Auto Insurance

Car Insurance for College Students

Many factors will determine whether a college student can stay on a parent’s plan. There will be a cost difference, and the state or insurance company will help you determine the best option.

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Going away to college can be an exciting experience with some hefty expenses. You may be looking for ways to save money outside tuition and living expenses. One way is to take a look at car insurance for college students. 

Can I Stay On My Parents’ Car Insurance if I Move Out for College?

One of the first questions you may ask is if you’re able to stay on your parent’s auto insurance policy if you move out for college, whether in a dorm or apartment. The answer depends on several factors, and knowing which applies to you is essential.

The first factor to consider is where you will live while enrolled in college. Once you determine if you will continue to live at home, on campus, or off-campus in an apartment or student housing, that is one step closer to knowing if you need your own policy.

The second major factor influencing student auto insurance and whether you can stay on your parent’s policy is who owns the car. The name on the title will heavily influence who is responsible for insuring it, therefore determining if you need your own policy.

Should College Students Have Their Own Auto Insurance Policy?

When deciding whether you need to have your own auto insurance policy or stay on your parent’s policy, you will need to determine your particular circumstances and compare them to the abovementioned factors.

Will you be living away from your parent’s home permanently? You should have your own policy. Is the car titled in just your name, without your parents listed on it? You should have your own policy. If your parents are listed on the title, you may be able to have your own policy and list them as named insureds, but you will have to speak with your agent to determine if that is a possibility.

Where Will You Be Living?

While living away from your parent’s house is one of the benefits of becoming an adult and going away to college, some insurance companies will deny your claim if they find out you are living elsewhere.

It is critical to ensure you let the insurance company know you are living away from home, even if it is temporary. Usually, a temporary basis is fine, and you can remain on your parent’s policy. On the other hand, if you have no plans to move back home, you will need a separate policy.

Whose Name Is on the Car Title?

You should be able to stay on your parent’s policy if they own the car and are on the title. This is also the case if you own it together. However, owning the car alone will most likely require a separate auto policy.

What Types of Insurance Do College Students Need?

The types of insurance coverage you will need as a college student will depend on the age and value of your car. Typically, a newer car no older than 10 years will have full coverage, including liability and physical damage. 

  • Liability insurance provides bodily injury and property damage coverage to others if you are at fault in an accident.
  • Physical damage pays for the repair or replacement of your vehicle. There is comprehensive insurance for things like hitting and animal and glass breakage. There is also collision insurance, which covers colliding with anything other than an animal. 

How Do Coverages Work?

If another student or visitor breaks into your vehicle and steals it or causes vandalism, comprehensive coverage would pay to repair or replace your vehicle. If you blow through a stop sign and cause an accident, collision coverage pays for your car, and liability will pay for any injuries and damage to the other car and motorists.  

Car Insurance Coverage Considerations for College Students

When shopping around for an auto policy on your own, you must make sure you have specific documents. First, ensure you have a copy of your title, or at the very least, know who is listed on it. Then, you will need your license. The insurance company will run your driving record, so it is helpful if you know your record so you know what to expect. 

If you stay on your parent’s policy, ensure you know what coverage they have on your vehicle and review it with them to determine if it is adequate. 

Can Parents Keep Insurance on a Car in Another State?

Some insurance carriers and states will allow you to stay on your parent’s policy if you are living out of state temporarily and they own the vehicle. However, some states have laws against this, so make sure you speak with your insurance agent when determining whether to get your own policy.

Are There Age Limits for Students To Stay On Their Parents’ Car Insurance?

You may be surprised to learn that, unlike health insurance, auto insurance has no age limits for you to stay on your parent’s car insurance. As long as the permanent address is the same for you and your parents, you could be nearing retirement age and still be on their policy.

What if I Only Drive When I’m at Home?

You should remain on your parent’s car insurance policy whenever you come home for weekends or school vacations and drive your parents’ cars. Many insurance carriers require this, even if you don’t drive the car(s) often.

How To Keep (Or Add) A College Student on a Policy

If you are the parent and already have your college student on the policy, just inform your agent or insurance company that they will be away for college and provide the address if a vehicle is kept there. No changes will likely occur if the car and student are on your policy unless the zip code of where they will be living influences pricing.

To add a college student to your policy, you must provide the insurance company with their name, date of birth, and driver’s license number. You will also need to provide the address of where they will live and keep the car.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost for Students?

Because college students, usually between 18 and 22, can be riskier drivers, car insurance can be more expensive. Many students like to be able to stay on their parent’s policy in order to save money.

As of April 2022, the average monthly premium for college students to have their own policy with one vehicle is around $163 a month, compared to $73 for older adults. 

Can It Be More Affordable for College Students To Carry Their Own Insurance?

Typically, staying on your parent’s auto insurance policy can be more cost-effective than owning your own policy. That being said, there are some situations where it may be best to have your own policy as a student. A significant factor in auto policy pricing is where the vehicle is kept based on zip code. If your college is in a lower crime area than your home, it may be financially beneficial to have your own policy.

What About Car Insurance for International Students? 

As a student traveling abroad for school, you may have to consider getting your own auto insurance policy if you will be driving a vehicle. Most insurance companies will only provide coverage if you are a United States citizen traveling to Canada for your studies. If you plan to travel abroad to countries other than Canada, you will likely need to purchase an auto insurance policy for yourself and remove yourself and your car from your parent’s policy. Not to mention, different countries have different driving laws, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them. 

Car Insurance Discounts for College Students

Car insurance has many available discounts; some will apply to you as a student, and some will not. Whether you stay on your parent’s plan or purchase your own, knowing what discounts are available will help you save money. 

Some examples of typical auto insurance discounts include the safe driver discount, claims free discount, anti-lock brake discount, new vehicle discount, and military discount just to name a few. Some other discounts for college students include:

Resident Student Discount

Your parents will get a discount if you leave the vehicle you drive at home while you are away at college. Insurance companies offer this since they know the car will not be driven as much as when you are home. The resident student discount usually requires that your college be 100 miles away from home. 

Good Grade Discount

You have probably heard of this already if you were an excellent high school student, but luckily, this discount continues with college. Whether on your parent’s policy or your own, you may be able to qualify for a good student discount.

Multiple Policy Discount

If you ended up getting your own auto policy, you could qualify for a multiple policy discount if you also purchase a renters policy or even a life insurance policy. Some carriers will allow this discount on several different types of policies, so be sure to check with yours. 

Anti-theft Device Discount

Unfortunately, there will always be crime no matter where you go, and of course, some areas will have a higher crime rate than others. If you purchase an anti-theft device for your vehicle, your insurance company could reward you with an anti-theft device discount.