Says something about the perceived or projected demographics of NYT readers,
and of 'deep pocket's liability theories.
PERSONAL PROPERTY When most parents think of insurance, they think of theft and probably figure their homeowner's policy covers it.
Most homeowner's policies cover items like computers or other digital devices stolen from dorms. But Robert Courtemanche, chief executive of ACE Private Risk Services, said that the deductible on the policy still applied. "To get around this, parents could schedule items that are easily lost or stolen -- such as a laptop -- on their valuables policy, which has no deductible," he said. "Or, they could ask if the college offers access to an insurance program with much lower limits and lower deductibles."
For wealthy students who may go to college with expensive watches or jewelry, Mr. Laconi said putting those items on a valuable personal property policy was a must. An existing personal property policy may have been written based on the security of the child's home. That may well change now that the child is living in a dorm.
For children living off campus, taking out a renter's policy may make sense. These policies have lower premiums and deductibles to cover damage to furniture, appliances or the apartment in general. The insurer USAA said premiums could be as low as $10 a month for $2,500 in coverage, with more comprehensive policies offering $100,000 of coverage for $30 a month.
LIABILITY The more serious risks are those that can ruin students' lives -- and their parents' finances -- like being sued by a student who drank a beer in the child's dorm room and then got in a car accident. This is where liability, or umbrella, policies come in. Their coverage starts when the liability on, say, an auto policy is exceeded.
Most affluent parents have these policies, with $1 million to $2 million in extra coverage. But Ms. Alderman said Chubb had written these policies up to $50 million. She said the wealthy had to ask themselves, "Would your job title or role in the community make you an appealing target for a lawsuit?"
Mr. Laconi recalled a claim in which a family was sued because their son was working at a party where another student drank too much, fell down the stairs and died. Because of that state's laws, the lawyers for the dead student's parents sued the student with money, even though he had not served the dead student any alcohol.
Choosing Insurance for the College Life (Grades Not Included)
By PAUL SULLIVAN
Published: September 17, 2010
Many parents may be as uninterested in talking about insurance as their children, but their policy options are numerous.