Basic Insurance Issues for Students Attending College

Leaving home for college can be an exciting experience. In the excitement, parents may overlook the fact that college students encounter insurance issues which haven’t been considered. Before there’s an auto accident, a fire in, or theft from, a dorm or
off-campus apartment, or an unexpected trip to the “ER”, it’s important to review your, and your child’s, insurance needs to make sure you have the necessary coverages. Some key things to consider are:

Q: Does my homeowner’s policy (HO Policy) cover my son’s property if he lives in a dorm?
A. Most HO Policies cover personal belongings up to a certain percentage (usually 10%) of the personal property limit stated in your HO Policy. Because of this limitation. and the possibility your student may bring high priced electronics and valuables to school. It’s important to check the coverage limits of your policy. If you think you aren’t adequately covered, consider increasing your policy limit or purchase a remer’s policy to ensure no coverage gaps exist.

Q: Do these coverages and limitations apply if my children live in off-campus housing?
A: Most HO Policies will NOT cover personal belongings for students living in off-campus housing or will the landlord’s insurance. In this case, you are encouraged to purchase remer’s insurance and, whether your children reside in a dorm or off-campus housing, compiling a list of possessions to include purchase prices, model
numbers, etc. will assist when filing a claim, with deciding how much remer’s insurance will be needed, or how much to increase your HO Policy limits. (Taking pictures or videos is also encouraged)

Q: Are there auto insurance issues I should discuss with my agent?
A: Inform your agent if your children go away to college. If they don’t take a car, you
may be entitled to a premium discount but still be able to retain coverage should
they come home for holidays or borrow a car while away at school. If they do take
a car, premiums may increase or decrease, depending on the location of the school.
In addition, maintaining a certain GPA may entitle you to a “good student discount,”
whether they bring a car to school or not.

Q: Are there health insurance issues to consider?
A: Children attending college who are younger than 26 may maintain coverage
on your insurance, as long as they’re not offered coverage through their own employer. If your child attends college in another state, your plan’s network of hospitals and preferred doctors may not extend there. However, your student will likely have coverage for emergency care but need to travel to a preferred doctor or hospital for routine care. Check your plan’s provisions or contact your provider to find out what benefits are available.

Q: What if my children don’t have insurance or it’s limited by network service issues?
A: Consider purchasing a “student health care plan”. Such plans are sold by insurers who have contracted with the college. Contact your child’s college for more detailed information. Another alternative would be to purchase an individual health insurance policy through your agency.

Q: Are there other issues to consider?
A: There are several to discuss with your agent, including: Tuition Refund Insurance, Life Insurance, and Identity Theft Insurance.

Q: How do I know what I should do?
A: Making such a decision about your options is yours, and yours alone under the law. As your independent insurance agent, Gunn-Mowery can help explain these
options. Our agency’s job is to help provide you with information, so you can make informed decisions.

United Way of the Capital Region reaches fundraising goal

The United Way of the Capital Region announced their campaign fundraising figures for 2012, saying they exceeded their goals for the 16th consecutive year by raising $11.8 million. The final figure surpassed last year’s total by $519,574.

“To surpass our goal during these challenging times is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Greg Gunn, the Chairman of the 2012 Annual Campaign at the United Way of the Capital Region and Managing Partner of Gunn Mowery. “As these difficult times continue, more and more people need the safety net of programs and services supported by our United Way. We shared this message with the community throughout the campaign and people responded with extraordinary goodwill.”

Gunn Mowery was proud to be a contributing donor to the annual United Way of the Capital Region Campaign in 2012 and recognizes Mr. Gunn’s significant part in raising funds and awareness for the United Way. The agency, a leader in the region for its insurance services, will continue to support United Way campaigns in the future.

About Gunn Mowery
Founded in 1985, Gunn Mowery is an independent insurance broker providing commercial insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits, captive insurance, financial services and surety bonds to clients in Central Pennsylvania and beyond. Our professionals are licensed in 35 states and have placement capabilities worldwide. We have four offices in Cumberland County (Lemoyne), Lancaster County (Lancaster), York County (Dillsburg), and Centre County (State College).

Recognized locally, regionally and nationally in our industry for service, innovation and best practices standards, we continue to meet the needs of our clients. To learn more about our agency, visit, or e-mail us at

The Importance of Replacement Cost vs. Market Value

Disaster can strike at any time, so most individuals are not immune to personal loss regardless of season.

A recent survey found that most homeowners are seriously underinsured. Marshall & Swift/Boekh (MSB), a leading insurance data services company, found that 66-percent of homeowners had inadequate coverage by an average of 18-percent. That works out to $36,000 for a typical $200,000 home.

While few people would willingly choose a policy with a $36,000 deductible, it ultimately is the net result of being underinsured on what may well be their most valuable asset.

Market Value vs. Replacement Cost

The market value — or what your home would sell for today — is very different from replacement cost coverage, which is the amount necessary to properly insure the rebuilding of your home. Market value takes into consideration the land value, depreciation and other nearby market factors while the replacement cost simply reflects the cost to rebuild a home. These can be very different numbers.

For example, you can have a home that is worth $400,000 in one neighborhood while an identical home across town could have a market value of half that much, even assuming they were built on lots of equal size. But actually replacing those homes — rebuilding them in place using similar construction methods and materials — would essentially cost the same for both. Rebuilding costs can be higher or lower than market values, since factors like land value and depreication don’t affect rebuilding.

Separate Structures

Separate structures, sometimes referred to as “other structures” or “Coverage B,” refer to any structure that is on your property, but not attached to your main house. Examples of separate structures include:

  • Detached garage
  • Fence
  • Garden shed
  • Detached in-law unit
  • Retaining walls
  • Swimming pool
  • Outdoor kitchen

Most homeowner policies automatically include separate structures insurance (Coverage B) that equals 10-percent of the amount of insurance on the main house (Coverage A). If the number and value of separate structures are significant, such as the detached living quarters — or others beyond just one of the items listed above — a separate valuation should be done for each to determine if extra coverage is needed.

Contents Coverage

Your homeowner’s policy will automatically include personal property coverage, which is a separate item sometimes known as “Coverage C” that can equal 50-percent to 75-percent of the Coverage A amount. If you have a typical amount of personal property in your home, this may be adequate.

However, if you have a significant amount of personal property or you have higher value items, then you may want to discuss an additional amount of coverage with us. Items such as jewelry, guns, coins, computers, business and high risk property typically have policy sub-limits, some of which may be $1,000 or less.

Such special items should be discussed with Gunn Mowery, especially if they are valued over $1,000. A homeowner’s policy has many options to increase these personal property coverage amounts.

For more information on homeowner’s coverage, please contact Gunn Mowery at 1-800-840-1243. You can also reach us via email at or visit our website at Become our Facebook fan at

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Gunn-Mowery accepts no liability for the content of this blog post, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing, or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. Content that appears is not intended to substitute for personalized professional insurance advice.