Reality bites: timely tips for parents of campus-bound students, from RBC Insurance
With summer fading into the sunset and school on the horizon, many Canadians will be busy getting their children ready for their first time away at university or college. But before they pack the laptops and other expensive electronic gadgets, parents would be wise to review their insurance policies to ensure their students’ belongings are adequately covered for loss or damage while living away from home.
Judging by the results of a recent RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey, knowing exactly what their home and auto insurance policies cover may not be top of mind for most parents. According to the survey, while three-quarters (75 per cent) of Canadians with home and content insurance are parents, one in three (33 per cent) don’t know if they have the right amount or types of insurance.
“Parents and students may not agree on what qualifies as must-have items but by the time parents are finished getting their college-aged children ready for their first year away from home, they’ve spent a significant amount of money,” said Francois Boulanger, president & CEO of RBC General Insurance Company. “In the process, many of them are so busy getting everything together that they overlook insurance. It’s an oversight that could result in some costly surprises during the school year.”
Those who aren’t sure what their policies cover should review their coverage now, before the school year begins. Although many household insurance policies automatically extend coverage for a student’s possessions while living in a campus dorm or an off-campus apartment, it may not be the best coverage option for all. This is because a parent’s policy will usually limit the amount of coverage for the student and any claims incurred can affect the overall claims history and future premiums of the main policy. Arranging tenants’ coverage in the student’s own name may be a better option, as the student will also be able to select the coverage necessary for items that may exceed the value of limits on their parent’s policy.
“Tenant’s insurance is more affordable than one might think,” added Boulanger. “For example, a tenant’s insurance policy for a student living in an apartment in Kingston would cost approximately $250 a year.”
Auto policies should also be reviewed when a student heads off to college or university. The distance between home and school and how much the student plans to drive while away could affect the rate being paid.
“Many parents wonder if they should take a student off their car insurance when their student goes away to school,” noted Boulanger. “Generally, it is best to keep the student as a listed driver on the policy so they have continuous insurance coverage. This will ensure that your policy provides coverage if your child is injured in an accident involving any motorized vehicle, whether it be as a pedestrian, cyclist or while riding in someone else’s vehicle.”
While it would be best to continue to include occasional student drivers on their parent’s insurance policies, Boulanger emphasized that students who take their own cars away with them to school need their own policies.
For these and other tips on how to maximize coverage and minimize the costs of having a child away at school, RBC offers a wide range of advice online at www.rbcinsurance.com or by phone at 1-800-Royal-26.
These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey conducted between May 1 and May 20, 2007. The poll was based on a randomly selected sample of 2,000 adult Canadians who were interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.19 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. The data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.
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