Remember to notify the insurance company each semester if your student maintains good grades as this may qualify the student for a good student discount.
About the Nevada Division of Insurance
The State of Nevada Division of Insurance, a division of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, protects the rights of Nevada consumers and regulates Nevada’s $11.9 billion insurance industry. The Division of Insurance has offices in Carson City and Las Vegas. In 2014, the Division investigated more than 2,800 consumer complaints and recovered nearly $4 million on behalf of consumers. For more information about the Division of Insurance, visit DOI.NV.GOV or download the Division’s smartphone app NDOI Connect today in the Apple App Store and Google Play.