Is My College Student Covered Under My Homeowners Insurance While Away At School?

Metro Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer


One question often asked by parents of college students is whether their children are still covered under their homeowners insurance policy while they are away at school. In the standard homeowners insurance policy, the word insured means the person named in the policy and includes: 

  • Your spouse (if a resident of the same household)
  • Your relatives (if residents of the same household)
  • Persons under the age of 21 residing in the same household and in your care or in the care of your resident relatives. 

Relative has been held to include not only blood relatives, but relatives by marriage. Allstate Ins Co v Tomaszewski, 180 Mich App 616, 447 NW2d 849 (1989). A person is a resident of the named insured's household when he or she is "domiciled in the same household." Workman v DAIIE, 404 Mich 477, 496–497, 274 NW2d 373 (1979). Domiciled means physical presence and the intent to remain. 

As it pertains to college students, the standard homeowners policy defines students away at school as an "insured" if the following elements are met: 

  1. The student is a full-time student as defined by the school;
  2. The student was a resident of the household prior to leaving to attend school; and
  3. The student is either under the age of 24 and a relative or under the age of 21 in the care of an insured person. 

In Montgomery v Hawkeye Sec Ins Co, 52 Mich App 457, 217 NW2d 449 (1974), the insured’s 22-year-old son was involved in an incident while away at school. In an attempt to deny coverage, the insurance provider argued that at the time of the incident the son was not a resident of the insured's household, thus the insurance provider had no duty to defend or indemnify. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision finding a duty to defend and indemnify because the son lived at home with his parents except when in the service or away at school, and the parents supported his education by paying tuition and rent. 

It is important to carefully review your policy for modifications and contact your agent with questions. For a guide to homeowners insurance for Michigan consumers, click here

Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan law firm practicing personal injury law. Contact us today at 248-430-8929 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case, with no obligation.