Behold the knucklehead: Are you covered?

Behold the knucklehead: Are you covered?

Teenagers happen and you ask yourself, “What were they thinking?” Scientists tell us that the brain does not fully mature until the early twenties and even then, there are no guarantees we’ll always act responsibly. That’s why the stories we tell our parents about our high school and college hijinks AFTER we grow up make us all wonder how any of us survived our youth. We hope our kids never act the same way, but of course, they probably do.

Society grants teenagers the privilege of independently operating a motor vehicle after their 16th birthday. They also may live in an apartment with no adult supervision during college or during a summer job. With that in mind, parents need to know if they or their children are covered for accidents or the schemes that go awry – the prank that damages property, bodily injuries, the Facebook post that is considered libelous. Here are three examples of situations you should think about.

  • Your daughter is going to school in Oregon. Does she need to have separate auto insurance coverage whether she owns a car or not? It depends. If she has no car and is more than 100 miles away from home, you may qualify for a “student away” discount for your auto insurance. If she has a car that you own, she’s still covered. If the car is registered in her name, she ought to have her own policy. However, she likely will be rated for the state in which she resides the majority of the year. If she’s a city dweller with her own vehicle, it could be expensive.
  • Your son’s friend breaks a leg when your son pushes him off a trampoline. Are you covered for the friend’s medical bills? That’s what homeowner’s liability insurance covers – it provides protection for both bodily injury and property damage. The standard liability limit for medical costs is $1,000 per person per accident though higher limits can be purchased. If there is a covered claim for medical costs, coverage continues for three years following the injury. There are exclusions, though.
  • For example, if it was proved that your son intended to hurt his friend, there would be no coverage as it would be considered an intentional act.
  • Your daughter has moved off-campus into an apartment and visitors damage the place during a party. Is the damage covered by your policy? Not necessarily. A lot of insurance companies consider the student no longer a member of your household as soon as she leaves student housing. That goes for medical liability, as well.

So, should she buy a renter’s insurance policy? Yes, if she can get one. Many insurance companies, however, don’t want to assume the risk of young, party-prone teens with under-developed executive function. In short, teens and college aged students are high risk and not an attractive market for insurance.

If you have any doubt about coverage for your teen or college student, you need to contact us at Clark Insurance or talk your agent. You don’t want to discover there’s no coverage after the fact.

Photo by twm1340

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