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A College Parents’ Guide

September 8, 2011

If you have a child that is either headed off to college or you have already dropped your him or her off, here are a few tips that may help give you a little piece of mind:

  • Have an Advance Medical Directive (also known as a Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) naming one or more parents as the agent. That will enable you to speak with your child’s doctor or hospital and be involved in the care decisions. Otherwise if your child is over 18, thus considered an adult, you won’t be involved in the health care decisions or even be allowed to ask about his or her condition.
  • Check with your homeowners insurer to see if your policy covers theft from a dorm room. If your student is in an apartment you may want to check out renters insurance.
  •  If your child is going to school more than 100 miles away, your insurer may give you a discount on your auto policy as the student may be considered an infrequent driver.
  • Your child will be flooded with credit card offers at school. It’s a good idea to take out one credit card — and only one. Look for the lowest rate and don’t be enticed by rewards or other perks. This should be considered a card for emergencies.
  • Give your student gift cards for purchasing particular items; for instance from a linens store or the campus bookstore. That way you know the card will be used for its intended purpose.
  • Teach your child to guard their identity: make sure they don’t carry their Social Security card in their wallet and don’t give it out indiscriminantly, or use it as a log in ID.

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