When your child goes away for college, most of the focus is on tuition, books, and his or her dorm room. But if your child is going to be taking a car along, there are steps that you need to take to ensure he or she has the proper coverage.
If your student is currently covered and will be at least 100 miles from home, the Insurance Information Institute recommends letting your insurance company know, as you may be eligible for a discount. If your child has his or her own vehicle, the price of insurance will fluctuate based on whether the vehicle will be kept at home or school, and on where the school is located.
However, you don’t want to simply take your student off the policy, as there are plenty of other scenarios to consider. What if he or she chooses to use the family ride while home on break, or acts as the designated driver with a friend’s car? If you leave your child covered, those scenarios are taken care of. There are other benefits, including the protection if he or she is hit by a car — whether as the driver in his or her own vehicle or as a passenger in someone else’s — and keeping your student on the policy can help maintain continuous coverage, an important step for when he or she gets his or her own policy.
There are some ways to try to reduce your rates. For example, less-expensive vehicles traditionally are less pricey to insure. Some insurance companies offer discounts if your child maintains good grades or takes a defensive driving class. You can also raise your deductible and install an antitheft system, which can further drop your monthly payments.
Even with all the right planning, accidents will happen, and college students tend to be involved in a significant portion of them. A US News article from 2013 showed that around 80 percent of college student drivers have texted while driving, with the CDC estimating that around 10 people are killed and 1,000 injured every day in the United States from distracted driving.
Your child’s college years come along with plenty of stressors, but worrying about his or her vehicle shouldn’t be one of them. Discuss these topics and have one less thing to worry about.