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Klingman Insights

The college prep advice every parent needs

August 15, 2019

As you get ready to send your child to college, you’ve undoubtedly been busy with trips to Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond—getting everything they need for school and preparing them for life on their own. But there may be a few things you haven’t considered that can help ensure the experience is a positive one for the entire family.

Keeping them healthy

At 18, your child is considered an adult. Yes, they can stay on your health insurance policy, but, there are a few things you should know:

  • Due to HIPAA Privacy Rule, you can no longer access your child’s health information or help make decisions about their care without their permission. So, if there is an emergency, you could be left with no information and no way to help them. The following tools could help:
    • A HIPAA Privacy Release allows you to speak with medical professionals about your child’s health
    • A Health Care Proxy enables you to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf if they are unable to do so
    • A Durable Power of Attorney empowers you to handle not only your child’s health concerns, but also legal and financial responsibilities if needed
  • Children studying abroad may need additional medical coverage, as their U.S. policy may not always cover medical expenses outside of the country

Keeping them protected

When your child goes off to college, they may no longer be fully protected by your home or auto policies. What you need to know:

  • Your homeowners’ policy may extend to your child, but this can vary greatly depending on where they go to school, where they live and more
    • They may be covered for property damage, but are they covered for theft or injury to someone?
    • Living off campus may require renter’s insurance or a separate insurance policy.
  • When it comes to driving, there are many things to consider:
    • If your child is taking a car with them to school, your auto insurance may cover them, but may need to comply with the minimum liabilities required by the state where the car will be housed
    • If your child has a car titled in their name, they may need a separate auto insurance policy in their name
    • Even if your child is covered by your policy as an occasional driver when at home, they may not be covered if they drive a friend’s car at school

Keeping their finances in order

When it comes to budgets and finances, you may be deciding between providing your child a debit card or a credit card. While debit cards may have some advantages, consider that credit cards tend to offer greater protections in the instance of fraud or theft. Using a credit card will also help develop a credit history for your child which should ultimately boost their credit rating down the line.

Whatever you decide, it is important to ensure your child understands the importance of budgeting. Also make sure to discuss with her/him what you are and are not willing to pay for, as well as all of the responsibilities – and potential dangers – involved with having a card.

This may be more to think about than you expected. However, doing the research and putting the right tools into place can keep your children protected and give you comfort when they leave. Do not hesitate to reach out to the Klingman & Associates team if you have any questions or would like help in considering how to handle any of these issues.