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What to know before sending your student to college with a car

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Aug 10, 2021 12:19:26 PM

Things to consider if chld takes a car to collegeIf you’re sending your child off to college, one of your discussion topics may be whether their car is going with them. Depending on where your child is going and the field of study, having a car may be beneficial. However, on the flip side you may have several concerns.

Before packing your college student’s car and saying good-bye, there are some things you should know and do.

1. Find out the college’s policy.

Depending on where it’s located, the number of cars allowed on campus may be limited. For example, my daughter’s college gives first priority to the juniors and seniors. If there are additional spots available, the remaining students are put into a lottery. So, spending a lot of time discussing if the car can go, may be a moot point.

2. Discuss your auto policy with your insurance agent.

There are many variables that may come into play with your insurance policy. If your student is attending college 100 miles or less from your current residence and is full-time, it’s likely your policy provides coverage. Because the car will be parked in a different environment, you may want to discuss policy coverage and limits to make sure you have adequate coverage. For example, if the car was parked in your garage, but now it’ll be outside, having comprehensive coverage may be a good idea.

Even if your student is going to college out of state, they may still be able to stay on your policy. However, some states have different car insurance laws. Talking to your insurance agent can help you adjust your policy accordingly.

Lastly, just because your student is off to college, it doesn’t mean the good student discount automatically ends. Many companies will continue the discount for unmarried, full-time students up to age 25 if they maintain a 3.0 GPA.

3. Don’t forget about safety.

To keep your student and car safe, here are some things you can do:

  • Install a dashboard camera.

  • Always keep the windows up and the doors locked.

  • Remove valuables items.

  • Install a car alarm.

  • Put an anti-theft device on the steering wheel.

  • Review the vehicle crime statistics at your school.

  • Know where campus security/police are located.

  • Purchase roadside assistance.

4. Discuss responsibility.

There are many benefits of taking a car to college. However, doing so increases your student’s responsibility. Things to discuss include:

  • How to handle a friend who wants to use the car.

  • How to handle friends who want you to be their ride service.

  • What to do if car warning light turns on.

  • The car as a distraction i.e., grades come first.

  • What to do if in an accident.

5. Understand state requirements.

If your car is registered in your home state, there’s nothing you’ll need to do. However, if your student decides to become a permanent resident of the state where he/she is attending college, that changes the situation. Not only will a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) be necessary, but your child will also need to get his/her own insurance policy.

Each year, it’s important to review your insurance needs before your student leaves for college. Just when you think you have it figured out, something changes.

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice.  Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance.  Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility.  All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.

Topics: Back to School, Auto Insurance

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