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Flying Solo

How to help your kids safely leave the nest


October 8, 2010
By Ashley Weber

Flying Solo

When 22-year old Lisa Boyko graduated from Lebanon Valley College and got a teaching job away from home, her parents, Ken and Fran Boyko, visited their ERIE Agent to remove Lisa from their auto insurance policy.

“We’ll miss her as she turns the page to begin a new chapter in life,” says Fran, “but I feel comfortable knowing that she will have her own auto and renters insurance. Having insurance is as necessary as food, shelter and clothing.”

The Boykos' ERIE Agent, Jane O’Malley of the Coringrato Insurance Agency, has seen how tough it is for parents to let go when their adult child moves out on his or her own for the first time. From her office in Whitehall, Pa., she stresses the importance of adult children having their own renters and auto insurance policies insuring them at the address where they actually reside. But, she says, parents often resist.

“Some parents have a hard time letting go,” she says. “Should a claim occur, you want your child to be as protected as possible. That means reporting the correct information about where your children live and which car they drive — and helping them insure their own belongings at their new address.”

It’s different when kids are away at college. In a dorm or college apartment, they may still be considered to be a resident of their parents’ household (usually just up until they reach age 24 — check with your Agent), so their personal liability and contents may be covered under their parents’ policy.

“However,” notes Terry McConnell, ERIE’s vice president and manager, Personal Lines Underwriting, “once they are no longer a resident after college, they lose that blanket.” The same rule applies for those who do not attend college after high school.

How renters works
Standard renters insurance protects personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, and other disasters listed in the policy. This protection is particularly important since, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the burglary rate for renters is about 50 percent higher than for homeowners.

Renters insurance policies also provide liability protection against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that may arise in rented homes or as a result of personal activities away from home.

What else besides renters?
In addition to encouraging adult children to purchase renters insurance, parents should advise them to amend their address on their driver’s license and auto registration to correctly reflect where their car is actually garaged. They also need to purchase their own auto insurance policy or change their address on their existing auto policy if their car is kept away from the parents’ home.

Purchasing both a renters and an auto policy can qualify a customer for a multi-policy discount. In some cases, the discount actually pays for the renters policy.*

Lisa Boyko has both — and her parents are thankful she hasn’t yet had the need to call on either policy.

Want more information? Contact your ERIE Agent about the coverage — and discounts — that apply to your situation.

*Individual policies may differ


Ashley Weber is a traveler, Spanish-speaker and freelance writer living in Erie, Pa. A fellowship with the International Radio and Television Society once took her to residency in NYC. In hindsight, she thinks, “Hmm, I should have had renters insurance.”

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