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How to Get College Student Insurance and Save Money

While you’ll pay premiums with college student insurance, it could save you money in the long run.

Written by Jess Ullrich / September 14, 2022

Quick Bites

  • College students may need health and renters insurance, depending on their situation.
  • Many auto insurers also offer special discounts on coverage for college students.
  • Comparing coverage will help you find an affordable policy that makes sense for you.

If you’re looking for more ways to spend on your college-bound kid, now we have insurance! Insurance might seem like an added, avoidable cost, but going without the right coverage could end up being a big financial mistake. If that new MacBook Pro gets stolen, for instance, your student could be out around $3,000 without insurance. In that case, a $20 monthly premium might not sound so bad.

If you’re considering college student insurance, here’s what types of coverage exist and what to know about them.

Inside this article

  1. What are the risks on campus?
  2. What insurance options exist?
  3. How to insure personal property
  4. Is renters insurance worth it?
  5. What's covered by these plans?
  6. And how much of it do you need?
  7. Tips for buying a policy

What are the risks on campus?

While your college student might think nothing bad will ever happen to them at school, there are several risks to be aware of on campus. From illnesses and fender benders to property crime and car theft, your student and their property aren’t immune to risk.

If you’re wondering which crimes are most common, here’s a look at 2019 National Center for Education Statistics data related to on-campus crimes[1]:

CrimeNumber reportedPercentage of total crimes
Forcible sex offense11,80043%
Burglary9,00033%
Motor vehicle theft3,10011%
Aggravated assault2,2008%
Robberies8003%

What kind of insurance options exist for college students?

Insurance won’t protect your student from becoming a victim of on-campus crime, but it could provide valuable financial protection if an incident occurs. Several insurance options exist for college students:

  • Renters or dorm insurance: Property crimes are among the most common types of on-campus crime, and unfortunately, that $3,000 MacBook Pro won’t pay for itself if it's stolen. Neither will medical bills for a friend’s late-night fall down the steps of your student’s apartment. Getting a renters or dorm insurance policy with personal property and liability coverage can be a worthwhile investment.

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  • Auto insurance: Several major auto insurers offer special discounts for college students. So if you already have coverage, it’s worth asking about discounts if your teen is headed off to school.

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  • Health insurance: If you have a family health insurance plan, chances are your college student is still covered by your health insurance. But if they aren’t, health coverage is a must-have. After all, the average cost of a three-day hospital stay is an eye-popping $30,000 without insurance.[2]

  • Dental insurance: Similar to health insurance, your college student may still be covered under your dental plan. However, if they aren’t covered, it’s worth getting a dental insurance policy. Wisdom tooth removal is a common surgery for college students, and the cost without insurance can be up to $4,000.[3]

  • Study abroad insurance: If your college student is planning a year abroad, a study abroad or travel insurance policy can come in handy. This insurance can cover the costs of things like lost baggage and medical emergencies while your student is traveling.

What’s the best way to insure college students' personal property?

If you want to insure your college student’s personal property, consider a renters or dorm insurance policy. “Students own more valuable possessions than ever before—it’s not just textbooks and clothes, it's laptops, tablets and smartphones,” says Suzette Lesane, a senior vice president at Assurant, a financial services company offering insurance products.

“Having a renters insurance policy in place protects students in the event these often costly possessions are damaged or stolen,” says Lesane. “In the very busy lives students lead, going without some of these possessions could be the difference in a successful semester or not.”

Generally, some amount of personal property coverage comes standard with these policies. But it’s always a good idea to read the fine print so you know exactly what’s covered and what isn’t.

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Does renters insurance make any sense?

Renters insurance can absolutely make sense for your college student. A standard renters policy generally includes three types of coverage:

  • Personal property insurance: can cover the cost of replacing your student’s belongings if they’re stolen or damaged by fire or another unforeseen event

  • Personal liability insurance: can cover the cost of medical or legal expenses if another person is injured at your student’s apartment and your student is found responsible 

  • Loss of use coverage: can cover the cost of a temporary stay at a hotel if your student’s current rental is damaged by fire, a sewage backup, or another type of disaster

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Generally, the belongings you have in the rental are covered, but as with any insurance policy, there are exclusions (it won’t pay for getting rid of bedbugs, for instance).

Find out more

What is covered by these college-specific plans?

Depending on the policy you choose, your college student may get the medical, dental, auto and travel insurance they need while they’re on campus or studying abroad. The right policies can provide financial protection for everything from a fender bender to wisdom teeth extraction.

To ensure a policy meets your student’s coverage needs, make sure to read the fine print and ask questions if you’re unsure about what’s covered. (Hint: Ask about whether that MacBook is covered!)

And how much of it do you need?

The amount of coverage your college student will need can vary greatly based on the policy you’re shopping for and what their needs are. 

Renters insurance

In general, common coverage amounts for renters insurance include $30,000 worth of personal property insurance, $100,000 in personal liability insurance and around $12,000 in loss-of-use coverage. In terms of cost, you can expect to pay between $10 and $31 per month for renters insurance, depending on where you live and the insurer you choose.[4] 

Auto insurance

For auto coverage, experts often recommend having $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage and $100,000 per accident in property damage liability. The average cost of a full-coverage policy is around $178 per month.[5]

Health insurance

With health and dental coverage, the insurer will typically pay for certain appointments, prescriptions and procedures. Some may be covered up to 100%, while others may require that you pay a portion out of pocket. Your student may be required to pay a deductible with a health or dental plan before their coverage kicks in. Deductibles for individuals were $1,945 on average in 2019.[6] 

Travel insurance

And last but not least, we’ve got study abroad or travel coverage. The amount of coverage you can get and will need depends on several factors, including the requirements of your study abroad program and which insurer you choose. If your student is doing a year abroad and is enrolled in your health plan, review your coverage to determine if they’ll be able to access medical benefits overseas. If not, you may need to consider a specialized plan that also includes travel and theft insurance in addition to medical coverage.

Things to keep in mind when buying an insurance policy

If you’re shopping for college student insurance, there are several things to consider. Here are some questions to think about before you get a policy:

  • What type of insurance makes sense?

  • How much coverage does your student need? (Or do they need coverage at all? This is relevant in the case of medical or dental insurance, as they may already be covered by your plan.)

  • What are the monthly premiums?

Other best practices for getting a policy include comparing options from multiple insurers and researching what a particular policy covers and doesn’t cover. Taking these steps can help ensure your college student gets the coverage they need at a price they can afford.

Article Sources
  1. “Criminal Incidents at Postsecondary Institutions,” National Center for Education Statistics, May 2022, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/a21/postsecondary-criminal-incidents?tid=74.
  2. “Protection from High Medical Costs,” HealthCare.gov, https://www.healthcare.gov/why-coverage-is-important/protection-from-high-medical-costs/.
  3. “Wisdom Tooth Removal Costs: With & Without Insurance,” Byte, May 20, 2022, https://www.byte.com/community/resources/article/wisdom-teeth-costs/.
  4. “How Much Is Renters Insurance?” QwoteWizard, June 29, 2022, https://quotewizard.com/renters-insurance/average-cost-of-renters-insurance#factors.
  5. “Average Cost of Car Insurance (2022),” QwoteWizard, January 26, 2022, https://quotewizard.com/auto-insurance/average-cost-of-car-insurance.
  6. “Average Annual Deductible per Enrolled Employee in Employer-Based Health Insurance for Single and Family Coverage,” Kaiser Family Foundation, https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/average-annual-deductible-per-enrolled-employee-in-employer-based-health-insurance-for-single-and-family-coverage/.

About the Authors

Jess Ullrich

Jess Ullrich

Jess Ullrich is a personal finance writer who's been creating online content since 2009.

Full bio

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