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Car Insurance for College Students

Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...
  • If you are a college student living away from home, you have several options
  • You may remain on your parents’ insurance as long as you live at home
  • If you own your car, you must have your insurance
  • Having your insurance increases your independence and helps you build your credit rating and good driving record

If you are a college student looking for the best car insurance, you are wise to shop around to see what is the best deal.

There are many different types of car insurance available and many different plans. How will you know which one is the best for you?

If you are a college student looking to save on auto insurance, start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code above!

Can I remain on my parents’ insurance?

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One question that many college students and parents have regarding auto insurance is whether college students may remain on their parents’ insurance even if they go to college. The answer is yes.

Students who attend college but still call their parents’ residence their primary home are eligible to stay on their parents’ insurance.

Many states have some limits on this rule. See your state map to inquire as to what the limits are in your state of residence.

Is there an age limit?

There is currently no age limit on how long a college student or young person may remain on their parent’s auto insurance.

The only stipulation is that you must live at home with your parents as a rule.

You can live in a dorm during the term and return home. But your parents’ home must be considered your house at the time you take out the insurance.

Will I be fully protected by remaining on my parents’ insurance?

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Yes. If a student lives away from home at college, even if it is out of state but calls his or her parents’ home their primary residence, they may remain on their parents’ insurance while in this status.

If they drive a friend’s car while they are away, they will also be covered under this situation.

They will also be protected when driving in the home area when they return home for a visit or on a weekend or holiday.

It is important to maintain continuous coverage, especially when you are a college age student.

Young people ages 18-24 are in the highest risk group for severe accidents of any age group, including older drivers.

For this reason, staying on a policy and maintaining continuous coverage keeps you from falling into a higher risk and having to pay more premium to your insurance company.

Protection When Not Driving

Another concern for parents is that their child is protected when they are not driving, as well as when driving. They want to know that they will be covered if hit by a car while walking or riding a bike, for example.

As long as you have auto insurance coverage, you are covered when walking, riding a bicycle or similar vehicle, or in any other circumstance where you might encounter traffic.

This is true whether you remain on your parents’ car insurance or get your own. You must be covered by some auto insurance policy, though, to get this protection.

Assigning Cars to Owners

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USNews.com offered an interesting tip recently. They said that some insurance companies allows you to assign the least expensive car to insure with your college student. Since they are at a higher risk for accidents, assigning them to the lower premium may reduce the overall cost of insurance to parents.

When you do this, however, it means you cannot have your student driving the most expensive car as they will not be covered, even in an emergency.

Parents can keep their student driver on their policy as long as they like, but they should weigh the cost and the level of risk with the cost of letting the student have their policy.

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If You Own Your Car

If you own your own car and hold the title, it is recommended that you get your own insurance.

In fact, in most states, it’s the law.

Again, check with your local state insurance sites to find out the regulations in your state on all insurance matters.

When a student takes the responsibility of paying out their car and owns the car, they should also accept responsibility for paying for their insurance premiums each month. They need to learn responsibility when it comes to taking care of their monthly budget and expenses and it will remind them each month that driving a car is a big responsibility.

Full-Time Student Discounts

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The good news is that there are some discounts for full-time students. One of the discounts is known as a good student discount.

A Good Student Discount is designated for students who maintain a “B” average or thereabouts while in school pursuing a degree.

Insurance companies grant these discounts because there is research that indicates that good students tend to make good drivers and good citizens. Therefore, they usually obey the traffic regulations more and have fewer accidents.

The Mileage Discount

If you live within 75 miles of your parents’ home, you can apply for the Distant Student Discount. This discount gives you a certain amount off of your premium whether you keep your student on your insurance or not.

Students may apply for this discount as well if they are getting their insurance.

Advantages of Getting Your Own Insurance

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If you are a college student trying to figure out whether to ask your parents to keep you on their policy or not, consider these advantages of having your own insurance:

  • More independence – When you carry your own insurance, you will have more independence. This is because your parents will no longer have a say in the type of insurance you carry or what the options are on the policy. They also would not get a report of your driving record since it would come directly to you.
  • Teaches responsibility – Having your own car insurance teaches responsibility. If you have a wreck, your premium will go up. The same thing will happen if you are driving recklessly or while under the influence (DUI). Everything you do you will have a consequence for and your parents will have no say in it.
  • Gives you individual benefits that you choose yourself – If you are on your parents’ insurance plan, they decide all of the benefits that you have on your policy. When you have your own policy, you get to choose these options. That means you may add other features such as roadside assistance or extra coverages if you decide you can afford them.
  • Increases parent confidence – When you have your own car insurance, you will gain respect from your parents over time and increase your parents’ confidence in you and your driving. Parents generally want their kids to be independent and successful but they don’t want them to have problems.
  • Improves your driving and credit record – Your driving record is something that you cannot replace. It is important to keep it clean, just like your credit rating.

As you can see, there are many reasons for having your own insurance.

While it may be convenient to remain on your parents’ insurance as long as you live at home, once you decide you want to be more independent, it’s time to look into getting your own car, your own place, and your own insurance.

You can wait until you are out of college if you want to. But if you are working and driving your car and wish for more independence, getting your insurance is a good place to start.

A Good Idea for Parents

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If you are a parent looking for the best car insurance solution for your young person in college, a good suggestion is to keep them on your car insurance as long as they are living at home.

Also look into the many student discounts and good driving discounts, including students living away type discounts that they may qualify for to lower the cost.

With a combination of student discounts and assigning your child to the cheaper car on your insurance, you may have a viable solution as long as they remain at home.

The law in most states mandates that once a young person moves to their permanent residence, they must have their insurance. Even if you bought them a car, they still have to insure themselves and pay the monthly premiums.

So, while keeping them on your insurance while they are in college may be a good temporary solution, the eventual goal is to help them get their car insurance.

The best thing you can do to help your child make this transition is to help them shop around and compare policies and give them advice on what is best for their needs. Some of the policies that they will need to consider are listed below.

  • Bodily injury liability – The main thing you need when it comes to liability coverage is to meet your state requirements. Each state has a different minimum regarding liability coverage so it’s important to know what your state requires. Most states require anywhere from $20,000-$50,000.
  • Property damage liability – Property damage liability involves the amount that you are legally liable for when you cause property damage to another vehicle due to your negligence. Again, there are state minimums.
  • Collision – Collision is not usually required but it is necessary in order to get your car fixed after an accident if the accident was your fault. If you do not have this coverage, you will have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket.
  • ComprehensiveComprehensive insurance covers anything other than accidents, such as hail damage, vandalism, and theft, to name a few. While not required, it’s needed if you ever have anything else happen to your car.
  • Medical coverage – Medical coverage takes care of medical treatments or doctors’ visits that are required following an accident. It adds onto your medical insurance to help with such expenses.
  • Personal injury protection – Personal injury protection keeps you from having to pay for unforeseen extra expenses in an insurance settlement case with another driver. It may also help pay for your own expenses in some cases. Some states require this, but it is usually an optional coverage.
  • Roadside assistance – This coverage is an optional inexpensive coverage that gives you 24/7 roadside help if you are ever stranded by the side of the road. It is convenient if you find yourself in this situation on a dark night by yourself.

Each person must decide how much coverage is needed to cover their risk involved in driving adequately. When you are ready to leave your parents’ home, you will need your car insurance.

If you are a college student still living at home, you can decide whether to stay on your parents’ plan or have one of your own.

Either way, it’s important to have good auto insurance because accidents can occur at any time, leaving you financially destitute. Practice safe driving techniques at all times so that your cost will be minimal. Shop and compare the best prices.

Start comparison shopping today for the best auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!

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