Does My Maine Homeowners and Auto Insurance Cover My College Student?

2542619678_07b45bfae6_2 This weekend, we move one of our kids back to college. He’s excited to re-join his friends and regain his independence that was suspended when he moved back home for the summer. We suppose that there’ll be some actual education taking place, too. It’s a big change for our family, not to mention our grocery bill.

So what does a Maine¬†insurance agent do to his home insurance and car insurance policies when his kid goes off to school? This year: nothing. Next year may be different. Here’s why.

Home Insurance
Your Maine homeowners insurance covers you and “members of your household”. As long as he lives in a dorm and returns home every summer, he meets that definition – even though he’s over 18 and a legal adult. So, his computer, TV and other stuff are covered by our policy. Our liability coverage also follows him – which is handy given the behavior of 20 year-old males sometimes. 38457170_0a034cb1df_2

Next year, he might do a semester abroad. Would our homeowners policy cover him then? Yes, as long as he still is a resident of our household (i.e. lives at home on school breaks and vacations).

What if he rents an off-campus apartment next year? Well, that probably changes the rules. If his name is on a lease; if he stays year-round in the apartment; or if he no longer lives at home, then he’s not a member of our household. He needs to buy a renters’ insurance¬†policy from a local independent agent. Cost: about $150 per year.

This fall, a new development in Portland called Bayside Village opens. They’ve been advertising on MTV, and set up a sales office next to a local pizza joint. It makes me wish I could go to college again! Bayside Village will house students from several local colleges. It offers access to public transportation and downtown Portland. Its furnished apartments include most utilities. It’s a lot like a dorm, but is unaffiliated with any school. Our advice for clients: don’t rely on your homeowners policy to protect you here – get a renters’ insurance quote.

Auto Insurance
Our son is not taking a car with him to school. Our insurer gives us an auto insurance discount (or draws a little less blood) for this. We don’t have to tell our insurer when he’s home for the summer or on break, and using one of our cars. Our Maine car insurance quote already presumes that he’s using our vehicles when he’s home.

Two of his roommates have cars at school. What if he’s successful in convincing us that he needs a car to “get a job”, “get an internship”, “come home for visits” or “get food”? Then, we have to tell our insurance company that he has a car at school. Adios discount, hola higher premiums!

What about that semester abroad? Would he be covered by our auto policy to drive a car in another country? Not on your life!

Keep in mind that your policies could certainly be different from mine. Contact your own Maine insurance agent with questions about how to best cover your situation.