CIBC Infinite VISA

Insurance college students need

September 5, 2013

By Sheryl Smolkin


When you are budgeting for your child’s college or university education, tuition, books, accommodation and food are at the top of the list. But don’t forget to consider whether or not your child will require individual health, home or automobile insurance once he/she comes from or is moving to a different city, province or country.

Health Insurance:

The Government of Saskatchewan’s Health Plan provides basic hospital and medical health coverage to residents of Saskatchewan at no charge. If an international student arrives directly from his/her home country, coverage starts on the day of arrival.

The student must have a valid study permit, proof of registered, full time status and a Saskatchewan resident address. A spouse or dependant living with the student at a Saskatchewan residence with immigration documents allowing a stay longer than six months is also eligible for coverage.

Generally students who go to school in another province but intend to return to their home province to live after graduation continue to be covered by the provincial medicare plan of their home province.

However, a student from another Canadian province who becomes a resident in Saskatchewan will be eligible for Saskatchewan Health coverage three months after setting up a residence in the province. Similar eligibility requirements apply for students moving from Saskatchewan to other Canadian provinces.

If the health plan of the province a student is leaving does not cover health cost during this three month period, he/she should have private health insurance.

Students will also require supplemental health care insurance that covers medical, dental and drug expenses not covered under the provincial medical plan. Children under 21 can be claimed as dependants under a parent’s employer-sponsored group benefits plan.

A full-time student attending an educational institution recognized under the Income Tax Act (Canada) is also considered an eligible dependent under an employer-sponsored group benefits plan until the age of 25, as long as he/she is entirely dependent on the parent for financial support.

Colleges and universities typically have group health insurance for students with the premium included in the tuition fee. It may be possible to opt-out with proof of other coverage. In cases where your child is covered under both your employer’s plan and the university’s student health and dental plan, the university plan is the first payer.

Auto insurance:

If a student with a car moves from Saskatchewan to another province or vice versa, it is important to follow the proper guidelines to fulfill the licensing and vehicle requirements of the province and ensure insurance coverage continues without interruption.

The Kanetix website has a handy cheat sheet which includes the government ministries, agencies or departments you should contact to ensure you know the applcable licensing and vehicle registration rules.

First of all, students should notify their current insurance supplier that they intend to take a car to another province to attend school. Policies and rules vary by company so they should speak with their licensed representative before leaving to avoid any lapses in coverage.

Students can learn more about the requirements of the province where they will be attending school at the links below.
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, OntarioQuebecNewfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island 

Home insurance:

An August 2012 TD Insurance poll found half of Canadian renters under 35 do not have tenants’ insurance. In a press release announcing the results of the poll, Dave Minor, Vice President, TD Insurance sets the record straight for renters by debunking the five most common renter’s insurance myths:

Myth #1: If something happens, it will be covered by the landlord’s policy

Nearly one-third of Canadian renters under 35 (32%) incorrectly believe they are covered under their landlord’s insurance policy. But Minor says your landlord’s insurance likely only covers the building you live in and not your personal possessions or your liability for accidents.

Myth #2: My roommate has insurance, so I should be covered too since we live together

“Generally, renter’s insurance does not cover your roommate and instead only covers your own personal belongings,” says Minor. But if roommates are considering purchasing joint insurance, they should discuss how they will pay for the policy and have a clear understanding of what each roommate’s valuables are worth.

Myth #3: The chances of something actually happening are so small it’s not worth the cost

Accidents can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and the financial impact can be significant. A number of common incidents and simple mistakes that are generally covered under renter’s insurance, including:

  • A break-in.
  • A party where there is accidental damage to a neighbour’s property or a neighbour’s property.
  • A pipe freezes and breaks.

Myth #4: Renter’s insurance isn’t affordable

Renter’s insurance can be very affordable, and there are several ways to save. Purchasing auto and renter’s insurance with the same insurance provider, or through a student association can often yield discounts.

Myth #5: I’m covered under my parents’ insurance policy

Students may be covered by their parents’ policy if they live away from home while at school, but this coverage can be limited. Speak with your insurance provider to find out what coverage your child will need. Renter’s insurance is inexpensive and you may decide that it is best if your kids have their own policy.

Do you have tips for college or university students about insurance they may need once they move out?  Share your tips with us at and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.

If you would like to send us other money saving ideas, here are the themes for the next three weeks:

12-Sept Kid’s allowance How much and what your children have to do to get an allowance?
19-Sept Extracurricular activities How many and how much?
26-Sept Employee benefits Getting value for your employee benefits

What kind of credit card does your college student need?

August 29, 2013

By Sheryl Smolkin


Kids going away to college or university for the first time are typically bombarded by credit card offers from the big banks at frosh week events. If the bills are paid every month a personal credit card can be the first step to a positive credit rating.

To compare available terms on student credit cards take a look at this quick comparison table. However, there are other options that will allow you to more easily monitor your child’s credit card use and step in quickly if there is a problem.

Because my husband and I each have a personal credit card in addition to the card we use jointly for most family purchases, we decided that the best solution was to get my daughter another card on my account and one for my son on my husband’s account.

We never worried that they would abuse our trust because we check our accounts very frequently online, and if a problem did arise, we knew we could nip it in the bud pretty quickly.

But if you are not comfortable with giving your college-age children their own card or a card on your existing account, another option is a reloadable prepaid card.

If you are considering a prepaid card, carefully check out the sign up and monthly maintenance fees for this type of account. And keep in mind that these cards typically do not involve any credit reporting, so they will not help your offspring build a credit history.

Secured credit cards are also available. They allow you to put down a deposit at the bank that secures the balance. Your child can’t exceed a preset limit and he will begin to build a credit history. But you will have to co-sign, so closely monitor the card.

Whatever type of card you select, here are some ways you can educate your kids so they will use their new privileges wisely:

Interest mounts up: Do the math together. For example, my CIBC Infinite VISA card charges interest at 19.99 per cent a year or .05476 a day. Compare that to the .5 per cent annual Advantage for Youth Interest Rate CIBC is currently paying on its Premium Growth Accounts!

Pay bills in full: Be a good example. Avoid paying interest by paying your bills in full. Make it clear that anyone who can’t afford to pay off credit card bills each month can’t afford the items charged to the card.

The credit limit is irrelevant: Set personal spending limits. Just because a card has a credit limit of $1,000 or $20,000 doesn’t mean a cardholder should charge to the max. Unless your child is spending for budgeted items and will have cash on the due date, tell him to forget it until he has saved up the money.

Break the rules, forfeit the card: Be clear about the rules of engagement. Make sure your teenager knows if he overspends, or uses the card for unauthorized purposes, it will be cancelled. No ifs, ands or buts.

Understanding how credit cards work and learning to use them properly is an important part of your children’s financial education. By helping them to understand the potential pitfalls of buying on credit when they go away to school, you may save them a great deal of grief later.

Do you have tips for college or university students researching credit card options? Share your tips with us at and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.

If you would like to send us other money saving ideas, here are the themes for the next three weeks:

05-Sept College/University What kinds of insurance does your child need?
12-Sept Kid’s allowance How much and what your children have to do to get an allowance?
19-Sept Extracurricular activities How many and how much?