Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to college and you are now trying to figure out whether you should buy your own car insurance and how much it is going to cost.
There are many variables that determine the price of car insurance: the type of car you drive, your age (the younger, the higher), marital status, as well as where the car is principally garaged. Interestingly, certain geographical locations have higher rates than others.
An important determination that can affect your insurance rate is the number of accidents and moving violations on record for 3-5 years. Having no points will reduce your premium. Whatever you do, don’t drink and drive. Calling a cab or getting a ride home from somebody who is sober is much better than facing a large fine, possible jail time, and high insurance rates.
Good credit also influences your rate. If you have no credit, applying for a credit card and paying your bills on time will help build your credit in anticipation of purchasing insurance.
The type of car you drive also can provide a discount. Insurance for a four-door family–style sedan, like a Honda or Toyota, are generally priced lower than insurance for a high performance vehicle like a Mustang, Camaro, or Infiniti G35. So if you are inheriting a car from Grandpa or another loving relative, you may not be able to control that decision. However, it the choice of car is yours, keep this info in mind.
College student discounts vary by insurance company but generally having a prior policy of your own offers you the opportunity to request a discount during the renewal process. Being included on a parent’s policy does not generally afford a discount opportunity. Some insurance companies offer safe driver discounts while others like Progressive give a discount for using SNAPSHOT, a device that tracks your driving. And lastly, ask if there is a discount for students who have a good credit rating
For the sake of the parents, college students should have their own policy. Of primary importance, this separation limits parent exposure to rate hikes due to points accumulated by your college child’s accidents or moving violations. Also, keep in mind that companies typically assign the highest-rated driver aka the youngest, to the highest-rated vehicle, thereby causing higher premium costs to the parents. Lastly, in case of a serious accident, the parents’ deeper pockets will not be accessible and any litigious action will be limited to the college student’s policy.
Going off to college is usually a big step towards independence. But don’t confuse asking for help as a sign of weakness. Involving your parents in the process may save you valuable time and money.
If you have your own car in college, you should have your own policy. But, if you go to college without a car, don’t let your parents take you off their policy. Instead, ask them to list you as a distant driver, which will reduce their costs if you attend school more than 100 miles from home. This is recommended as a way for you to have coverage when you drive the family car on college vacations. Remind your parents that they will probably benefit from having an extra driver around during the holidays for airport pickup and errands.
Don’t assume that every insurance agency is the same. Shop around, ask trusted friends, and take advantage of Google to provide you with leads. There are many different car insurance companies out there, and their prices will vary depending on location, the type of policy you want and car you drive, and the coverages you are looking for.
It’s important to be a good friend and offer rides to roommates, but don’t let others drive your car. Should you lend your car and they are involved in an accident, you could end up with a rate increase. More importantly, you could lose your good driver credit even though you were not the driver at the time of the accident.
Don’t assume that you need collision insurance if you are driving an older car. What you should do is add the cost of the comprehensive and collision coverage plus the deductible to determine the total insurance cost. Then, asses the value of the car, taking into account the age of your car and blue book worth. Based on those factors, you can make an informed decision on whether the insurance costs outweigh the insurance advantages.
Research is the key, both in choosing an agent as well as a company that is compatible with your budget. Heed this advice to help you find the best and cheapest insurance as you make your way to college.
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