Insurance Tips for Wisconsin’s Recent Graduates
Madison, WI—As Wisconsin graduates enter into an exciting new phase of life, they should educate themselves about insurance as part of their financial game plan. Many students are covered on their parents' auto and health insurance policies while in school, and some possessions may even have been covered under parents' homeowner's policies. After graduation, however, young adults may lose this coverage.
"This is an exciting time of year for Wisconsin's graduates," said Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel. "Before leaving home for college, now is an essential time for young adults to understand their insurance needs as they consider their financial game plan. Personal protection including auto insurance, and possibly renter's insurance, can prevent costly losses in the future."
Understanding insurance can be overwhelming, but breaking it down into a few simple steps can help.
- Read your policies—You should know what your policy covers before you have a claim. Ask your agent or company representative any questions you may have.
- Shop around—Wisconsin has one of the most competitive insurance markets in the country, which is good for consumers if they shop around. Both price and coverage may vary, so the best deal may not always be the cheapest price.
- Finding an agent—For many consumers, using an agent makes the purchase of insurance much easier. To find an agent, ask your parents, friends, or co-workers for recommendations. Look up the agent at oci.wi.gov to make sure the agent is licensed, which companies they represent, and whether or not they have any administrative actions.
- Call your agent—If you have a claim or are having a problem with your insurer, call your agent. They can often assist you in better understanding your policy and making sure you are taking the rights steps in filing your claim.
If the car you drive is owned by your parents, you are likely still covered on their auto insurance policy. However, if you buy your own vehicle, you will need to purchase your own individual policy. Anyone operating a motor vehicle in Wisconsin is required to have an active motor vehicle liability insurance policy in place, and be able to provide proof of coverage if asked by a law enforcement officer.
OCI offers information and frequently asked questions to help clarify auto insurance policies, coverage, and laws at oci.wi.gov/Documents/Consumers/PI-233.pdf.
Like homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance provides coverage for the loss of property from risks like fire, explosion, vandalism, theft and other perils. Many policies will also provide temporary living expenses if your apartment is uninhabitable.
If you are renting, you need to be aware that your landlord's insurance only covers the building–NOT your possessions.
Under federal law, adult children up through age 26 are permitted to remain on their parents' health insurance plan under certain conditions.
The Guide to Health Care Insurance consumer publication on OCI's website provides additional information on comprehensive health insurance and many of the Affordable Care Act changes.
OCI offers many consumer publications like those listed here to help answer your questions about insurance. Visit oci.wi.gov/Pages/Consumers/ConsumerPublications.aspx for a complete list of resources.
You may also contact OCI with questions, concerns, or complaints regarding insurance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting ociaccess.oci.wi.gov/complaints/public.
Created by the Legislature in 1870, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.