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.

Important News Regarding Hurricane Sandy

As of Monday morning, Hurricane Sandy was just beginning to take shape in Central Pennsylvania. The National Weather Service is reporting that rain and gale force winds are expected to hit the region the hardest Monday afternoon through Tuesday.

The United States of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also issued a report recently that federal emergency aid has been made available to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to “supplement commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Sandy beginning October 26, 2012.” To read more, click here.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning in Central Pennsylvania as of 5 a.m. on Monday, October 31st.

A High Wind Warning remains in effect from 8 am this morning to noon EDT Tuesday.

  • Winds: increasing from the north to sustained speeds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts between 60 and 70 mph.
  • Timing: beginning late this morning. The strong winds will last through Tuesday morning. The wind direction will shift to the South early Tuesday, then west during the midday hours.
  • Impacts: numerous downed trees, and widespread, potentially Long-duration power outages.

The National Weather Service continued to offer recommendations for how to deal with the storm.

A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. If you experience a power outage, do not use generators. Grills or other gasoline, propane or charcoal burning devices inside your home or garage. They produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that kills more than five hundred Americans each year. Generators should be placed outside, away from doors windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to seep inside. Do not let your car idle inside the garage, even if the garage door is open.

Please be aware of these risks and alter your preparations as needed. If you need to reach Gunn Mowery, please contact us at toll-free at 1-800-840-1243, or locally at any of the numbers below. For claims information, please visit our claims page here. You can also e-mail us at info@gunnmowery.com.

  • Harrisburg, 717-657-3233
  • Lemoyne, 717-761-4600
  • New Cumberland, 717-774-7481
  • Dillsburg, 717-432-9635
  • Hanover, 717-637-2221
  • Mechanicsburg, 717-766-0241
  • Mount Joy, 717-653-1481
  • Lancaster, 753-5000
  • State College, 814-237-2491

Here are some common tips that can help you prepare for a Hurricane:

Plan ahead and practice so that your evacuation is safe, smooth and fast. In an emergency you may have only a few minutes to gather your important papers and leave your home, possibly for good. Have the following ready to go:

  • Medicines, prescriptions, comfort items and a change of clothes.
  • Emergency supplies such as flashlights, radio, batteries and water.
  • Computer hard drive or laptop.
  • Photographs.
  • Insurance policies; birth and marriage certificates; wills; deeds; financial information such as account numbers, recent tax returns, stocks, bonds and other negotiable certificates; driver’s licenses and other personal identification.

Looking intimately at your home, there are some tips you can use to proof your home from potentially damaging winds, and or weather-related risks.

  • Install storm shutters to protect your windows or use plywood panels, which can be nailed to window
  • frames when a storm approaches.
  • Make sure exterior doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock that is at least one-inch long. Sliding glass doors should be made of tempered glass and covered with shutters or plywood.
  • Replace old garage doors and tracks with a door that is approved for both wind pressure and impact protection. Wind coming into your home through an opening this large poses grave problems for the rest of your home—especially your roof.
  • Seal outside wall openings such as vents, outdoor electrical outlets, garden hose bibs and locations where cables or pipes go through the wall to prevent water penetration by using a high quality urethane-based caulk.
  • Prepare your yard by removing all outdoor furniture, lawn items, planters and other materials that could be picked up by high winds. Trim trees and shrubbery and remove weak branches on plants and trees.

For more news related to Hurricane Sandy, please see these links as reference links:

Steps to reduce commercial auto insurance premiums

The top two factors affecting your commercial auto insurance premiums haven’t changed. The history of claims within a fleet and the driving records of individual drivers will impact commercial insurance carrier rates. However, employers can still stay in control by employing mature, experienced and responsible drivers.

Once you have selected solid workers, the next step is to enfornace safety standards and provide them with the adequate rest and the tools they need to drive safely. There are a number of new tools that employers can take advantage of. New technologies and advances in underwriting are making it possible for emploeyrs of drivers to take a more pro-active approach to risk management and claims reduction. The ultimate goal is to lower your premiums.

Here are some things you can do to keep your premiums down:

  • Consider using a monitoring service, such as SAMBA, to automate your drivers’ monitoring program. Drivers don’t always self-report their tickets, accidents and DUI issues. Services like SAMBA’s driver record monitoring routinely checks for new violations, DUI convictions, license suspensions, revocations, and approaching license renewal dates. You get a report each month, and you can take action, if warranted.
  • Add GPS tracking to your vehicles. Advances in GPS tracking and displays enable you not just to track your vehicles’ whereabouts, but also monitors it for speeding.
  • Turn the public into your eyes and ears. You’ve seen thsoe signs ont he backs of commercial vehicles which state, “How Am I Driving? Dial 555-555-555?” Turns out, they work. But if you do get complaints, it’s important to follow up in writing.
  • Do a pre-screen of all new hires. You can pull their abstract from the DMV. You want people with few points on their licenses.
  • Incidents happen. But if a driver has two or more at fault accidents within the past three years, you probably don’t want him or her on the road. DUIs can be a deal-breaker, so probe this carefully.
  • Raise your deductible. For best results, keep your deductible up to at least $1,000. This keeps fender-benders off the books. The deductible is usually trivial compared to the potential claim if your driver causes bodily injury to someone else. Take the savings and put them aside to pay the fender-bender issues, or buy more liability or umbrella coverage.
  • Maintain an ongoing safe driver program. You can reward drivers for a certain number of miles of incident-free driving, for example, or bonus all of your drivers with a share in premium savings if their safe records help you save money.
  • If your state allows, periodically pull your drivers’ DMV records and inspect their driving habits off the job. If your state allows, consider a safe-driving caluse in the employment agreement. Don’t spend more on vehicles than necessary. Expensive vehicles mean higher premiums.
  • Consider whether you need collision coverage. If you have an aging fleet, or you can afford to replace the occasional vehicle, consider cancelling collision.

Auto insurance companies are constantly adjusting their underwriting, striving to compete with each other for their share of the market. If your drivers have a good record, of if you can point to a number of these countermeasures designed to control your claims experience with your carrier, it pays to let Gunn Mower know.