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September 14, 2012

Insuring Your College-Bound Driver

When your child goes away to college, there are a lot of changes you’ll be facing. Some of these changes are good—like the fact that your refrigerator will stay stocked longer and the amount of laundry you do will be greatly reduced. But some of the changes are scary and may require some preparation on your end. Among these changes is the need to either newly insure your child or change their insurance information to their new residency information. Each of these options comes with their own set of responsibilities, but don’t get too overwhelmed, they’re actually pretty easy to handle. Here are five easy steps to get your child and their car insurance ready for their college years.

  • Have heart to heart talk with student: During the talk, determine what financial responsibility he or she will have for accidents and other incidents that occur while he or she is away at school. Stress the importance of continuing to practice safe driving activities and to limit distractions such as cell phones, other passengers and MP3 players. If you are paying any portion of the auto insurance premium or car payment, make sure the student understands that you will no longer do so if they do not honor and respect their responsibilities as a safe driver.
  • Learn who is held responsible: If your child makes an error in judgment while driving, there is no doubt that a resulting accident is their fault. But even though they are over the age of 18, some states will hold you liable for their actions because, as students, they are still considered dependents. Find out your state’s regulations and make sure to explain them to your son or daughter. 
  • Decide whether to include the driver on your policy: If you haven’t already, you might want to consider adding the student to your policy instead of having them buy their own.  In many states, however, even though the child is over the age of 18, they are still your dependent when a full-time student and you still may be financially responsible for them.  Therefore, it would be a wise idea to keep your college-bound child on your policy.
  • Notify insurance company that vehicle is stored at different location: If you already have coverage for the car your college-bound son or daughter will be driving, make sure the insurance company understands that the vehicle will be at a new location since that may affect the premium. 
  • Consider the new risks and update coverage accordingly: If your son or daughter will be living in a college town they may be exposed to more risk as they are surrounded by inexperienced drivers and many distractions. Consider lowering deductibles and raising limits in order to compensate for this.
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