Preparing for college is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life, and comes with a unique set of challenges, expenses, and decisions that shape the outcome of your academic goals.
One aspect of college life that many parents and students overlook is the role that quality car insurance can play in your future, regardless of whether you choose to live on campus or with family and friends.
With appropriate car insurance for college students, you can help keep yourself and your vehicle safe from an unexpected accident, and protect your financial interests from the burden of a low-coverage policy.
But before you begin comparing car insurance rates, there are a few steps you should follow to ensure that you get the best coverage and save money at the same time.
How to get car insurance for college students in 4 simple steps…
Step 1: Check to see if you qualify to stay on the parent’s car insurance policy
College might be the beginning of a young driver’s transition from adolescence to adulthood, but that doesn’t mean they’ll need their own car insurance policy just yet.
Just like many health insurance plans, car insurance companies offer programs that allow your student to remain on the parent car insurance policy while they’re attending school.
In most cases, this will be determined by who owns the title to whichever vehicle you plan on driving while at school.
Parent Owned Title
If the parent’s name is on the title of the car, you’ll likely be able to keep your existing policy. You can work with your insurance agent to make sure that your student is listed as an approved driver of your vehicle so that they’ll be adequately covered in the event of an accident.
Jointly Owned Title
If both the parent and student’s names are on the title of the car, there’s still a good chance you’ll be able to use your current policy. Many insurance companies will use the parents driving records to determine your rate, increasing your chance of getting better coverage without overpaying.
Student Owned Title
If the student’s name is the only one on the title of the car, they will most likely have to purchase their own insurance policy. This is why it’s important to weigh your coverage options before deciding whose name to put on the car, as it can seriously affect your insurance rates moving forward.
Ultimately, staying on the parent’s insurance policy is the easiest way to guarantee that you get the best rate possible for your student.
However, if this isn’t an option for your family, there are a few ways you can lower your car insurance rates without compromising on safety.
Step 2: Pick the right coverage for your campus needs
Whether you purchase a separate insurance policy for your student or you’re able to keep them on your existing program, you’ll want to make sure that the coverage you have is appropriate for a college lifestyle.
And even though many college campuses are designed to allow students to easily walk from class to class, there’s still a risk involved when commuting to and from school.
That’s why there are 4 main types of car insurance products that you should consider to maximize the safety of your college-aged student.
What it is: Typically considered mandatory in most states, liability insurance is a basic form of coverage designed to help you with both medical and legal costs stemming from an accident in which you are found to be at fault.
Why you need it: Besides being required to legally operate a vehicle, liability insurance was created to protect you from unexpected costs from an accident.
Liability insurance includes both bodily injury and property damage coverage, which can be used to cover medical expenses for the injured party and to help with repair costs for a damaged vehicle.
What it is: While not always required by the state, collision insurance is a type of coverage created to cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, whether you’re involved in an accident with another car or an object like a fence or pole.
Why you need it: Unlike liability insurance, collision insurance takes matters one step further by covering any repair costs associated with your car, no matter who is at fault for an accident.
Most importantly, collision coverage makes it easy to get the help you need for minor accidents, such as hitting a curb. This makes it an ideal component for drivers on busy college campuses.
What it is: As the name suggests, comprehensive coverage gives you more protection than mandatory insurance options. It can help cover repair costs to your vehicle if it’s been damaged in a storm, broken into, and everything in between.
Why you need it: You’ve probably heard the term “full coverage” when it comes to car insurance rates, but the reality is that most policies don’t protect you from life events like weather damage or theft.
Comprehensive coverage gives you an added layer of protection against these circumstances, so you can be prepared for whatever life throws at you.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
What it is: While most insurance products are made to reduce your own liability in an accident, uninsured motorist coverage serves to fill the coverage gaps you might face if another driver doesn’t have adequate insurance to cover your costs.
Why you need it: No matter how safe of a driver your student is, some things are out of our control.
With uninsured motorist coverage, you can guarantee that your costs will be covered, even if you’re dealing with a hit-and-run accident, which is common on crowded college campuses.
Step 3: Compare the best car insurance quotes
While the average cost of car insurance can vary greatly depending on your demographic and history, there are a few factors that all insurance providers will use to create a car insurance quote for your policy.
Statistically speaking, young drivers are more expensive to insure than older generations and are seen as more reckless in their driving habits.
That’s why it’s important to try and obtain a policy that can be shared by the parent and student, so you can save money on your rate while still having high-quality coverage.
If you’re looking to purchase a car for a young driver, you should consider opting for a newer vehicle with updated safety features.
These cars are usually less expensive to insure since they are often equipt to help drivers avoid collisions. Other factors like color, body style, and racing capabilities can also play a role in the price of your policy.
It goes without saying that heavily congested areas, like those surrounding college campuses, come with a higher risk of being involved in an accident.
When you’re ready to look at college housing options, choosing to live in a less crowded area or with friends and family members off campus can help lower your rate while you commute for class.
Finally, having a clean driving record is essential to getting the best rate possible on your insurance policy.
You should encourage safe driving habits for young drivers, as even minor traffic infractions can quickly accumulate points that negatively impact your car insurance rates.
With these considerations in mind, you can have a clear idea of what you can expect to pay for your college student’s insurance policy.
Step 4: Save money with discounts
Of course, car insurance quotes aren’t the final deciding factor when it comes to getting great coverage.
Most insurance providers offer discount programs that you can utilize to save money on your policy, before, during, and after college.
The most common discounts for full-time students include…
“100 Miles From Home” Discounts
If your student commutes less than 100 miles to attend school, you may be able to save money on a “close to home” discount.
These are used to encourage young drivers to spend less time on the road, decreasing their likelihood of being involved in an accident.
Good Grade Discounts
Getting a good education should be every student’s number one priority.
That’s why many insurance companies encourage young drivers with discounts designed to reward them for their hard work, one semester at a time.
Safe Driver Discounts
While your driving record is often used to lock in your car insurance rate, the benefits of safe driving don’t end there.
Most insurance providers reward drivers who maintain a clean driving record, whether they’re enrolled in school or not.
Car accidents aren’t the only threat to your vehicle on a college campus.
By investing in an anti-theft device that prevents car-jacking or break-ins, you can potentially lower your rate and protect your property against malicious attacks.
Start your journey to better coverage today
We understand that getting ready for college can be an overwhelming experience for both parents and students alike.
That’s why our dedicated team of licensed insurance agents is here to take the stress out of the car insurance shopping process by delivering industry-leading policy options from nearly 40 carriers, so you get the best coverage for every budget.
Connect with our customer service staff to begin reviewing car insurance quotes today.