Car Insurance: What You Need When You Go to College
Today, more college students need to drive cars because of their busy schedules. Whether you saved up for one in high school or received one as a “going away to college” present, one of the biggest car-related expenses for a college student is car insurance. You need to budget for this cost, and your spending patterns are already about to change drastically.
There are certain steps you can take to get the right car insurance without spending more than you need to as you go to college. Here are some tips to help you save more money for textbooks, food, or fun times.
Look at your parents’ insurance.
If you live at home and commute to college or only live in college residence during the school years, you may still be eligible to receive car insurance through one of your parents’ plans. A family car insurance plan can be significantly cheaper because you’re associated with your parents’ good driving records. In some cases, this isn’t possible, but it’s worth investigating first. Your parents may be able to have you listed on their insurance policy for certain time periods if you are only an occasional driver.
Price-shop before you buy.
Many insurers will try to get you on board by offering low rates or sending promotional mail, but you need to be sure you’re getting a great rate before you settle for one particular type of car insurance. Price-shop first by talking to several insurance companies, using their online tools, or comparing their posted rates.
Use a comparison tool.
The easiest way to price-shop and compare insurance rates is to use a comparison tool. These engines will generate quotes from the major insurance companies. Some ask you whether you’re eligible for specific discounts like student discounts and others don’t. The car insurance rate you are quoted is likely a starting point – your final premiums may be higher or lower depending on your record and other factors.
Bundle your car insurance.
Do you live in an apartment that requires tenant insurance? Getting your car insurance from the same provider may save you money, though you should always check to be sure you aren’t going to pay more than you would with two separate providers. Certain companies are willing to offer you a discount if you bundle your car insurance with tenant or home insurance.
Get good grades in school.
Some car insurance companies will actually give you a discount if you have good grades in school. This is thought to be a reliable indicator of whether you are a responsible driver or not. If you can keep your GPA above the minimum average required – which is often fairly low, something like a B – you may be able to receive a discounted rate. You’ll need to ask your insurer directly about this, as not all insurers will do this.
Keep your other statistics high.
A good credit rating, avoiding getting speeding tickets, and fewer claims will all help lower your car insurance rates. If you’re paying too much, it could be because of one of these factors. Particularly for male college students, it’s important to keep your record squeaky-clean until your rates decrease. If you use your credit card irresponsibly and rack up debt, it will probably affect your premiums.
As you go to college, you will be spending money differently and learning to budget all over again. Whether you have a part-time job or you are paying for car insurance out of your savings, you should be aware of these ways to save money on car insurance while making sure you’re properly protected.
Gillian Kearney has extensive experience as an insurance consultant. Her articles mainly appear on auto and driver blogs. Visit the Monkey Car Insurance link to learn more.