TDCI shares insurance tips for back-to-school season

NASHVILLE – Going back to school is an exciting time for students and parents. As the school year gets underway across the State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (“TDCI”) reminds consumers that education doesn’t stop in the classroom. TDCI’s Insurance Division offers insurance tips and reminders to help make your back-to-school season go smoothly.

“As the parent of three young children, I know the back-to-school season can be hectic for students, parents and educators alike,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “During this busy time of year, I want to encourage Tennesseans to take a moment and consider our insurance tips, which I hope might provide greater peace of mind all year long. Individuals who have insurance questions should contact our team for assistance.”

Insuring a teen driver? Know the facts.

  • If a teenager lives with his or her parents or legal guardians and doesn’t own the vehicle, the teen can stay on their parents or guardian’s insurance policy.
  • Review current deductibles to determine if the deductible is affordable, should an individual need to pay it. On older vehicles, consider lowering or eliminating physical damage— unless a lienholder, such as a bank, requires it.
  • Increase deductibles and have the teen drive the oldest vehicle to help lower insurance costs. Consult your licensed insurance agent to learn more.
  • SUVs, convertibles, and sports cars often come with higher insurance premiums.
  • Several insurance companies offer discounts to students with high grade point averages.

What to do if there is an auto accident.

Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen. If a driver is involved in an accident, remember the following tips:

  • If someone is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately to request an ambulance. Make sure an officer comes to file a police report. This helps the insurance company process the claim.
  • Take pictures of the damage to submit once the individual contacts the auto insurance company to start the claim filing process.
  • Take the car to an auto shop—either one recommended by the insurer or a shop you prefer.
  • An adjuster will look at the vehicle to assess the damages.
  • The auto insurance company will determine how much to give toward repairs or, if a total loss, a new vehicle.

Covering college students.

College students who are away from home also need to be prepared. Remember:

  • Students can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old.
  • Find a doctor and health facility in the area that are in-network with the health plan.
  • Keep auto insurance policies up to date. If the college student will not drive for a year, take them off the policy. If the student will drive, keep them on the policy.
  • If they have a car, make sure they always keep their auto insurance card with them or on their mobile device.
  • Homeowners’ insurance policies may cover a student’s belongings in a dorm or apartment may be covered by his or her parents’ homeowners policy. Ask your agent if the policy covers these items.

Unfairly denied an insurance claim? 

If your family experiences a claim denial, claim delay or settlement disagreement, file a complaint at, under “File A Complaint.” TDCI’s Consumer Insurance Services team serves to mediate claims between policyholders and insurers. In 2021, over $8.2 million was returned to Tennesseans through these efforts.Call 615-741-2218 for insurance questions or more information.

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