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Help Your Kids Leave the Nest Without Harming Your Nest Egg

Many recently graduated high school seniors are busily preparing for the next exciting phase in their lives - college. Meanwhile, their parents are busy making sure their new freshman is well equipped for this major life transition. However, with new surroundings come new risks - risks that may not be protected under your current insurance policy. Before you drop your child off at his or her dorm, it is important to review your policy and make any adjustments needed to ensure common college-age risks are covered.

Begin by equipping your child's new computer with solid protection against identity theft. College students are surprisingly vulnerable to this common crime. Federal Trade Commission statistics state that 24% of all identity theft complaints come from people between the ages of 20 and 29. Students increase their risk by using public or shared computers, logging onto unsecured wireless networks, and posting personal information on social networking sites. Protect them by putting the following precautions into place before they arrive on campus:

  • Anti-virus protection: Install the latest version of a proven anti-virus software program on their computer.
  • Robust passwords: Be sure your student's passwords - especially the ones used to access bank accounts back home - contain a mix of numbers and letters that will frustrate identity thieves. Change passwords periodically.
  • Privacy protection: Caution your child to avoid unsecured wireless networks and never leave their computer unattended in a public place.

Concerned parents need to be aware that cyber threats aren't the only potential risks of campus life. College students need the same types of traditional protection against health, property and life hazards that their parents and siblings do.


Your student is likely to arrive at college with expensive laptop computers, entertainment equipment or musical instruments, all of which will need replacement if stolen or damaged. Before your child leaves, check to see if your homeowner's insurance policy covers their property. If not, purchase a separate renter's policy to protect their prized possessions.


Most students are covered by their parents' health insurance through age 26, although a parental policy may not be practical protection for a student far from home. A distant college may fall outside the service area of your hometown health plan's preferred providers, creating unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. As a remedy, some colleges offer reasonably priced student health insurance plans. You may also wish to add tuition insurance, which covers the cost of tuition if your child is ill and unable to complete a school term.


While many colleges discourage on-campus car use (especially in the first two years) your child will probably be home during breaks - and their first request will be to borrow the car keys. Fortunately for your pocketbook, some insurers offer a credit for students who attend a college 100 miles or more from home. Make sure your agent knows about your student's change in status.


A child's departure for college is a big life transition, which makes it an ideal occasion to take a fresh look at the entire family's life insurance protection. In addition to starting or augmenting a college-bound child's life policy, your life insurance coverage should be strengthened to cover the additional costs of college if something happens to you or your spouse.

The move from home to college is one of life's biggest milestones. It is also an ideal occasion to schedule an insurance review with your HUB broker. Maintaining the right insurance coverage for your needs is a great way to show your new college student that you continue to care. It is also a chance to model the responsible financial behavior you hope they will emulate through their college years and beyond.