College and Auto Insurance | Put auto insurance on your college checklist.

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College and Auto Insurance

While you are packing extra long sheets, the right laptop, and other electronics for your college-bound freshman, add auto insurance to your checklist. Whether your student is taking one of the family cars, his or her own set of wheels to campus, or is going to be without wheels, it will affect the family's auto insurance. While you are setting up final dental appointments, call your insurance company and find out how your insurance picture changes when your child squeals out of the driveway on the way to the university. Taking the time to do so could mean a few extra bucks in your family pocketbook plus the assurance that you are protecting your child away from home.

Location, Location.

Your family auto insurance policy will most likely cover a car that your child takes to college as long as the vehicle is registered with you, the parent, as owner. However, the car's new locale might make a difference in your premiums, so it is important that the insurance company be notified that the car will be garaged at another location. If your child will now be living in an urban area, for instance, your premiums may rise. Insurance companies rely on statistics to set rates and they will look at the accident and theft statistics for that area when calculating a premium that could be lower or higher depending on the statistics.

Grades Matter.

The student with wheels on campus can also lower their premiums by hitting the books. Many insurance companies will lower premiums for students with a B-average or better. There are reductions for taking defensive driving courses as well. Check with your respective insurance company to get all the reductions available.

Without Wheels.

Depending upon your policy, you could lower your premium if your college-bound student does not take a car to school, because some insurers will reduce rates for drivers attending school at least 100 miles away from home.

Policy Ownership.

Insuring a car in your child's name is expensive. You can count on adding 50 percent for a female and 100 percent for a male under 25. You will need to check on the insurance requirements in the state where your child will attend school to be sure your current policy concurs with state insurance laws. Do make sure your child has auto insurance on his or her vehicle, however, whether it's through your policy or per their own. An accident by an uninsured driver can haunt them the rest of their lives and ruin their credit rating for a very long time. Uninsured drivers can lose their license plates, incur stiff fines and sometimes jail time.

If your child goes to college and leaves the family car behind, this means one less driver for most of the year, which could also lead to lower premiums. But if you remove the student from your insurance plan as an active driver, it could also mean that they won't be covered at school when driving a friend's car. Check with your insurance company to see which steps are best for you.

Roadside Assist.

You might want to get a roadside assistance program that will cover your student away from home and on road trips during breaks. The AAA provides an associate membership for $24 a year. (Associate members must be under 21 and full-time students) The Auto Club card can be used for roadside assistance services throughout the Unites States and Canada. Some car companies also offer roadside assistance with the purchase of one of their vehicles.

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