The Do's and Don'ts of College Student Car Insurance

By Elizabeth Hilfrank on August 31, 2017

Car insurance is a tricky subject to explore when it’s your first time dealing with the subject. To make your life a little easier, here are some do’s and don’ts.

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Before deciding the best moves for car insurance, you should consider if it is time to apply for your own insurance or stay on your parents’. To decide this, think about these factors:

1. Do you own the title to the car? If the car is not officially yours, then you can stay on your parents’ insurance without worry.

2. Are you going to take this car to school? If you are a first-year student, you should make sure to check your school’s policy on cars. Many schools do not allow their freshmen to have their cars on campus. If this is the case for you, then stay on your parents’ insurance.

You can submit a form to your company to claim yourself as a resident student if your college is over 100 miles away from your home. This will greatly lower your insurance cost while still allowing you to drive on holiday breaks, drive your friends’ cars, and have you covered both as a passenger and a pedestrian. If the resident student discount does not apply to you, you may be able to use the occasional driver discount, which will still significantly lower costs.

3. Is your permanent residence still at your parents’ house? Similar to above, this also means you can stay on your parents’ insurance. Again, the occasional driver discount may apply.

If these options are not conducive to you, then you may need to look into getting your own car insurance. When doing so, consider these do’s and don’ts.

Do

Have a good driving record. Fewer citations on your record shows that you are a responsible driver and less likely to get in an accident, which will save the insurance company more money, and thus you too.

Have good credit. You may not have much credit if you are just starting out, but any that you do have should be in good standing. This means that you should be paying your bills on time, minimizing debt, and have a hefty amount of available credit. Car insurance companies will look at your credit score in order to determine your reliability, i.e. how likely you are to pay your premium on time. The better the credit score, the more likely you will be to have a lower insurance rate.

Think about car type. If you are purchasing your own car for the first time, take into consideration the insurance that will come in association with the style of car you get. Larger SUV type cars tend to have lower insurance rates than the small sports cars. So, take time to think about behind-the-scene costs before you go for the upfront appearance.

Think about how much driving you do. Before you commit to insurance costs, make sure it is worth the cost in accordance to how much mobility you need. Will it be more of a help or a hassle to have a car on campus?

Use the same insurance company for multiple departments. If you need renter’s insurance, try to combine the companies. You may be able to score some more discounts this way.

Think about location. Insurance rates tend to be higher in highly populated areas like cities while rural areas cost less. Also, you may be able to apply for mileage discount if you have a short commute. Moreover, if your area tends to have a higher theft rate, you should look into some insurance policies that cover you in the case of theft.

Get good grades. Many insurance policies offer “good student discounts.” This means that if you meet a certain GPA requirement, your insurance company will lower your rate.

Ask around. Talk to other students at your school to see what policies they use. The more opinions you gather, the more certain you can be that you are making the right decision.

Don’t

Procrastinate. Do not wait until you get to campus to make your insurance choice. You do not want to rush into the wrong policy, and you also do not want to go without insurance for any period of time. You never know when an accident may occur, so you should always be prepared. You can also get a special discount if you sign early.

Let others drive your car. Even though you may want to be the good friend who helps everyone out, letting others borrow your car increases the chance of accidents and thus increases the chance of your insurance rates increasing.

Lie. Lying on your application will without a doubt come back to haunt you at some point. It is best to just be honest from the start and what will be will be.

Getting your own car insurance is another big step into the adult world. Like everything else, take your time to do your research and talk with your parents. Make sure a car is an investment you really want to make because there is a lot more than just the vehicle that comes with it.

I'm a junior at Gettysburg College with a self-designed major called Writing and Performing Media, and I am a Spanish minor. When I'm not studying, I'm probably running with the cross country or track team, hanging out with my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, looking at pictures of my dog or eating (mostly desserts). I love all things journalism, and I have a strong passion for storytelling.

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