Going to college is a huge transition period for students and parents alike. College is often the first time a child is away from their parents for an extended amount of time. During the rush to pack, move and settle in, plenty of things can get overlooked, such as insurance changes.
It can be stressful to try and remember every change that comes with going off to college. We put together this easy guide to give you the tips to get everything in order before classes start. Both parents and students can use these tips to be better prepared for this big life change.
Getting Financials in Order
Knowing how you’ll pay for college is one of the most important things to consider. While many families remember to look into paying for tuition or other major fees, the cost of living in college often gets overlooked. Before moving to campus, make a plan to pay for everyday expenses and needs. Parents and students should sit down together to come up with a monthly budget outline.
If your parents are planning to support you through college, it’s important to put guidelines in place. You may want to establish a monthly allowance with your parents. Having a set amount makes it easier for you to budget each month. It’s also a great way to learn how to manage money wisely while in school.
Whether your parents are supporting you financially or not, some students decide to get a part-time job in addition to school. This is a great opportunity to make extra spending money and learn to manage a budget yourself. Stick to your budget even if you end up with extra money at the end of the month. You can use money from extra shifts to build savings. Establishing good savings habits in college will be a great asset in your adult life.
Packing and Move-In
Moving is almost always a hassle. Going to college adds an extra amount of stress due to the often-unique living situations. You’re probably going to be moving into a small dorm room or apartment without much space for your existing furniture or items. In addition, you’ll likely want to keep these things at home for school breaks. You probably won’t need to buy a bed or dresser, but getting a mini-fridge or new bedding may be essential.
In addition to buying new things, you have to figure out how to pack up your clothes and other items. Make a list of the things you want to take and what you can live without. You may need to cut this list down several times in order to fit everything into your new home.
Insurance Changes for College Students
Most students going to college for the first time have never worried about insurance. Many times, parents cover the important insurance costs or needs up until this point. If you’re getting ready to go to college, talk to your parents about your current insurance costs and coverage. You can also discuss what new insurance coverage or policy changes you may need to make.
Some students choose to leave their vehicle at home when they’re at school. If this is the case for you, you or your parents should let your insurance company know. You may be able to pause coverage or have your rate adjusted while you’re away at school. Make sure you don’t drop coverage, however. Dropping coverage can cause a lot of headaches when you come back from school and need to use your car, such as during summer break.
If you’re taking your car to college, you should consider taking out your own policy or discussing rules for driving at college with your parents. Taking out a policy of your own may be a good idea if you own your own car and are moving far away. This gives you control over the policy to make changes if needed without your parent’s authorization. Paying for your own insurance can also help you take responsibility for your driving habits. Many companies offer a good driver discount that can help save you money.
For students moving into an apartment or other off-campus housing, renters insurance is a smart move. While you are likely still covered by your parents’ homeowner policy, the coverage limit may be lower than the value of your belongings.
Renters policies are generally inexpensive and can provide coverage for your belongings. Your laptop, clothes and other items should be replaced or repaired if you experience a covered loss. Renters insurance also give you important coverage for things like liability. If new friends come over for a party at your place and get hurt, renters insurance can help protect you against liability for medical bills or legal action.
If you’re moving into a dorm room or other campus housing, make sure to talk with your parents and have them let their insurance provider know. Their homeowners insurance probably offers some amount of off-premises coverage. There are limits to the coverage of off-premises belongings, so you may want to ask what your options are for additional coverage while you’re away at school.
Be Prepared for College
It’s hard to remember everything before you head to college. Taking the time to make a budget, compile a packing list and update your insurance policies before school, you’ll be more prepared for the transition.