If there’s one thing students learn in college, it’s that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. It seems as though anything and everything having to do with college these days is now far from free, and as though everything is an expensive cost that continues to rise.
Unfortunately, lunch, tuition, and textbooks aren’t the only things that come with a hefty price for college students. For college students who have a car and who continue to drive when they’re in college, not only do they have to worry about the costs of maintaining a car, but they also have to pay quite a bit for auto insurance.
Even though the majority of college students are good drivers, one of the biggest recurring costs that they’ll have as ‘youthful’ drivers is the auto insurance bill. While many auto insurance companies do attempt to soften the blow with various discounts, most students aren’t going to get away with a very cheap rate, especially when one considers the budget that most students are working with.
Although no student will probably ever jump for joy when they get their auto insurance bill in the mail, there are some things that students can do to help lower their premiums. This is the perfect time for students to not only learn about budgeting, but also a perfect time to learn about auto insurance and how it works for everyone, regardless of whether they’re a student or not.
Staying On Your Parent’s Policy
If you’re a college student, and you stay on your parent’s insurance and they ask you to help pay your share of the premium, it may seem like a lot but you should be aware that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find cheaper auto insurance by yourself. You and your parents should check though to verify that you will be covered if you attend school in a different state, as different insurance companies have different rules about this.
Discounts For College Students
First of all, your premium is determined by your insurance score, which is a combination of several factors, including:
Some of these things you have no control over, such as your age, but other things you can control: such as your driving history. Make sure that you keep a good driving record as incidents like tickets, accidents, or claims made on your policy can greatly affect your policy, especially when you’re considered a youthful driver (which varies by state, for example, some states consider a female a youthful driver up until the age of 25 a youthful driver unless married). Learn about each factor your insurance score is comprised of and do what’s within your power to help make sure your insurance score is a good one.
Aside from obvious things like avoiding speeding tickets, there are a few other discounts that most insurance companies offer to college students to help lessen the rate. Check with your provider to see if you’re eligible for any of the following discounts:
Safe Driver Discount- If you’ve gone for a considerable amount of time without a violation or ticket, or if you’ve taken a defensive driving course, you may qualify for a safe driver discount. Defensive driving courses are a quick and easy way to get a discount on your policy, just keep your certificate or proof of completion and turn it into your agent.
Good Student Discount- If you’re a Straight A student you’ll be pleasing more than your parents: you’ll also please your insurance company, as most offer a discount for students who keep at least around a 3.0 GPA or who achieve Honor Roll or higher. Just provide a copy of your transcripts and maintain your GPA to keep the discount, and usually you can keep this discount up until the age of 24 as long as you’re a full time student.
Multi-Policy Discount- If you live off campus and rent an apartment or room, you should definitely have renter’s insurance to protect your belongings, and not only will you be doing that, but if you get renter’s insurance with the same company as your auto insurance, you can get a discount up to usually 15% for having both policies with them.
‘Grandfathered’ Discounts- Some insurance companies will offer you the same discounts your parents have if you get on your own policy directly after being on your parent’s policy (as long as you stay with the same company). If you do this, some insurers will automatically give you the discounts your parents get on their policy. This can greatly help reduce your premium.
Vehicle/Safety Discounts- If you drive a car with certain safety devices or alarms, your premium can be lowered. Common discounts include a passive restraints discount or airbags discount.
Affinity Discounts- Check with your insurer to find out if you are a member of any organizations, businesses, or associations that may offer a discount through the insurer. For example, if you’re a member of a certain credit union, your insurer may offer a discount to you for being a member of that credit union or for banking at a certain bank.
The best thing about these discounts is that not only can you lower your premium while still in college, but you can also keep most of these discounts after you leave college as well, meaning that the longer you maintain a good driving record and credit rating, the lower your premium will get over time when those factors are combined with the above discounts. You can also talk to your agent to find out about other things you can do to lower costs, such as carrying a higher deductible.
Although you probably won’t see the cheapest insurance bill of your life while in college, it fortunately does get better and usually you’ll just continue to see your premium decrease the older you get. Turns out there is a benefit to getting older after all…
Steven Weinberg is insurance agent specialized on auto insurance and regular contributor to carinsurancecalculator.info’s blog.