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How Does My Child Going to College Affect My Car Insurance?

college student insuranceIf you have a young driver on your insurance policy, you know that can be an expensive proposition. Young drivers cost more to insure because, mile-for-mile, they get into more accidents. So it’s smart to ask yourself, “How will a child going to college affect my car insurance?”

Having a child leave for college is a huge milestone, with both emotional and practical impacts. One of the latter type may be changes to your car insurance premium.

The implications could range from nonexistent to substantial, with rates going up, down or staying the same, depending on such factors as where the young person will be living, whether a car is going along and even how good a student your child is.

So, before you load up your child’s clothes, bedding and laptop, read up on the factors that could impact your car insurance premiums.

You may be surprised by what you learn.

Will my child going to college affect my car insurance negatively?

If your son or daughter has their own car, it is very important to let your insurance company know if the car will be at school or left home, as the cost of the insurance will be based on where the car resides, the Insurance Information Institute advises.

Location is a major factor affecting car insurance premiums. Within the same state, different areas have higher or lower rates of accidents, thefts, weather damage and other hazards, and insurers adjust rates accordingly.

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This could work for you or against you. If your student is going to a rural university, you might pay less, because rates tend to be lower in rural areas. Conversely, the heavier traffic, narrower streets and higher theft rates in cities generally translate to higher premiums.

In other words, Iowa State University is good, but New York University isn’t, at least when it comes to car insurance rates. So, the first thing to consider when wondering how a child going to college affects my car insurance is location.

Across state lines, these same factors apply, plus each state’s varying requirements over such things as how much liability protection drivers must buy and which other coverages they must have. For instance, drivers in Iowa must maintain liability coverage for $20,000 in injuries per person and $40,000 per accident, plus $15,000 in property damage. In neighboring Illinois the requirement is $25,000 in injuries per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $20,000 in property damage, along with uninsured- and underinsured-motorist coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

You don’t need to worry about another state’s insurance requirements when you’re simply visiting or driving through. But going to college in another state means living there, so you’ll need to contact an insurance company to find out how how a child going to college affects car insurance.

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If your student was already the primary driver of the car, the premium could go up or down, depending on the specific circumstances. If your child will become the primary driver or is getting a new vehicle, expect to pay more.

Daily commute to campus can affect insurance

guy driving sports carIf your child will be living at home while going to school, consider whether this means a change in driving habits. A daily commute to and from campus, for instance, might be a different type of vehicle use and mean more miles driven per year.

Or it could mean less if your family lives close to campus.

These are factors insurers considers when setting premiums, so it’s important to let yours know about such changes.

Be direct and ask your agent, “How does my child going to college affect my car insurance?”

No car at college can save most on insurance

If your child isn’t taking a car to college, you don’t have to do anything. But you might be able to save some money on your car insurance premiums.

“If the student has been driving the family car and will now be away at college, at least 100 miles from home, make sure you let your insurance company know,” the Insurance Information Institute advises. “You may be eligible for a discount on your auto insurance.”

Your child can still drive the family car during the occasional visit home.

Qualify for car insurance savings with good grades

Finally, you should be able to save on car insurance if your college student gets good grades. Statistics show that young drivers who do well in school tend to get into fewer accidents.

These discounts vary by insurer. Students generally must maintain at least a “B” average, or meet another mark of achievement, such as making the dean’s list.

Be truthful with insurance company about college plans

As explained above, your child going to college could be good or bad for your car insurance rates, or have no impact whatsoever. No matter which of these is the case for you, it’s important, as always, to be open and honest with your insurance company.

After an accident, your insurer will look into the circumstances to ensure it is actually liable for the claim. Lying or neglecting to inform your insurer of important information could leave you and your child on the hook for injury and damage costs.