College Student Car Insurance 101

TWG - Car Insurance for College Students

If you are a parent sending your child to college or are a student yourself, there’s a lot to prepare for when heading off to college. You may be wondering how car insurance works while in college. Here are some basics that you need to know.

Can I stay on my parent’s car insurance policy?

Most states allow you to stay on your parent’s car insurance policy while you are in college. The main criteria for staying on your parents’ policy are:

  • The car is in your parent’s name.
  • Your registered permanent address is the same as your parent’s address, even though you reside on campus for part of the year.
  • NOTE for Parents: When your child decides to move out permanently and keep their car where they live, your child will need to get their own policy and be removed from your policy.

The benefits of staying on your parent’s policy are:

  • It’s less expensive.
  • You can share cars.
  • It’s convenient.

PRO tip: Talk to your insurance agent to discuss whether a student can stay on their parent’s insurance and your options. The agent will need some information, including:

  • Whether the student is taking a car to college.
  • Who owns the car.
  • Is the student living on or off campus?
  • Zip code where the car will be parked.

How much does car insurance cost for college students?

There are many factors that determine the cost of car insurance. However, usually, the cost is higher for college students. Typically, those between the ages of 18 and 25 are, on average riskier drivers, and premiums reflect this.

Are there any car insurance discounts for college students?

Some discounts include:  

  • Clean driving record (i.e., no accidents, claims, or violations).
  • Good grades.
  • Vehicle safety features like airbags or anti-theft.
  • Taking a driving course.
  • Parking in a garage.

PRO tip: Ask your agent about discounts you may be eligible for.

How is my vehicle valued?

Insurance companies will ask for the year, make, and model of your vehicle.  

  • Certain makes/models result in higher premiums due to claims history and repair costs.
  • Usually, the more expensive the vehicle, like luxury vehicles, the higher the premium.
  • Usually, the newer the vehicle, the higher the premium.

What if I have an accident in the evening or on the weekend?

Most insurance companies offer 24/7 claims centers to report claims.

What are the factors that affect premiums for college students?

  • Violations: Insurance companies will look back 5-7 years at any violations you have had.
  • Accidents/Claims: Insurance companies will review all prior accidents/claims carefully.
  • Zip Code: Urban and suburban zip codes have higher rates than rural zip codes because they have more traffic, congestion, and crime.
  • Primary Use: Driving your car daily has a different exposure than using it occasionally. Examples of primary use include commuting to/from work or school; pleasure; business; farm.
  • How many miles each year: The greater the distance you drive, the higher the premium.
  • Who owns the vehicle: Is it paid for, financed, or leased? Financed or leased vehicles may require specific coverages at specific limits dictated by lenders.
  • Driver’s license status: Insurance companies want their insureds to have valid licenses. If you have a suspended, revoked, or expired license, it will be very difficult to get a policy.

Here are additional PRO tips about Car Insurance:

PRO tip 1:

Ask your agent if your Personal Umbrella Policy sets over your Auto Policy. Umbrella insurance is a separate policy that can provide additional protection to help cover costs your car insurance policy leaves off. 

If you don’t have a Personal Umbrella Policy, ask your agent to provide a quote. It’s an important addition to your insurance package to help protect your assets.

PRO tip 2:

Proactively throughout the year Let Your Agent Know Immediately when there are changes that could affect your vehicle insurance like:

  • You purchase a new car.
  • You sell a car.
  • Your teenager gets a driver’s permit or driver’s license.
  • Your child goes to college.
  • You move.

If you have questions about car insurance for your college student, please contact Kristi Flynn.