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Insurance for college students

Here are tips on how to protect your child's health, car and stuff while away at school.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN

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NEW YORK ( -- If your kid is heading off to college this Fall, make sure they have enough insurance coverage. Here's what you need to know.

Check into health coverage

It's a good idea to check into your child's health coverage as they go off to college. Full-time students between the ages of 18-23 are usually covered under their parents' health plan.

But keep in mind that some plans have younger age cutoffs. If your health plan has a network, you'll want to scout out a doctor near where your child is going to be living. Then you'll need a referral from your local physician.

And if your child is no longer on your plan, most colleges offer limited health insurance plans for students. And don't forget that many colleges offer emergency health-care or infirmary hours on campus too.

Tell your insurer

Basically insurance companies reward you if you don't drive.

Case in point: your son or daughter can get a discount on their insurance if they leave their car at home while attending school. And the school has to be at least 100 miles away.

You'll also want to notify your insurance company that the car will be garaged in a different location. Your premium could go down depending on where the college is located.

And if you must bring your car to campus - don't let other people drive your car. No matter who's driving, your kid is still responsible for what happens.

Know the limits

If you have a kid that'll be living on campus, chances are, your homeowners' policy will cover most of their possessions.

In most cases, your homeowners insurance will cover about 10% of property that's outside the home. That means if you have $75,000 worth of contents coverage at home, it will cover about $7500 worth of stuff that's in a dorm room.

Of course, you'll want to get in touch with your insurance company since not all insurers have this same limit. And if your kid is going to be living off-campus at an apartment, your homeowners' policy won't be helpful. In this case, you'll want to look into renters insurance.

Rates run about $250 a year for contents of about $15,000 according to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association.  To top of page

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