Browsing Tag

student risk

Health Other

Top 3 Reasons College Tuition Insurance Is a Smart Decision

July 11, 2019

When college families and their students are discussing college, the topic of money always comes up in the conversation. For good reason too! Did you know that the combination of tuition, fees and room and board charges average between $20,000-$50,000 a year?

For many college families, the expense of a higher education is one of the largest investments they will make. Since there is so much money at stake, we suggest that college parents make a plan in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to severe injury or illness. Of course, if you are one of the few families out there that can afford to lose your large investment, then tuition insurance may not be necessarily needed for you.

However, for most of the twenty million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire college semester is a burden big enough to break the bank. As a result, college families are smart to consider the purchase of tuition insurance prior to the start of the school semester.

3 Reasons Tuition Insurance is a Smart Decision

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the tuition paid for a semester at school – Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund of your expenses in the instance that a student gets severely ill or injured; it can also help cover the costs needed to get back on your feet in the event of needing to withdrawal.
  2. If your school does not provide a 100% refund – Do you know what your school’s refund policy is? A majority of school refund policies do not extend beyond the fifth week of the semester, and many don’t refund the full cost after the start of classes. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is so you can see how much of your money is at risk.
  3. If you have additional academic expenses – Even if the school does provide you with a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans can provide coverage for academic fees and student housing in addition to tuition.

Student health incidents like illnesses, accidents, and injuries happen frequently, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment by purchasing tuition insurance! Visit our website at www.gradguard.com/tuitioninsurance to see the plans available on your campus!

Other Student Life

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance or Does a Homeowner’s Policy Provide the Right Coverage?

July 1, 2019

In 2019, the average college family spent an average of $976.78 per student on back to college shopping. You need a lot of things for college, but are those belongings safe in your residence hall or off-campus apartment? As you pack up your things for school, you may want to consider ways to protect your stuff. Insurance is one way to protect these items by offering financial protection in the case of a loss. However, it can be confusing to know what kind of insurance you need to protect your belongings (and liability!) and how much that can cost.

The first step is to determine whether your parents have homeowners insurance, then ask them about the terms of that insurance. Will it extend to cover you while at school? Is it enough coverage? If the answer is no to either of these questions, you may want to consider Renters Insurance. But how do you know what to get?

Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit down with GradGuard founder and insurance expert Bill Suneson to get the scoop, which is summarized for you below.

When a student moves into a residence hall, typically the terms of the housing agreement make it clear that the school is not responsible for stolen or damaged personal property. Also, the student becomes personally liable for any damage caused to the dorm room or residence hall. The same applies to most rental agreements if you move into an apartment off-campus. Without the proper insurance, you (and your family) can incur a significant financial loss if you cause unintended damage to your residence or suffer a loss to your personal property. For example, if you burn the wall making a late night snack, or someone steals your bike, without insurance the burden is on you to replace those items and pay for the damage.

GradGuard College Renters insurance is an easy and affordable way to protect your personal property against theft, water damage, fire, etc.  It is not uncommon for a laptop computer or bicycle to be stolen from a dorm (you can probably name a friend this has happened to) and most low-deductible renters insurance plans would provide a quick replacement.

Also, a renters insurance plan protects students if you are personally liable for causing damage to your residence – colleges or building owners would promptly bill you for your portion of the loss. It’s not something you would necessarily think about when you’re excited to move in and start the semester, but just remember about how easy it could be to inadvertently trigger the sprinkler system if you caused a small fire cooking in your kitchen.  That’s a lot of money and damage that you’d be responsible for. Without the proper coverage, you may find yourself with a hefty bill.

GradGuard is just one way to protect yourself. You may already have some coverage thanks to your parents. Yes, most homeowner’s insurance policies do extend coverage to students when they are away at college. However, your parents should review their policy closely before you leave for college as some policies may have certain limitations.  For instance, policies may limit coverage to students attending college full-time or living on-campus (even more restrictions if the student is living off-campus.)

But there are some things to consider about a homeowner’s insurance policy that you should discuss with your parents. Most homeowner’s policies have high deductibles and families are unlikely to file claims such as a $500 bike theft because the payment would not exceed their deductible.  Also, home insurance rates are increasing and filing small property or liability claims generally result in higher rates for your family over time.

With deductibles as low as $100 and most premiums about $.50 a day, GradGuard College Renters Insurance is both valuable and affordable for students even though some coverage may exist through their parents’ homeowner’s policy.  Spend a couple minutes reviewing this information with your parents to figure out what will work best for you and your family. You may find you feel comfortable with the cost of replacing your personal items and decide against coverage altogether, but you may find you want some protection. As always, speak with an agent to find the best policy for you. Happy packing!

This article was updated in July 2020

Career Other

Essential Questions Regarding Tuition Refunds & Tuition Insurance

June 27, 2019

Back to school season brings with it the usual media discussion about the cost of college, and what is necessary and what might not be needed for families to be best prepared for the fall semester.

Many insurance products aren’t essential… until you need them. Then, they can be a lifeline that helps protect your family from potentially devastating losses; always ask yourself about the risk you are taking for your investment in higher education. Can you afford to pay for an extra semester of college if something happens?

We suggest that all college students and families ask three questions prior to the start of college:

  1. What is the financial consequence if your student is unable to complete the semester due to a serious illness, injury or death of a parent?
  2. Does your school provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals?
  3. Can you afford to protect your investment with tuition insurance?

When selecting a school, it is imperative that you know that schools tuition refund policy.

Today, many parents don’t know the answer to any of the questions above. Most have no idea how the school they attend would handle a refund if their student was unable to complete the semester due to an unexpected illness or injury.

Determining the Need for Tuition Insurance:  Medical withdrawals are an infrequent, but costly event for students and their families. A 2015 survey of college officials estimated that 41% of campuses report having more than 1% of students complete a medical withdrawal a year and 59% indicating less than 1%. Data from the 2019 Association of College Health Administrators (ACHA) national student health reports also highlights the frequency of events that students indicate may disrupt their education:

Protect Your Student & Your Investment:   Unless schools provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals, GradGuard suggests that parents’ purchase at least some tuition refund insurance coverage for their student.  Check GradGuard.com for the coverage options available at your school. Note that certain school programs offer different pricing and coverage options and there are limitations to tuition refund insurance coverage.

Remember that coverage must be purchased prior to the start of school and may are not available to residents of all states. Remember to see your personal policy for complete details after you purchase!

This article was updated in July 2020

Other Safety

5 Safety Apps Every College Student Should Know About

May 14, 2019

The college years are some of the most exciting years in a person’s life. They’re all about exploring interests, experiencing life, and learning from mistakes. As fun as college can be, there’s also a great deal of responsibility that comes with being on your own for the first time. One of the most important aspects of this responsibility is ensuring your personal safety.

As a college student, you’re likely to face a unique set of dangers being on a campus setting. Whether it’s theft, assault, drugs/alcohol, or cybersecurity threats, they will all present themselves in different ways. It’s likely that you’ll encounter one or more of these issues, but it’s how you handle the situation that will help you emerge from it safely. Being both educated and prepared are some of the best ways to stay safe. Thankfully, there have been significant advancements made in technology that have been developed to help protect today’s college students.

Whether you’re going off to college for the first time or already have a few years under your belt, you’ll want to check out these five safety apps that every college student should be aware of.

Circle of 6

This app is the perfect way for college students to feel safe when walking home at night. Just simply download the app and set up your “circle” which is essentially your six emergency contacts who will be notified in an emergency. If you are in any form of danger, you can tap the icons inside the app twice and your circle will be sent a notification alerting them to the situation. Based on the icon you chose the app will send one of three texts to the circle:

  • GPS icon: “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.”
  • Phone icon: “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”
  • Chat icon: “I need to talk.”

Rave Guardian

This app has been backed by many universities who have instilled this app on their own campuses. By sending out a simple message or anonymous tip you can be connected to your local university police station who will assist you with your situation. The app also has a feature to virtually assist you on your walk home. Simply notify the app when you leave and where you’re going, if you don’t notify them of your arrival after a set time period, the app will send someone to check on you.

Norton Secure VPN

Cybersecurity threats have become a growing concern for college campuses over the last decade. Between viruses, breaches, and phishing scams there can be a lot to protect your devices against. Having a virtual private network on your mobile devices can help safeguard your devices by encrypting your connection, making you invisible to outside cybercriminals. This can be invaluable in keeping your personally identifiable information from ending up in the wrong hands, or worse, becoming a victim of identity theft.

KiteString

While this application is more of a text-based service, it’s been praised as highly as other competing apps. The simplicity of this program is that you can text them when you’re going to be walking alone or in an uncomfortable situation with the amount of time that you’d like them to check in on you after. They’ll send you a check in text and you just simply reply that all is alright. If you don’t respond after that time, KiteString will send your emergency contacts a notification.

Revolar

As is true in most emergency situations, you don’t always have the time to open an app and respond immediately. Revolar’s app is connected through a wearable device that you can attach to a backpack or purse. Its simplicity makes it easy to press in a panic to have help sent to your location immediately. You can customize your alerts, messages, and contacts easily through the mobile app keeping the device seamlessly connected.

Be sure you stay safe out there with these apps from GradGuard and be sure to follow us on social media for more!

Other Student Life

Don’t Expect Your Homeowners Insurance or University to Replace a Stolen Computer or Backpack

March 7, 2019

As nearly 3 million new college students and their families prepare to start college this year, now is an excellent time for parents and students to examine important financial issues that can impact the entire family.

insurance-chart

Students living independently for the first time may mistakenly believe that their parents’ homeowners insurance will protect them.   There may be coverage for students who live on campus but in many cases, homeowners insurance contains high deductibles or eligibility requirements that may exclude certain claims, ultimately making it insufficient or inadequate for college students and their families.

Rental housing expert, Ben Hoglund, CPM, believes that it is incumbent upon student housing providers to educate their residents on the importance of adequate renters insurance protection. “They aren’t going to learn that in class,” proclaimed Hoglund.

Hoglund referenced a survey he conducted titled “Campus Housing Risk Mitigation Study” in which he researched the types, causes and monetary impact of property damage occurring on college campuses across the United States. The study also addressed student and housing provider awareness of available insurance products to mitigate these risks.

The findings show that:

  • 33% of respondents indicated that it is not their policy to require reimbursement for resident-caused fire or property damage in excess of $5,000.
  • Campus policies on required property insurance vary, with many schools having no requirement with regard to renters insurance.
  • 24% of respondents were not aware that some renters insurance products do not include both personal property and liability protections.
  • A majority of respondents estimated that less than 60% of their student residents are aware that they can be held financially responsible for damage to university property for which they are at fault. Vandalism, bicycle theft, and electronics theft are the most reported personal property losses by campus residents.

Due to higher insurance deductibles and low collection rates on resident damages, private sector housing providers have become proactive in their efforts to mitigate property financial losses caused by resident carelessness and negligence.

GradGuard offers renters insurance that covers personal property loss in the case of fire, certain natural disasters, theft, and vandalism, and provides personal liability protection for bodily injuries to another person or for damages to another person’s property if an incident occurs within the rented residence or elsewhere.  Check your policy for complete details and limitations, but in all cases get protected.

Other Transition

Why Renters Insurance is A Smart Decision for College Students

January 17, 2019

College students are smart to consider protecting themselves with renters insurance.  In fact, a majority of state insurance commissioners recommend college students consider renters insurance.

According to the 2018 Clery Act reports on campus crime, colleges and universities reported 22,469 burglaries. During the same year, campuses reported 2,070 fires within on-campus student housing.

“While property crimes like burglary and campus fires are an ongoing problem on many college campuses, the good news is that there is a renters insurance policy that is designed just for college students,” said John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority on protecting the investment of college students and their families and a leading provider of renters insurance to schools nationwide.

With so much money at stake, Fees suggests that college parents make a plan in case their student is a victim of theft, their property is damaged by a fire or water damage or if they are found responsible for accidental damages they may cause. As a result, college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renters insurance before the start of school.

The Top 3 Reasons Renters Insurance is a Smart Decision for College Students:

  1. If you can’t afford to replace your backpack, bicycle or computer – Renters insurance can replace your stolen or damaged property.  Renters insurance can cover those costs and help you get back to classes, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. If your school does not replace stolen or damaged property – The majority of schools do not replace stolen or damaged student property. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.
  3. If you can’t afford to pay for accidental damages you may cause – True renters insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

According to Bob Soza, President of College Parents of America, “not all renters insurance programs are the same. We recommend GradGuard’s college renters insurance plan because it includes an exclusive student endorsement that provides affordable coverage that features a low deductible, worldwide property coverage, and no credit check.”

Fees continued, “college students and their parents are often caught unprepared and these unexpected incidents can also disrupt a students’ education.  Fortunately, they do not also need to be unprotected, for about $.50 cents a day, students can secure protection against financial losses making renters insurance a must have consideration for college families.”

This article was updated in July 2020

Other Student Life

10 Tips to Help Boost Your College Budget

December 5, 2018

The broke college student subsisting on instant ramen noodles and mooching off their parents may be a tired cliché, but it still carries a kernel of truth: college isn’t cheap, and money is often very tight as a result. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re having a hard time keeping your finances in the black during college, there are plenty of steps you can take to improve your situation. With a little bit of planning and ingenuity, the ten tips below can help ease your budget crunch and make sure that you’re getting the very most out of your college experience.

  1. Cut Costs on School Supplies

As any college student can attest, textbooks and other supplies can burn a hole in your wallet in a hurry. Rather than buying new books at the campus bookstore, consider looking for used books online, at local bookstores and even from friends and acquaintances. Alternatively, many modern textbooks can be purchased digitally and downloaded to a tablet or laptop for a much lower price than their physical counterparts. Many other supplies can be bought in bulk for big savings, and again it’s best to avoid campus bookstores and their inflated prices.

  1. Use Credit Cards Responsibly

When it comes to credit cards, there are two common and equally troubling approaches. Some people are tempted by the ability to simply flash some plastic and buy anything they wish, while others are scared away from using them entirely. In reality, there’s no reason to fear credit cards – if they’re used responsibly. In fact, using a credit card for routine purchases and paying off the balance in full each month is a fantastic way to begin building a strong credit history. Just be aware that interest rates are often exceedingly high, so don’t buy something you can’t pay for except in the event of a true emergency.

  1. Cook for a Week

Food is an expense that most college students simply don’t think about, but it can add up quickly. Eating out or signing up for a meal plan isn’t cheap, and relying on cold pizza and Hot Pockets isn’t very healthy. Instead, consider making your own meal plan by devoting a few hours on the weekend to cook meals for the entire week. Simply plan out whichever meals you’d like to eat, make a list of all the necessary ingredients and buy them all at once. Cook the meals, place them in containers and stick them in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is take your chosen meal out and heat it up. Voila!

  1. Start a Savings Account

It’s never too early to start saving for a rainy day, and a savings account is a great way to do it. Even if you can only afford small, irregular deposits, you’ll be building a financial cushion and earning interest while you’re at it. Most importantly, you’ll begin developing the good saving habits that you’ll need to prepare yourself for the future. Take time to do your research and find the best interest rates available, but be sure to avoid accounts that require a monthly fee.

  1. Use Your Student ID

You may not realize it, but your student ID can be a major money-saving tool. You’ll find a variety of fun activities on nearly any college campus, and your student ID can often snag you a serious discount or even free admission. It’s a great way to stay engaged and enjoy yourself without shelling out much money. Your ID can also earn you savings from a wide range of other stores, venues and websites, so keep your eyes peeled for student discounts wherever you go.

  1. Use Alternative Transportation

If you’re accustomed to driving to and from class, you may not notice how much money you spend on gas and other transportation-related expenses. Whenever possible, consider using alternative means of transportation to save some extra cash. If your commute is short enough, walking or riding a bike is free and can help to keep you in shape. Public transportation is another cost-effective option, and it can even give you an opportunity to sneak in some extra work or studying.

  1. Do Your Homework on Student Loans

Student debt is a massive problem in the United States and managing it poorly can cripple your finances for years to come. Easing that burden begins before you borrow a single cent, as choosing the right loan can make all the difference. It pays to do your research, comparing all available options in search of lower interest rates and payment terms that suit your particular situation. In most cases, federal loans will be the most affordable option, as well as providing fixed rates and more flexibility. It’s also important to determine the smallest loan amount you realistically need, which will keep your balance lower and allow you to repay your debt more quickly.

  1. Work Smarter

Balancing work and school is no easy task, but it’s a financial necessity for many students. If possible, try to find a job that naturally fits into your typical schedule. Many employers near college campuses are willing to provide flexible hours for students, but it’s important to keep your employer updated on your schedule to avoid conflicts. You may even consider taking a job that pays slightly less if it affords you time to do schoolwork.

  1. Make the Most of Your Education

While it may not directly put money in your pocket, staying focused on your education will ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck. You’ll be paying for your schooling for quite some time, so it’s important that you get as much out of it as you can. If you go to classes, work hard and set yourself up to succeed in whatever you choose to do after graduation, it’ll be worth every penny that you spend. As an added bonus, spending your time on schoolwork means you’ll have less time to waste money on frivolous things. It may not be as fun in the moment, but your bank account – and your future – will thank you.

  1. Adopt Money-Saving Habits

College is a time to receive an education, but it’s also a time to learn valuable lessons that will serve you for the rest of your life. One of the most important lessons you can learn is how to manage your money, and in particular, how to develop good money-saving habits. Set aside some time every week to review your budget and look for opportunities to save some cash, whether it’s opting for generic brands and using coupons at the grocery store or making your own coffee in the morning instead of paying for an expensive cup at the coffee shop. Learning how to save a few dollars and cents now can make a big difference in staying financially healthy in the long run.

As you begin to “adult” a little more in your daily life, remember to check out GradGuard’s blog for all your college hacks!

 

Beth Kotz is a contributing writer for Credit.com. A graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, she has also been featured as a writer and editor for numerous energy, entertainment, and home blogs.

Health Other

5 at Home (or in the Dorms) Cold Remedies

November 20, 2018

Living in a dorm where everyone is right in close proximity can open you up to a lot of things. Unfortunately, one of those things happens to be colds. And while there is not yet a cure for the common cold, there are simple things you can do at home to get you feeling better and back on your feet in time for finals week.

1. If you have a sore throat, strange as it sounds, it’s a good idea to gargle warm salt water. Adding a 1/4 tablespoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water, and gargling it in the back of your throat can help relieve the pain. The salt helps wash away the nasty things in your throat that cause inflammation and swelling, thus cutting down on the pain in your throat.

2. A cup of tea with honey, while not actually possessing any medicinal qualities, can be a huge relief when you’re all stuffed up and sniffly. Hot tea loosens up your nasal passages and allows air to flow through them again, much in the same way as a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup.

3. Vitamin C is a big one for the prevention and treatment of colds, or really any minor illness. Found in things like citrus fruits, and many fruit juices, it helps cut down on inflammation and mucous and speeds up the production of white blood cells, which in turn speeds up healing. You can also take Vitamin C in pill form as a supplement – Airborne was our savior my freshman year – but many foods, including strawberries, peaches, and broccoli, have a surprisingly high supply.

4. Of course, the classic Vick’s VapoRub always helps clear a stuffy nose and congestion. Applying it liberally to your chest or feet before bedtime can work wonders, and at the very least, ensure you’ll get a good night’s sleep, and not stay up half the night blowing your nose or unable to breathe. If you don’t like the messiness of the rub on stuff, they now have patches you can place on your clothing that have about the same effect.

5. And of course, the most obvious one of all: sleep. In order to fight the infection in your body, lots of sleep is a necessity. Shut your door and close the curtains, and you’ll be asleep in no time. Chances are, your roommates will leave you alone for fear of getting infected themselves so you can nap for hours in peace.

College students are susceptible to illnesses, as well as other mishaps, so it’s important to take the proper precautions. Visit GradGuard for more information!

Other Student Life

What to Ask Your Renters Insurance Agent

November 15, 2018

Being an adult can mean so many different things; first, you have to do your own laundry, second make your own coffee, and third purchase your own renters insurance policy. This can honestly be super daunting to those who still have issues making their own dentist appointments, but we’ve made a simple list of things that you should be sure to ask your renters insurance agent when the time comes!

How do I know what my coverage limits should be?

Most renters insurance policies come with both personal property coverage and personal liability coverage. Personal property coverage is the limit that protects your personal items that are inside of your residence, and personal liability coverage is what protects the actual structure itself. Be sure to talk to your university or rental property to see if they require any specific limits while you are living there.

How much is the policy?

See if your renters insurance agency is charging you monthly, annually, semi-annually, or another billing option. Talk through it with them to see if there is a benefit to one billing option as opposed to another.

How long does the policy last?

This depends on the company that you are purchasing through and what you opted to pay for the policy. If you paid annually, then the policy likely lasts for a full 12 months from the date that you chose your coverage to begin. If you are only needing the insurance for a certain amount of time, be sure to ask your agent about their cancelation process and what is required to terminate the coverage.

What does this policy cover?

This is SUPER important to ask and have an understanding of. For example, if you want to have renters insurance in case someone breaks in and ransacks your apartment, just be sure that theft and burglary is a covered peril under the policy you are wanting.

How does the claims process work?

This is a general question with an important answer. Most people have no idea how to make an insurance claim if needed and it should be one of the top questions to ask your renters insurance agent. The claims process can be different for each agency, so just to be sure you clarify it if needed.

When it comes to purchasing renters insurance, questions are important to ask! We want you to ask questions and have a full understanding of what you are getting. It is so important to know that we are here to help you. Much like a doctor, you should be asking your renters insurance agent as many questions as possible and do not feel like any question you have is too small or too silly. GradGuard has your back and encourages you to ask whatever questions you think are necessary. We are there when you need us and will help you with all of your adulting needs.

Other Transition

Things That Cost More Than Renters Insurance

October 4, 2018

Chances are you’re bringing quite a few things along to college with you this year. Some of those things, such as your bike, laptop, and X-Box are big-ticket, expensive items that you need to make it through the semester as a sane human being. So, what would happen if those items were stolen or damaged? You’d be out a lot of cash just trying to replace them.

On a college student budget, replacing a laptop could be disastrous. In addition to being diligent about your stuff, students should also consider protecting their stuff with GradGuard Renter’s Insurance!

Renters insurance provides valuable financial protection for your stuff and personal liability. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average annual cost of a renters insurance policy is $184; that is less than $16 per month! That doesn’t seem out of reach even on a student budget. Actually, $16 per month is just 53 cents a day!

There are some things you spend more on in college like…

  • Coffee (just a plain black drip coffee costs more if you are getting one every day)
  • Going to the movies with your friends. Even if you just see 1-2 movies a month it will cost more than renters insurance.
  • Newspaper
  • Dorm laundry facility
  • Bus or subway rides
  • Your cell phone
  • A pack of gum/mints
  • A bottle of water
  • Late night pizza
  • Late night Jimmy John’s
  • Making copies at the library (they can get expensive!)
  • Gas for your car (if you are commuting or want to go home every weekend)

Some of these things might not apply to you, but when you think of the things that can happen in college where something of yours might need to be replaced due to covered damage or theft, having renters insurance is definitely worth the price! Make the smart buy and get protection with the only renters insurance that contains an exclusive college student endorsement – with unique features and coverage designed for college life- from GradGuard.