So, you're heading off to college … Congratulations! As you stroll that leafy campus, ready to broaden your mind and make lifelong friends, it's important that your auto coverage meets your current needs. Here are some things to know about auto insurance for college students.
How long can you stay on your parents' car insurance?
There's generally no specific age limit for car insurance for students. However, some insurers set their own limits for when you're no longer considered a dependent.
Should a college student stay on their parents' auto insurance or get their own policy?
Should you stay or should you go? Consider these factors:
Where you live. If you live with your parents while going to school, you can stay on your parents' auto coverage. If you live on your own—but in a dorm, apartment, or house that your parents pay for—you can also usually remain on your parents' policy.
If you have your own place and have moved out of your parents' or guardian's home permanently, however, you'll likely need to get your own auto coverage. But different insurers have different policies, so talk to your agent.
Who owns the car. If one of your parents/guardians is listed on the title, you can usually piggyback on their insurance policy. Some insurers allow you to use your parents’ policy only if you drive their car, so, again, talk to your agent.
If you own your car and your name is the only name on the title, you’ll need to get your own auto insurance.
Can parents keep insurance on a car in another state?
It depends on the insurance provider. Check with your insurance agent to confirm.
What are the insurance options if the student will live at their parents’ home during their first year of college?
A student living with his or her parents is considered a dependent and can remain on their parents' auto policy.
What should college students keep in mind when choosing auto insurance?
Younger drivers are more likely to get into accidents, so it's important to get coverage you can count on.
As you shop around, make sure you understand what a policy covers, and what it doesn't. You’ll certainly want liability coverage, which is mandatory in most states. If you crash into someone, this type of policy helps pay for the other driver's auto repairs and injury.
You may also want to get collision coverage, which pays for damages if you hit an object, like a guardrail or a mailbox. (Did you know that WalletHub recently rated AAA the best insurance company for college students?) Before buying a policy, check your state’s coverage requirements, whether you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Utah, or Wyoming.
Also, keep in mind that the car you drive impacts your insurance rate. You might have your eye on a sporty, high-performance car, but it could be pricey to insure. Big pickup trucks, which can cause more serious damage in a crash, also come with higher rates. A smaller pickup truck, a compact and small SUV, or sedan, on the other hand, generally cost less to insure. And if your vehicle has safety features, all the better.
To bring your monthly premium down, you might opt to increase your deductible, or the amount you pay out of pocket for any damage from an accident before your insurance company pays the remainder of a claim.
Can college students get any discounts for auto insurance?
Absolutely! Auto insurance for students costs more than coverage for older adults—but there are plenty of discounts to help make up for it. So make these smart moves to save on auto insurance.
AAA Student Discounts
Here are a few ways you can save:
- Drive safely. Students who are 19 or under can complete the AAA teenSMART program to get an auto coverage discount of up to 24%. (The program is available in California, Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.)
- Hit the books. Students who show they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher get a good student discount of up to 14.5% with AAA, depending on where they live.
- Going away to school? Tell your agent. Students who attend college at least 100 miles from home, and only drive when they’re at home, may get AAA’s distant student discount. This discount—available in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming—saves you up to 30% on auto insurance.
- Opt for paperless billing. AAA Members who enroll for paperless billing get an eValue discount of 5% on auto coverage. This discount is available in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
While these discounts can add up, bear in mind that your total insurance discount might be capped.