Protecting Students Away at School

Each fall, millions of students will head off to colleges and universities. As a parent, you have probably already taught your child basic safety practices and arranged appropriate insurance protection for their possessions, which may be worth quite a bit in aggregate. However, there are potentially even more serious risks to consider.

It’s likely that your child will be enjoying the social benefits of school as much as the education. Unfortunately, since most college students are still fine-tuning their critical thinking and judgment skills, social situations create significant liability concerns. Given the litigiousness of society and the fact that liability claims can end in six- or even seven-figure settlements, it’s important to arrange appropriate liability insurance coverage to protect your child — and yourself.

Social Host Liability

If your son or daughter decides to host a party, whether or not there is alcohol involved, and a guest is injured on premises, significant liability can result. The stakes become even higher if a party-goer makes the wrong choice about whether or not to drive under the influence after leaving the gathering. Seemingly innocent horsing around between friends can result in injuries and lawsuits wherever the incident occurs. You can’t control your child’s behavior while away at school, but you can provide appropriate liability protection in case of a financially devastating settlement.

Social Media and Defamation

Then there’s the topic of personal liability and social media. The assumed anonymity of the Web makes it all too easy to write and post whatever comes to mind. People, particularly young people, take advantage of that while forgetting that anything posted online is a public forum. IP addresses can be traced, libel can be committed even if a post goes only to select friends, and defamation lawsuits can carry hefty settlements. While case law catches up to the virtual world, students would be wise to review their school’s social media policy and remember the adage, "if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all."

Auto Accidents

We often hear that the insurance follows the car, but if your child is driving someone else’s car when an accident occurs, they could be financially responsible if the owner of the vehicle doesn’t have adequate coverage. On the flip side, if you have allowed your child to take your car to school, it could be your liability in question. Further, many insurance companies require they be notified if a car will be housed at a new address and some even require roommates to be added to the policy or they may deny coverage. Take time to communicate with your insurance advisor whenever there is a change to make sure your coverage keeps pace.

Talk To Marsh

The issue of liability is often cloudy, whether it’s related to hosting a party or event, a social media faux pas, or auto accidents. It can get more confusing since these young adults are still part of your family, yet they may not be protected under the umbrella of your insurance. Potential liability scenarios are incredibly varied and determining appropriate coverage is an important decision. Because sending your child away to school is a significant life event that can have various implications on your insurance program and their financial future, the best course of action is to have a conversation with a Marsh Personal Insurance Advisor about your family’s particular situation. Discussing the risks will help your child avoid potentially ruinous situations, and considering fairly simple insurance solutions will help protect them in the event of a loss. Then they can enjoy the experience and focus on their education and you will be relieved of some worries as well.

Identity Theft and College Students

Identity theft can ruin one’s credit rating and cost a significant amount of money and time to repair the damage. Most college students still have pristine credit, which makes them ideal targets of identity theft or fraud. That helps to explain why, according to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 26% of identity theft victims are age 29 and younger.

To lessen the risk of identity theft:

  • Shred personal documents before disposal.
  • Review bank accounts and credit card statements regularly to identify fraudulent activity.
  • Protect smartphones and computers with advanced security software.
  • Avoid having private conversations on mobile phones in public places.
  • Don’t open suspicious email or Web links. 

Should an identity theft occur, having appropriate insurance in place will help with damage control.

About Marsh

Marsh Private Client Services is a division of Marsh, a world leader in providing comprehensive risk and insurance services and solutions.

We build long-lasting relationships with our clients through our commitment to detail and superior service. We begin every client relationship with a complete personal risk analysis. We review your current risk profile and insurance program, taking into account both present circumstances and future plans. We then construct a comprehensive set of recommendations for an insurance program tailored to you.

We maintain close relationships with the nation’s top specialty insurance carriers catering to affluent individuals and families. And, as part of Marsh the world’s leading insurance broker, we use our excellent insurance market relationships to obtain the optimal insurance coverage for you.

To learn more, contact Marsh Private Client Services or visit

Marsh is one of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, together with Guy Carpenter, Mercer, and Oliver Wyman. This document and any recommendations, analysis, or advice provided by Marsh (collectively, the “Marsh Analysis”) are not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Marsh shall have no obligation to update the Marsh Analysis and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling, analytics, or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty, and the Marsh Analysis could be materially affected if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information, or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change. Marsh makes no representation or warranty concerning the application of policy wording or the financial condition or solvency of insurers or reinsurers. Marsh makes no assurances regarding the availability, cost, or terms of insurance coverage. Although Marsh may provide advice and recommendations, all decisions regarding the amount, type or terms of coverage are the ultimate responsibility of the insurance purchaser, who must decide on the specific coverage that is appropriate to its particular circumstances and financial position.

Copyright © 2015 Marsh LLC. All rights reserved. Compliance MA14-13063.

Article provided by Marsh Private Client Services

Have a Question? Contact the Service Center at 1-877-799-6772.
See which of your eligible clients are enrolled in Reserved Living & Giving and invite those who are not.