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To Insure or Not to Insure: What to Ask When Your Kids Go to College

Back to college books

In-state, out-of-state, taking a car to campus, relying on public transit. When your kids go to college, there’s a lot to ponder about your auto insurance. That’s why we’re here to help. Get answers to your most commonly asked questions about your college kids and auto insurance so you’ll be prepared when they head off to school.

My kid is going out-of-state and taking my car. How do I insure them?

Good question. Most auto insurance companies require vehicles to be insured in the state in which they’re registered. This means that registration location, state in which your license is issued, and insurance must match. If they’re currently under your plan, you most likely will have to change the policy to a different state.

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Does my college kid still qualify to be under my auto insurance?

As long as they’re under 25 and live in your home when they aren’t at school, then yes.

My kid is only going to be gone for a few years. Do I still have to change insurance information?

To piggyback on the first question, yes. If your college student is renting housing or working in another state, they’re usually considered to be residents of that state. It’s a must to update your policy information for any major life changes such as moving—whether temporary or not. Failing to do so brings us to our next point: differences in state minimum liability coverage laws.

What could happen if I don’t notify my insurance of my child’s move?

Whether you kid is taking the car or not, they could drive a friend’s car while away or need auto insurance if they’re hit by a driver. The reason you always want to talk to your auto insurance company about altering plans is because some states have different minimum liability coverage amounts. Your kid might be fully covered for an accident where you live, but if they have to use auto insurance in another state, they could fall short if the other driver or passengers were seriously injured or cars were totaled.

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If I move their insurance to another state, are they covered when they drive at home while visiting?

Just because they’re insured in another state doesn’t mean they’re not covered wherever they go in the U.S.. It just means that their liability coverage amounts may vary. When they’re home, they will still be covered and your own policy should protect your car no matter who is driving.

What if my kid owns the car?

This is actually pretty simple. Your kid actually must have their own insurance policy if they own the car (have the title in their name) anyways. Transferring the title and registration to another state and then purchasing insurance in that same state will do the trick.

How much will it cost for my college kid to get their own auto insurance?

As we discussed in another post, teens and young adults can cost more to insure than adults 25 or older because of the risk factors involved with their driving. However, if they maintain certain guidelines and ensure that their policy coverage doesn’t lapse (this is considered a high risk factor that can increase premiums), you should be able to shop for quotes that meet your kid’s budget.

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Do I keep my kid on my policy if they won’t be driving at school?

Auto insurance will protect your kid if they’re driving someone else’s car while away at school or if they are struck by a car. It’s always a good idea for them to be insured, but you can change their coverage so you’re only paying what you have to. Which segways nicely into our final point…

Are there any auto insurance discounts for college students?

There are indeed. Many insurance companies offer discounts like:

  • Good grade discounts for students who maintain a high GPA
  • Distant Driving Discounts which usually take effect if your child is 75-100+ miles away from home (and don’t have a car at school)
  • Usage based insurance (UBI) or Occasional driver status which charges you based on how often your kid will be driving. If they have their car at school, these won’t apply, but if they’ll only be driving when home then this could save you money

 


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