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Adjusting Your Auto Insurance When Your Kids Are Away At College


College student moving into dorm

What happens when your child goes off to a college that’s over 100 miles away, reducing the possibility of them popping home to drive the family car? Well, there are adjustments that can be made to your auto insurance policy that might save you money.

Drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 are deemed by car insurance companies to be “high risk” so it costs more to insure them. So, if your young driver goes off to a school that’s hundreds of miles away and won’t be driving your car for the next nine months, it’s time to call your car insurance agent to discuss making some adjustments to your policy in order to obtain cheaper car insurance rates.

Here are some of the options that might be available to you:

Remove your child from your policy.

Many auto insurance companies will allow you to remove a child who has left for college — as long as the school they’re attending is over 100 miles away.  When the school is less than 100 miles, auto insurers think there is a good possibility that your child may return home on a fairly frequent basis and use your car.

Student away discount.

If you’d rather not take your child completely off your policy – so that he or she is shown to have had continuous insurance coverage in case they want to buy their own vehicle and insurance in the next few years – then you still should be able to ask for a reduction in rates.  Many auto insurance companies offer a discount (usually 15 percent to 30 percent off select coverages) for a student who is away at a school which is over 100 miles from your home.

Drop your kid down to an occasional driver.

If your child does remain on your policy, you may also see if it’s possible to change them from a primary driver to an occasional driver.  Definitions of an occasional driver can differ depending who your insurance is with, but, in general, it’s someone who drives less than 25 percent of the car’s annual mileage.

Good student discount.

If your student gets good grades, it can help lower their car insurance costs.  Most car insurance carriers offer students up to the age of 25 a discount if their grades meet certain criteria (normally a B average or better). The good student discount can vary and be as low as 5 percent or as high as 25 percent.

Remember, each car insurance company has its own rules and guidelines, so you’ll need to talk to your insurance agent to see what discounts you’re eligible for and how you can get the lowest possible car insurance rates.  This is also a good time to have your insurance agent comparison shop for you to see if they can find you another auto insurer that can offer even better rates than your current insurer.

Keep in mind, if you remove your kid from your policy, make them an occasional driver or change other portions of your policy while your child is away at college, you’ll need to review your policy again when they return home for breaks from school, especially if they’re home for a few months in the summer.

And don’t forget… when your child is home from school, you may need to add them back to the policy, upgrade them to a primary driver on a vehicle, or make other changes for them to be properly covered.