Should you buy college tuition, dorm insurance?

Answer depends on your finances, health, college policies

College costs can be astronomical, so should you buy tuition or dorm insurance to protect your investment?

SAN ANTONIO – Amy Miller has two daughters headed off to college, which means double tuition, room and board.

“It’s just very expensive, and it’s an investment,” Miller said.

The average cost of attending a public university is more than $27,000 a year. For a private university, double that.

So how can you protect your big investment should something go wrong? Should you consider college insurance?

First, there’s tuition insurance, which grew in popularity during the pandemic.

“If your child experiences a major health issue and has to drop out midway through the semester, in that case, the tuition insurance would refund you for the portion your child did not receive (in a refund from the university,) said Consumer Reports’ Money Editor Penny Wang.

Most tuition coverage is only for serious health issues. You should check to see precisely what it covers, such as COVID-19 or mental health.

You may not need it though, if your college has a generous refund or withdrawal policy. Keep in mind many don’t offer refunds if your student withdraws after the first month of the semester. You should ask the registrar’s office if there are exceptions for mental health or emergencies.

In the end, the decision is based on your financial and medical situation as well as the rules of the policy offered by the school’s plan.

Next, there’s dorm insurance, something to consider since students have expensive things like laptops, cellphones, bicycles and musical instruments.

“Dorm insurance covers all the stuff that your kid may be taking with him or her to college,” Wang said. “If something happens, it’s one way that you can get coverage and reimbursement for loss or damage.”

You may already have some coverage with your homeowner’s policy. However, dorm insurance premiums are low and it will have a much lower deductible, so dorm insurance may be the cheaper option.

If your student lives in an off-campus apartment, renter’s insurance is a wise move and likely required by the building.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.