College-related students – don’t forget about property protection, car maintenance plan
Whether students are going to school for the first year or returning to campus, car maintenance and property insurance can get lost in the back-to-school shuffle. AAA Kansas reminds students living outside of college and their parents to remember these important steps to ensure vehicles and other property are adequately protected.
“Students living away from home should know that they may have limited coverage under their parents’ insurance policies,” said Gary Tomes, regional director of insurance for AAA Kansas. “Before leaving for college, students should check what risks and responsibilities are covered.”
Home and home insurance advice for students:
• If you live in a dormitory, some personal effects may be covered by your parents’ or tenant’s home insurance policies. Bigger items such as computers and other electronics may be subject to coverage limits under a standard home insurance policy, and some states require special approval from the student.
• If you live off campus, purchase tenant insurance. Renters insurance is necessary to protect you and your property, and can protect you from liability in the event that someone is accidentally injured on the property.
• Leave your valuables at home. While some valuables, such as laptops, may be needed on campus, items such as expensive jewelry may be best left at home.
• Create a “dormitory inventory”. Create a detailed inventory of all the items you will take with you, including photos and receipts. In case you need to file a claim, an up-to-date inventory will make the process easier.
• Protect your items against theft. Always lock your dormitory door and never leave your personal belongings unattended on campus. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the library, dining hall, and other public places are the primary places where property theft occurs on campus.
According to Consumer Reports, dorms can be a hot spot for thieves. Two roommates alone might have $ 6,000 or more of electronics – laptops, tablets, smartphones and game consoles – along with other valuables in their small living space.
According to US Department of Education data on reported crime on college campuses, theft of personal property is the most common crime, followed by motor vehicle theft.
Auto Insurance Tips for Students:
• Coverage may depend on your departure or stay in the area. If you bring a car to campus and stay on your parents’ policy, coverage likely still applies. If you attend an out-of-state school, make sure your insurance coverage is with you. It gets a bit tricky if the student is in classes all year round and has no plans to go home during the summer. Technically, they moved to their college. It becomes even more complex if they have on-campus or off-campus housing.
• Check with your insurance agent. To find out what discounts you may be entitled to and to make sure you have adequate coverage while you study, contact your insurance agent.
If you have any questions or are concerned about the gaps in your current coverage, contact a local insurance agent at 866-AAA-4YOU, or www.aaa.com/insurance.
Auto maintenance lessons for students:
In addition to looking at insurance coverage, students heading to college should also touch on the important topic of vehicle maintenance and repair.
“Frequently, a teenager’s vehicle is maintained by parents while living at home, and lessons on car maintenance are only briefly discussed and rarely used,” said Shawn Steward, spokesperson for AAA Kansas. “Before hitting the road, it is essential that your student fully understands how to take care of their vehicle independently. “
Before sending a son or daughter to college with a car, AAA Kansas encourages parents to sit down with their students and discuss plans for proper vehicle maintenance, as well as how to handle problems. unexpected when parental rescue is not limited to a few minutes. a way.
Check and maintain the tires
Tires are one of the easiest components in a vehicle to maintain, but they are often overlooked until something goes wrong. Each student should have a tire pressure gauge in their vehicle, know its location, and understand how to use it correctly. While there are a variety of tire gauges available, those with electronic readings might be the easiest for teens to use. Explain that tires should be checked at least once a month when they are cold.
Show your young adult where to find the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure – usually on a label on the driver’s door jamb or in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. It is important to let them know that they should not use the inflation pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire. This is the maximum tire pressure level, but it may not be the correct pressure for the tire when used on their particular vehicle.
To demonstrate proper tire maintenance, AAA offers a number of short videos which can be viewed on the AAA YouTube channel.
Know the vehicle maintenance schedule
Performing regular manufacturer maintenance on a vehicle will dramatically extend its life and help avoid more expensive repairs down the road. While it’s a good idea to make sure your student’s car is up to date with all maintenance items before sending them off to college, it is possible that some items may be due while they are away.
Sit down and go through the owner’s manual with your son or daughter. Explain the recommended maintenance schedule and remind them that in addition to base oil changes, other important items such as filters, batteries and brakes should also be checked and maintained regularly. AAA recommends that parents and students create a shared calendar with reminders so both are aware of any upcoming maintenance or service required.
The school year spans the winter months, when inclement weather can place additional demands on vehicle electrical systems. The average lifespan of a car battery is three to five years, which is why AAA recommends that any battery in this age range be checked before the student leaves for school. In many areas, AAA mobile battery service will come to a member’s home and provide that service for free.
Find a repair center near the College
It is important for parents to help students identify an auto repair shop they can trust near their school in case routine maintenance or unscheduled repairs become necessary.
If you don’t know the surroundings of a college, visit www.aaa.com/reparation to locate nearby AAA approved auto repair facilities. As a free public service to all motorists, AAA inspects auto repair shops nationwide and only approves those that meet and consistently maintain high professional standards for equipment, customer service, cleanliness and training.
Upon arrival at college, AAA recommends that parents and students visit the selected repair shop and meet with the staff. Ask for store business cards that you and your young adult can keep handy in an emergency.
Prepare for road emergencies
It is also important for parents to prepare their children for a breakdown or other road emergency, especially if they are attending college too far away to “call home” for help.
Make sure the student’s vehicle has a fully stocked roadside emergency kit with content suitable for local weather conditions during the school year. A basic kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, first aid kit, bottled water, rags or paper towels, tire pressure gauge, blanket, granola or energy bars and a selection of basic hand tools. Add an ice scraper, snow brush, and kitty litter or other material to increase traction if snow or ice is a problem.
For added peace of mind, offer the student an AAA membership, which offers reliable roadside assistance through a large, dedicated network of service providers with good coverage in and around the college. The many benefits of AAA are available to members no matter which vehicle they are in, so parents don’t have to worry about their teen getting stuck in a friend’s vehicle with no access to the emergency road service.
Road safety reminders
With students leaving for school, it’s always a good time for a refresher on safe driving behaviors for the trip to campus and throughout the school year:
Observe the speed limits
• Be aware of any unique or different traffic laws – such as cell phone bans – in the city where your school is located.
• Do not drive distracted by phones, passengers or other factors.
• Always travel for law enforcement, construction, towing and other work vehicles as well as vehicles that have broken down on the side of the road.
• Never drive while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Arrange a designated driver or a sober ride home.
• All drivers and passengers of a vehicle must wear a seat belt at all times.
AAA provides auto, travel and insurance services to over 62 million members nationwide and over 350,000 members in Kansas. The AAA defends the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to providing exceptional road service for over 100 years. AAA is a non-stock membership company that works on behalf of motorists, who can plot a route, access a map of COVID travel restrictions, find local prices for gasoline and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (www.aaa.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a membership, visit www.aaa.com.