Are you currently in college and working on building a sound future for yourself? This is wonderful, but it means that you are an adult now and you have to start taking life seriously and worry about things you haven’t in the past, like car insurance. Since it is likely you are not working with a neverending cash flow, it is important that you do your homework (no pun intended) and focus on finding reliable insurance in your price range. This guide is the key to helping you do that.
It is an exciting time for students and parents when their kids go off to college. Currently, there are over 20 million college students in the country. However, one concern becomes the car insurance rates that they will pay once they leave home. For many parents, it is a concern about making sure that they have the proper car insurance for college students.
Table of Content
- Percentage of Students Going Out of State to Attend College:
- Isolated States:
- Let the Insurance Company Know
- How Long Can Students Use Parent’s Policy?
- Coverage Types – Select Your Suitable Policy
- Car Insurance Discount Options for College Students
- The 5 Best Insurance Companies For Students
- Purchasing Your Own Policy
Percentage of Students Going Out of State to Attend College:
Students attending college out of their home state is a trend that has been going on for many decades. The decision to go out of state has many different reasons starting with favorable tuition rates, desirable colleges and universities, location, and institutions that offer specific majors not found locally.
According to the latest statistics published, the overall percentage of students attending out of state public colleges and universities is 13.7%. It should be noted that private institutions are not subject to the same accounting records as public institutions. Of the institutions with the highest percentage of out of state students, the University of Vermont is currently the highest with 61% of its student body being from out of state.
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In terms of raw numbers, the University of Alabama ranks the highest with over 3,700 students being from outside the state.
Another study from 2014 showed that students from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Minnesota are the most likely to attend out of state colleges and universities while students in Arkansas, Utah, and West Virginia are the most likely to stay within their state. Because of the location and small size, the District of Columbia has the most coming in and going out from its location.
Naturally, separate states like Alaska and Hawaii tend to keep more students in-state while the smaller states in New England are the most likely to have out of state students. It explains why California State University at San Bernardino has the lowest amount of out of state students given its relative isolation.
In addition, the available information shows that states with higher non-resident fees are less likely to have out of state students.
For those who are attending colleges and universities outside their state, one important issue is maintaining coverage for your vehicle. This is where having the right car insurance for college students out of state comes into play.
Let the Insurance Company Know
For the student who is ready to set off for college at a location where they will live on or near campus away from home, it is important that you notify your insurance company even if you are leaving your car behind. This is because your insurance provider will need to know the primary location of the vehicle, you might be required to obtain a new policy, and you or your parents may be eligible for a discount depending on whose policy you are using to cover the vehicle.
How Long Can Students Use Parent’s Policy?
You can stay on your parents’ policy even if you are going to a college on the other side of the country depending on the following conditions.
- Your parents own the title to the vehicle you drive
- You still live at your parents’ home
- Your parents’ address is still your primary address
If these conditions apply, you can stay on your parents’ policy during the time that you are attending college.
This means that you will pay lower rates and have continuous coverage. Plus, if you do not take your vehicle to college, you are still covered to drive a friend’s car, as a passenger or pedestrian depending on the type of insurance that you receive.
Coverage Types – Select Your Suitable Policy
One of the main things you need to focus on when you are beginning your search is the coverage type. There are different levels offered and each one has its merits. The more extensive the policy you purchase, the more you will have to pay. On that same token, you do not want to buy the minimum allowed by your state and you end up financially on the hook in the event there is an accident.
Here is some information about the different types of coverage that are available:
LIABILITY – This is the type of coverage that pays for damages to another driver’s person or property. Every state requires this, but the minimum coverage amount varies by location. For instance, South Dakota requires $25,000 for bodily injury for every person, $50,000 for bodily injury for the overall accident and $25,000 property damage liability for each accident while the requirements in Pennsylvania are a little lower.
COLLISION – This covers all of the damage to your vehicle when there is an accident. Even if you are the one at fault, you will still be able to file a claim and receive compensation for the damages. This is not typically required by the state.
If you are in an area that has a reliable public transit system, you can forgo this type of coverage. This just means that you will not have a car to drive if an accident renders your vehicle useless. It is an inconvenience, but you will save money on your monthly premiums since your policy will be less extensive.
COMPREHENSIVE – This is the most expensive coverage type there is. The reason behind that is simple – more is covered when this type of policy is in place. Not only are you covered against accidents, but things like vandalism, theft, and damage from falling objects is covered as well. If you are driving a vehicle that is older and does not have a high value, you can skip this in order to lower your monthly premiums.
UNINSURED MOTORIST – If you are in an accident and the person driving does not have any insurance, this kind of policy will cover all of your injuries. Many people opt out of this coverage type if they have medical insurance, especially if their deductible is rather low. It can keep more money in your pocket in the long run.
UNDERINSURED MOTORIST – In the event that you are in an accident and the other driver has lower body injury liability limits than you do, this will help cover the difference. Again, if you already have health insurance coverage, this is not particularly necessary.
More on the requirements for underinsured and uninsured.
Car Insurance Discount Options for College Students
Good Student Discount: Not only will your great grades put you on the fast track to a better career, but it can help you gain auto insurance discounts as well. The reasoning behind this is the fact that it is believed students with higher grades are more responsible, which means they are likely to be less of a liability when they are on the road.
While details vary depending on the company you choose, here is a sample of what is typically required:
- A 3.0 GPA or better
- Enrollment in full-time classes
- Below the age of 25
You will have to show proof of your grades. This is as simple as furnishing a report card or a letter from one of the administrators at your school.
Occasional Driver Discount: Many parents allow their children to stay on their policies, even after they have gone off to college. This is because it is typically less expensive than a student trying to purchase a policy of their own. If you are responsible for paying a part of your parent’s monthly premium and you are going away to college, you should talk to them about changing your status to “Occasional” or “Pleasure-Only.” This will drastically reduce the amount you will be required to pay.
Resident Student Discount: If you live on campus that is over 100 miles away and do not take your vehicle, this can be a substantial discount. This type of insurance is for the student or parents with a child attending college. If the child is not using their vehicle while attending college at least 100 miles away, then you may enjoy a discount of up to 35% or more depending on the insurance company. The car will need to be stored during this time, preferably in a garage.
The discount reflects the fact that the vehicle is not in used while still maintaining the insurance coverage. The college students out of state can ask the insurance provider for more genuine information.
This is a discount that is offered to students who plan to go away for school, yet they want to make sure their vehicle is covered so they can use it when they are home on breaks. Since you will not be driving your car the majority of the time, many carriers are willing to shave a significant amount off the price.
Keep in mind there is a minimum when it comes to the distance between your home and school. You will have to meet this in order to qualify.
You can lower your premiums by maintaining a high deductible and taking an approved driving safety course. This means that you can combine discounts to save a considerable amount of money on your car insurance.
The 5 Best Insurance Companies For Students
This carrier is great for students because they offer more than one way to save money. They have a good student discount which makes you eligible to receive up to 25% off your premiums. They also have the Steer Clear Safe Driver Program. This is an online course that offers an additional 15% off once it is completed.
Average Yearly Cost – $1983
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They have the resident student discount available and the savings are as much as 35%. There is also a good student discount, but it is a bit less than 10%. This company charges a bit more than some of the others mentioned here, but they were added because they have one of the highest resident student discounts that are currently available.
Average Yearly Cost – $2742
This company offers a good student discount for those who are as young as 16 and as old as 24. This range is placed there to cover students that start early and/or finish late. If you maintain a B average, you are eligible for a discount. One thing that makes this insurer different from others is the fact that the good student discount extends to those who are educated at home. All you will need to do in that case is furnish a copy of your SAT or ACT scores.
Average Yearly Cost – $1058
If you maintain a 3.0 average or better, this insurer will reward you with a discount of up to 15%. While this is lower than some other carriers, the monthly rates they offer are typically lower than most, so it balances off.
Average Yearly Cost – $792
They have one of the highest good student discounts available. The average student driver saves about 25%. They also have a discount for students who will be going away to school. Combining these two means significant savings.
Average Yearly Cost – $2208
As you can see, some of these yearly rates are a bit higher, yet the discounts are higher as well. You will definitely need to do some comparison shopping in order to find the insurer that has the best balance.
While you are in college, it is common to have limited funds to work with. Do you want all of your available cash to be sucked away by car insurance costs? Use this guide to help you find a rate you can afford and are comfortable with.
Purchasing Your Own Policy
For those who have college student insurance plans that rely on paying for their own policy, keep in mind that your rates are likely to go up significantly because of your age, gender, accidental history, and lack of a long-term driving record.
However, there are ways that you can save money when paying for your own policy.
- Higher Deductible
- Using State Minimum Insurance
- Getting College Student Discount
- Taking a Qualified Driving Course
- Driving an Older Vehicle
For the out of state college students buying their own policies, it pays to search around for the best quote either online or using the services of an independent insurance agent. While staying on your parents’ policy will most likely save you more money, buying your own can be affordable if you choose the right insurance.