Should You Take Your College Student Off Your Car Insurance?
How Does Your Child Heading off to College Affect Your Car Insurance?
Well, they’ve finally done it. You shed a tear as your high school graduate walked across the stage, and they’ve thrown their caps to the sky. The summer has come to a close, and your child is heading off to college to begin a new chapter. With all these life changes, you haven’t gotten around to thinking about how your child heading off to college will affect your car insurance.
You may be wondering about your options and which one is best for you, your family, and your wallet. Here’s what you need to know about removing your college student from your car insurance policy.
Should You Take Your Child off of Your Policy?
As a parent, erring on the side of caution when considering taking your child off your insurance policy is recommended. While you stand to save a significant amount of money on your car insurance premiums by removing them, you’ll need to think about the circumstances.
Ask yourself questions like:
- How far away are they attending school?
- Will they plan to come home often?
- Will they have regular access to a car on campus?
If your student won’t be taking their car to school or won’t be visiting home often, it might be in your best interest to remove them from the policy. However, keep in mind that taking them off your policy while your home is still their primary address could raise some red flags with your insurance company. They might ask you to fill out a form stating that your child will not have access or be allowed to drive your vehicle.
A child excluded from your car insurance policy won’t be allowed to drive your car even in an emergency, regardless of if you’re in the car with them. If you’re not able to ensure that your child will never drive your vehicle during the time they’re in college, it might be best to leave them on the policy.
Should College Students Have Their Own Car Insurance Policy?
If your child is heading off to start their college career with a car, keeping them active on your policy is best. If you buy them a car and your name is on the vehicle, you can qualify for multi-vehicle discounts, lowering the cost of both their policy and your own. If they purchase a vehicle and their name is the only one on the title, they’ll probably have to get their own policy, which will cost more.
If your college student chooses to have their own car insurance policy, insurers will base their rates on several factors. Here are a few factors that will impact your rates:
- Address: Insurers take address into account when calculating car insurance rates. If your student is attending college in an urban area or another ZIP code where crime rates are higher, you can expect to see a spike in your monthly premiums.
- Age: Is the student a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college? Young drivers tend to cost more to insure, so the younger they are, the more expensive their car insurance rates will be. Generally, car insurance rates tend to drop after 25 if they maintain a clean driving record in their teens and early twenties.
- Mileage: If your child commutes long distances to college, the higher the insurance premium will be because they’re more likely to get into a collision. If they don’t plan to drive much after moving away, dropping them to an occasional driver or choosing pay-per-mile insurance can help you save some cash.
Can Parents Keep Insurance On A Car In Another State?
Yes, you can! Parents can keep insurance on their college student’s car, even if they attend school in another state. However, you’ll need to make sure that your current policy meets the minimum auto liability requirements for that state. You can find these auto liability requirements by checking online by state.
Play it safe by always alerting your insurance agent or car insurance company of any changes in address for your college student. That way, if they have an incident or collision while away at college, you don’t run the risk of getting a claim denied due to “misrepresentation.” If your insurer finds out that policy members live at different addresses, they could even cancel the policy altogether.
Car Insurance Coverage Considerations For College Students
“Student Away at School” Coverage
If your college student is attending a school far away from home, you may be eligible to receive the “student away at school” discount. This kind of coverage is extended to policyholders with a child attending and living at a university or college and who is not regularly driving a vehicle insured on your current policy.
To qualify for a distant student discount, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. Auto insurance companies may each have unique criteria, but standard requirements include:
- Your child must be attending school full time
- Their school must be at least 100 miles away from your home
- Your student will not have access to a car at school
- The student is under the age of 25
There are exceptions for each state, so be sure to contact your insurer to determine if this coverage is available to you. If not, consider shopping around to find cheaper rates with an insurance carrier more suited for your needs.
Keeping Your Student as an Occasional Driver
If your child leaves the nest but remains on your policy, consider dropping them from a primary driver to an occasional driver in order to save money. The definition of an occasional driver differs with each insurance company, but it’s generally a driver who drives less than 25% of the car’s annual mileage.
The rates for your occasional driver are based on their driving records. If your college student has no incidents on their record, they’ll be quoted at a lower rate, saving much-needed cash that can go towards hefty tuition.
Pay-per-mile insurance is ideal for drivers who don’t plan to spend much time on the road. If you only use your car a few times a month, paying full price for car insurance rates just isn’t fair. With pay-per-mile insurance, you get full auto coverage for your car based on how many miles you drive. Since people who spend limited time on the road are considered low-risk drivers, this type of insurance tends to be much more affordable than others.
Here’s how it works: You begin with a base rate that’s calculated based on your gender, address, marital status, and several other factors that influence car insurance rates. Once your base rate is calculated, a mileage rate of a few cents is added on top. Your insurance company will track your miles driven each month by a picture of your odometer or by a telematics device installed in your car that keeps track of your mileage for you.
At the end of each month, your insurance company will add your miles driven to your base rate to provide you with a final bill. If your college student has been studying away at school, chances are this bill will be a lot lower than a standard policy.
Good Student Discounts
If your college student gets good grades consistently, they might qualify for the good student discount. To apply this discount to your car insurance rates, you’ll need to show proof of your student’s academic achievements. They also need to meet specific requirements to be considered for the discount. Car insurance companies will consider your college student for the good student discount if they can provide the following information:
- A grade average of B or higher
- Good standardized test scores on the SAT, ACT, or PSAT
- Signed letter by your administrator giving evidence of your academic achievements
- Be in the top 20% of your class ranking
- Dean’s list or Honor Roll
These are general requirements, but some insurance companies may also require students to be under the age of 25 and unmarried. You can find these discounts and others at insurance providers like Allstate, Liberty Mutual, GEICO, State Farm, Farmers, and more.
Compare Rates for Your College Student to Maximize Savings
There’s no getting around it; car insurance for younger drivers will always be more costly. Of course, one of the best ways to maximize savings for your college student is to compare car insurance policy rates to find the best deal.
However, you might feel overwhelmed with all the insurers and quotes to sift through. If you feel like this, you don’t have to throw your hand up and quit. Compare.com is here to help.
Compare.com provides users with dozens of quotes that help them find the best rates in just a few minutes. There’s no time like the present, and comparing car insurance quotes may reveal that there are savings to be had with another insurer. Visit Compare.com today to find the best rates for your and your college student.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can college students stay on their parent’s car insurance?
Yes, they can. It’s up to each parent if they choose to take their student off the car insurance when they go to college.
What do you do with car insurance when your child goes to college?
If your child plans to drive regularly at college or commute from home, you can leave them on the policy. Even if they don’t take a car to school, leaving them on the policy protects them during weekend visits or if they borrow a friend’s car.
Can I remove my son or daughter from my car insurance when he goes to college?
Most insurance companies will allow you to remove your son or daughter from your car insurance if they attend a school that is over 100 miles away. If under 100 miles, the likelihood of your child returning home to drive a car is more common, so keep this in mind when making your decision.
Can your son or daughter drive your car if they’re not on the insurance?
There are only two groups of people covered by your car insurance: (1) those listed on your car insurance and (2) those who drive your car occasionally. If your child plans to drive your car at any time, you need to list them on the car insurance policy.