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College is a time of transition for most students: you’re finally leaving home and will be living on your own. Being independent of your parents brings freedom but also responsibilities, so you’ll have to learn to budget, pay your own bills, and shop for necessities as they arise.
There are some important things you and your family need to consider:
We checked with some of the top insurer’s and even with Good Student Discounts (you’d better keep that B average), the cost of car insurance for you as a college student is between $200-$250 a month.
Making the decision
One of the biggest steps towards independence is owning your own vehicle as well as the responsibilities that car ownership entails: not just keeping the gas tank filled but also regular maintenance such as oil changes and tire safety, repairs as they arise, and keeping your auto registration and insurance up to date. Whether you’re just leaving home for college or a current student buying your first vehicle you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the last one, because in order to keep your vehicle legally registered you must have insurance.
If you’re like most teens you’ve probably been covered by your parents’ insurance policy when you were living at home, but moving to college means the rules of insurance may have changed. There are a lot of aspects to car insurance that can affect the policy rates and coverage of a student driver living independently and the specific details will largely depend on the state you live in. Here are the main points you should cover when you’re shopping for car insurance as a college student:
Cheapest Cars to Insure for College Students
Car insurance rates can vary widely and one of the biggest factors is the type of vehicle you’re driving. New cars that carry a loan usually require the owner to carry full coverage so the loan company doesn’t lose their collateral if you’re in an accident and the vehicle is totaled.
In 2016 the Honda Accord was the model of vehicle most often reported as stolen
Sports cars are generally more expensive to insure as are the vehicles listed as most often stolen. For example according to USA Today in 2016 the Honda Accord was the model of vehicle most often reported as stolen, followed by the Honda Civic and Ford pickup trucks.
Car shopping? Read here:
If you’re in the process of buying a car your best bet is to narrow your vehicle choices down to four or five and get insurance rate quotes on each. Check with three to five insurance companies to get a good starting point for establishing the range you’ll pay for insurance rates before you decide which car you purchase.
Although it may be tempting to buy an older car to avoid high insurance rates keep in mind older vehicles usually require more maintenance so you may not save in the long run. You won’t be saving if you have your car in the repair shop every other month, and you’ll still have to make your monthly loan and insurance payments whether you’re driving or not.
That way you’ll have a good idea of the whole overall cost of vehicle ownership before you commit to the purchase.
Types of Vehicle Coverage
When it comes to actual insurance it’s a good idea to have an overall understanding of the types of coverage available. Your type of coverage will determine your insurance rates and how much you’ll be paying every month.
Most states have specific requirements for the minimum insurance you need to legally drive your car; because you must have insurance in order to purchase your car registration and license plates you’ll need to have your insurance policy before you can hit the road.
How to Save as a College Student
Again, your best bet on saving is to check with at least three insurance companies before you leave for school or purchase your car. If you’ve been driving while living at home you’re most likely on your parents’ policy; depending on the city and state you’ll be attending school in you may be able to stay on your parents’ policy. This would give you the lowest rates as your parents most likely have multiple discounts. Some states allow students to claim their parents home as their permanent address for insurance, some require you attend school within 150 miles of your parents’ home in order to remain on their policy.
Once you have basic estimates from three to five insurance companies on these factors you can go back to each company and see what discounts they can offer you as a college student. These discounts can vary quite a bit from company to company, so don’t cut corners on this part of your insurance homework. Here are some examples of discounts offered by car insurance companies. It’s a good idea to use the list as though you’re interviewing the insurance agent; if she doesn’t offer a specific discount don’t be afraid to ask about it or to mention that another company offers a similar discount.
College Student Discount Car Insurance
Car insurance companies work with college students in a wide range of ways. They know that students are beginning their transition into independence and they also know you’ll be buying insurance for the rest of adulthood. Most insurance companies try to be flexible with college students purchasing their first insurance policy because the company knows students are usually on tight budgets and the main concern is the rate they’ll have to pay. Here are some ways insurance companies will work with you as a new car owner at college:
If you haven’t bought your car yet check the insurance rates from three to five companies before you buy. Make sure you check the requirements for the state you live in, and if you’ll be attending college out of state check the requirements for that state, too.
Try not to scrimp too much on coverage just to get a lower rate. If you’re not sure about extra types of coverage above and beyond the state minimum ask a parent or other insurance savvy person to help you decide.
Ask for discounts, both when you initially purchase your policy and each time you renew it. This can save a bundle on your monthly rate, so check for special student discounts and keep your grades up to save even more. If you’re renting an apartment ask for a multi-policy discount, too.
Keep your driving record clean. Drive safely, don’t speed, and never get behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking. The longer your driving record is spotless, the cheaper your car insurance will be.