In This Issue

Kids at College?

Make sure your insurance covers them when they’re away from home

June 24, 2009
By Josh West

Parents have a lot on their minds as they help their kids make the transition to life away at college.

Will they make the right friends? Will they do the right thing?

“You’re concerned about them making more decisions on their own—what time they go to bed, what they eat, all those kinds of things,” says Roger Hughes, whose daughter is now in her second year away at school. “You just want them to be successful.”

One thing Roger didn’t want to worry about was his daughter’s insurance coverage.

That’s why his list of things to do as he helped his daughter, Angela, prepare for living away from home included a quick call to his ERIE Agent, Ned Gulbransen of the Ned Gulbransen Agency in Warrenville, Ill.

Ned was eager to help and, with two college-aged kids of his own, knew exactly where Roger was coming from.

It can lead to savings

“One of the things that we’ll typically chat about is whether or not the student will have use of a car,” Ned says. “Then we discuss student discounts and other opportunities for savings.”

In Roger’s case, it turned out that the family would be able to save money on their car insurance by taking advantage of ERIE’s college student discount. The discount applies to young, unmarried, full-time college students who spend most of the year away from home without the use of a vehicle.

While it can be a relief for parents to know that their sons or daughters won’t have regular access to vehicles, insurance concerns shouldn’t end there.

Dorm-room delicates

Students heading to college typically bring expensive equipment along with them—from laptops and cell phones to MP3 players and mountain bikes—many times purchased with the parent’s pocketbook.

In Roger’s case, this meant a new computer and a treasured clarinet.

“When I spoke with Ned, I checked to see if those were covered under my homeowners’ policy,” he says.

Thankfully, they were.

Because ERIE’s resident relative coverage applies worldwide, coverage extends to a child away at school (until they are age 24). Since every situation is different, it is still important to give your Agent a call to check on the specifics. But know that your Agent and ERIE are here to help.

Don’t forget extra liability

One final consideration that Ned sometimes discusses with his Policyholders is an umbrella policy, or $1 million to $5 million in additional liability coverage to protect against lawsuits resulting from personal injury or property damage claims.

“I’m not a multimillionaire protecting a huge estate or anything. I’m just a regular Joe in a regular house,” he says.

But still, Ned carries the coverage to protect himself and his family in case an unfortunate accident turns into an expensive legal matter, even if it comes from a child away at school.

“I tell my Policyholders that I have the coverage and I recommend that they purchase it, too,” he says. “If it’s important enough for me, it’s important enough for them.”


Josh West is a communications consultant for Erie Insurance. He doesn’t like to think about the day his newborn daughter will leave for college, but he knows he’ll call his ERIE Agent when she does.

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