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Children Away at College: Will Their Auto Insurance Follow Them?

    4 minute read
    Auto insurance
    You may need to verify and adjust your auto insurance when your child goes away to college.

    When your children go away to college, you may worry about how they are doing. Is he eating right? Is she studying? Are they making friends? You may not have even thought about whether or not your family’s auto insurance will continue coverage during the college years.

    Knowing what kind of insurance coverage your child needs can prevent problems if an accident does occur. Most importantly, making sure you have the right policy for your child can prevent your insurance company from dropping your coverage.

    The rules of car insurance tie your coverage to a specific address and specific drivers on your family’s cars. There are also state-specific rules that may go into effect if your child now resides in another state. Knowing these rules and keeping your auto insurance provider informed could mean the difference between having an unfortunate accident covered and having your child held liable for thousands of dollars in damages.

    Understanding Auto Insurance Rules

    When you signed up for car insurance, chances are your agent asked you many questions about your driving habits. The insurance you got was based on many factors, including where you and all drivers on your policy live. If any of those circumstances change, as they often do when a child goes away to college, it could invalidate your policy in some cases, depending on how the insurance company decides to handle the claim.

    It’s important to let your auto insurance company know when a child is away at college so your agent can help you protect him and yourself appropriately. Some factors that may affect your rates include the following:

    • Whether or not your child takes a family vehicle to college with him. Students who do not have a car on campus may get a discount from some insurance companies since the risk of accidents will go down. Be careful not to exclude your child from coverage completely since it will still be needed if your child plans to drive during holidays and breaks.

    • Whether the college is in an urban or rural setting. If your child does bring his car to college, the location of the college will affect your premium. Urban settings typically generate higher premiums.

    • Whether or not the college is out of state. If your child has a vehicle at an out-of-state college, it is important to make sure that your insurance coverage meets the minimum requirements of that state. Required minimums vary: For example, New York’s minimum coverage is higher than many of surrounding states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania

    • Your child’s permanent address has changed. If your child moves to off-campus housing and has basically moved out of your home while still in college, he may need to get his own insurance policy in that location, especially if the car is his and if it is out of state. Your insurance agent can help you with the particulars in this situation, since it is difficult if not impossible to get insurance for a car you do not own.

    Auto insurance
    Making sure college students are covered properly by auto insurance is an important step for parents.

    Driving Someone Else’s Car

    Here are two more common situations that can lead to problems with auto insurance.

    1. Your child drives someone else’s car while at college and is involved in an accident.

    If it is an occasional occurrence for your child to drive another car, the auto insurance covering that car should take care of things. If it is a habitual occurrence, however, coverage may be excluded if the owner of that other car did not disclose your child as a driver. In the case of a roommate, spouse, or live-in boy- or girlfriend in which both are regularly driving one car, both drivers should be listed on the insurance.

    2. Someone else drives your child’s car while at college and is involved in an accident.

    It’s important to instruct your child not to lend his car to anyone else for a long period of time, since this can invalidate the coverage for the other person using that vehicle. If it is a one-time or occasional occurrence, however, your auto insurance will cover the accident as part of regular coverage.

    A Few More Things to Know

    In most cases, if you sell or give your car to your child, you should make sure the title is in the child’s name and that the insurance policy is separate and is in your child’s name. This is especially true if your child is residing out of state (that is, has a permanent address out of state).

    Another important thing to know is that your child cannot be covered under your insurance policy after college graduation unless he moves back home. If your child will be taking a vehicle owned by someone else with him when he moves away after college, it is important to transfer the title to him and have him get his own insurance policy, even though it will likely cost more.

    Knowing what to expect and being up front with your insurance company will give you the best protection for your family while your child is away at college. Get an auto insurance quote from AIS Insurance and make sure your family is covered.

    The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied