When you’re in college, a lot of your time (and money and energy) is usually focused on how to pass your classes, followed by how you’re going to celebrate passing them with your friends afterwards. Sure, money (and certainly the lack thereof) tends to be a bigger issue than it was in high school, but it’s still not something that you tend to stress too much about. After all, one way or another, you have a place to stay and you’ve discovered how to make your meal ticket or mini-fridge last in miraculous ways.
Now following graduation, it’s kind of a different story. Even if you did have an off-campus apartment or a new car (with a car note) along with a job, there’s a pretty good chance that you still had your parents’ support; at least when it came to your insurance. Reality has set in, though and you’re quickly realizing that certain bills that you’ve never had to be too concerned with are about to become your sole responsibility.
Bills like what? Glad you asked.
Did you know that in 2008, there were over 1.7 million uninsured college students in America? Did you also know that while you may have been fortunate enough to remain on your parents’ policies, you may have been automatically removed from it following your stroll across the graduation platform? Yes, there are some health insurance companies that go by age rather than a person’s school status, but this is nothing to assume. Definitely consult with your parents about when your health insurance expires and if it’s already happened and funds are tight, there are some things to keep in mind. One, beware of discount plans; you know, the companies that say for a monthly fee, you will be provided with health care coverage. They tend to be very limiting in the services that they provide. Instead, if you’re currently in good health, spend some time shopping around for either a short-term health policy (while you’re looking for one that’s the best fit for you) or even purchasing a major medical policy. These are used in times of extreme emergencies like hospital stays and surgeries. Another thing to remember is that you’re now a person in the workforce and good health coverage is only second to your salary while on your job search. This means that you should be sure to discuss with your potential employers the health insurance options will be available to you should you be hired to work for their company.
This would be next on the list and there’s a good chance that you were on your parent’s policy for this one as well; however, the sooner you can get your own car insurance, the better it is for everyone. Before purchasing a policy from your parent’s company or going with an inexpensive one like Safe Auto, spend some time doing some comparison shopping. Insurance.com, NetQuote.com and CompareCarInsuranceCompany.com are all websites that will provide you with quotes from major insurance companies in your area based upon the make, model and year of your vehicle. Once you find a couple of prices that work well for you, ask the insurance companies if they offer discounts to college graduates or good credit scores. And while you’re out there creating more credit, remember that a bad credit history will actually increase your premiums.
While living on campus, if some of your possessions were missing, you could report it to your dorm director. In the “real world”, things are not so quick or simple. Whether you plan to rent out an apartment or share a home with a roommate, renter’s insurance is a wise kind of policy to have because it replaces what you may have lost due to theft, loss or damage. While looking for the right kind of renter’s insurance, be sure to ask each potential company the following questions: Do they have policies that cover you and any visitors that you may have? Do they cover things that may be lost or damaged while traveling? Will they allow you to share policies with your roommate(s)? What are the discounts they have available and do you have the option of paying either annually or monthly? Because rental insurance is not something that people find themselves needing to “cash out on” as much as health insurance or car insurance, be sure to get all that you are wanting out of your policy before signing on the dotted line.
Yes, living as a college graduate is a huge responsibility, but it’s also the first time in your life when you can say that you’re really on your own with the power to make the best decisions for your future life; the ones that are finally off campus…the ones that are a part of your new adult life.