Car Insurance for College Students
January 14, 2019
Looking to find the best car insurance for college students? There’s no one carrier that’s best suited for everyone in this group, and in most cases, traditional college students (ages 18-22) will still pay more than the average rate regardless. But there are things you can do to help mitigate this added expense during an already expensive period for your family.
If your son or daughter is headed to college in the coming years, congrats! Contact our expert team of Massachusetts insurance agents (508.339.2951) for personalized advice on car insurance, and consider the following tips:
Encourage Your Future College Student to Get His License on Time
If your student gets his license as soon as he’s eligible, and starts building a safe driving record now, it could mean a significant rate reduction by the time he’s paying car insurance as a college student. That’s because many inexperienced drivers are slapped with higher rates until they’ve amassed significant time behind the wheel with a clean auto insurance history.
According to Forbes, “…insurance costs will gradually drop with each successive year a teen driver accumulates experience behind the wheel, provided of course he or she does not accrue any rate-busting moving violations or accidents in the meantime… [A] teen driver’s premium surcharge will eventually fall to an average of 58 percent once he or she turns 19.”
In the meantime, yes, parents do see a huge spike in their insurance bills: 92 percent for a 16-year-old boy and 67 percent for a 16-year-old girl, on average. But the numbers may still come out in favor of getting an early start—especially if you stress the importance of safe driving, and help to qualify your child (and everyone on your policy) for accident forgiveness as soon as possible.
Enroll Your College Student in a Defensive Driving Course
No doubt you’re already familiar with state-required driver’s ed courses; these tend to focus on traffic laws, three-point turns, and parallel parking. But there’s another type of course that—once completed—can seriously lower rates on car insurance for college students (or for anyone, really). Defensive driving courses (a.k.a. crash prevention training) teach drivers to take their place behind the wheel seriously. Drivers who complete these courses get involved in fewer accidents and pose a much lower risk to others on the road.
Here at C&S, we strongly recommend the In Control Crash Prevention program offered by Dan Strollo and team. Modeled after European driver training, In Control is a closed course, hands-on, half-day class. The crew at In Control works with drivers from the age of 16 to 94, introducing them to emergency situations and developing the skills/instinctual reactions needed to keep them safe. Graduates learn how easy it is to lose control of a moving car and also what the car is capable of doing to protect them. Contact In Control to ask about course times and insurance savings, which could shave off as much as 20 percent of your premium, depending on your carrier.
Rethink Collision Coverage on Car Insurance for College Students
Collision coverage is designed to reimburse you for auto repairs to your own vehicle when you cause an accident or collide with an object. If you don’t have a loan or a lease, collision coverage is optional. Many parents opt to skip it on their teens’ cars, especially if the cars are fairly old and not worth much anymore. If your student were to get in an accident with another car—as long as they weren’t at fault—the other driver’s insurance would still cover damage to your car. On the other hand, if your college student drives frequently, in the city, or long distances to your home and back, it might make sense to keep collision coverage—even on an older vehicle. Ask your local insurance agent to weigh in on this issue (every year at renewal time).
Take Advantage of the Good Student Discount
Your college student doesn’t have to be the valedictorian to save money on car insurance. For most insurance companies, a “B” average (3.0 GPA) is sufficient to qualify for a Good Student Discount, which can add up to several hundred dollars per year. Keep in mind, though, students typically need to be enrolled in school full-time, and need to maintain their good grades from one semester to the next. If your son or daughter is slipping in a particular course, you may want to remind them about options to drop the course or elect to take it as a Pass/Fail grade, rather than bring their overall GPA down with a C or D grade.
Adjust Your Policy for a Residential College Student
Car insurance for college students who keep a vehicle at school is pretty pricey. It’s even higher if the school is located in a city. Consider the alternative. If your college student attends a school that’s a good distance from your home (usually 100 miles or more), and will drive your car infrequently as a result, make sure your agent knows that a policy change is in order. Listed as a residential student, your child would still be covered when he/she drives the car during school breaks or summer months, but you could save hundreds of dollars in the meantime.
Bundle Your Policies
We hope you already know the benefit of bundling home and auto coverage. Along the same lines, remember that car insurance for college students isn’t the only type of coverage worth researching. Depending on your child’s campus living arrangements, renter’s insurance may be in order. Ask which coverages you can bundle and compare quotes from different providers. (At C&S, our agents are great at doing this work for you.) Meanwhile, get more tips on college student insurance .