If you have a child who will be heading to college this fall, you’ll want to make sure he or she is protected with the right auto insurance policy. The best insurance for college students will provide coverage for liability risks, as well as for injuries, collisions and other possible damages.
Now, we realize that affordability is also extremely important (since you’re likely bracing yourself for upcoming tuition and boarding bills), but be sure that you DO NOT SACRIFICE PROTECTION while you’re comparing car insurance rates. You need to make sure your child will have the right type of insurance and the best amount of coverage for their situation.
Auto Insurance Coverage Even If They Aren’t Taking a Car to College…
You may think you don’t need to worry about car insurance because your child won’t be taking a vehicle to college, but we want to make sure you consider these possibilities:
1. What if your child borrows a car and causes an accident that is not adequately covered or carrying any insurance at all? (They may become personally liable!)
2. What if your child does not have insurance and is injured by another at fault motorist while driving a borrowed vehicle without insurance coverage? (Under a new Missouri law, for a Missouri accident, your child may only be entitled to recover economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and they cannot recover for pain and sufferring! This applies, EVEN IF THEY DIDN’T CAUSE THE ACCIDENT!)
3. What if your child is injured as a passenger in another vehicle?
4. What if your child is injured by a motorist as pedestrian? What if it is a hit-and-run?
These are just a few scenarios parents need to consider. Remember, auto insurance policies cover more than just the car. Therefore, if you have your child covered under your insurance policy, you’ll need to consider the realistic possibilities when considering the available coverage. Liability insurance is the minimum requirement, and we recommend talking to your insurance agent about these additional coverage options for greater protection.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage provides compensation for repairs or injuries if your child is involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have insurance, or if the driver at fault, only has state minimum coverage with low limits. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage offers protection beyond regular liability insurance, particularly in the following scenarios:
- If your child is injured as a pedestrian or by a hit-and-run driver;
- If your child is riding in another person’s vehicle;
- If your child is attending school out of state where minimums are lower (for example, Florida only requires $10,000 worth of bodily injury coverage).
- If your child is in a crowded car and numerous individuals are injured, the defendant’s policy will spread amongst all the injured parties. (For example: If a driver with a $25/50 policy injures five people, then those five people have to share $50,000.00 amongst themselves!)
Medical Payments Coverage
This will cover the cost of medical treatment for your child and any passengers in the event of an accident while your child is driving or injured as a passenger. (Learn more about Medical Payments Coverage).
Collision Insurance provides coverage for damages to your vehicle, regardless of who is at fault for an accident.
Comprehensive Insurance Coverage can protect your child against costs associated with “other than collision” events such as falling objects, theft, vandalism, or fire.
Check Residency Requirements for College Student Car Insurance
One of the ways to keep the cost of car insurance premiums lower for college students is to keep the child on a family policy. Most insurance companies will allow a child driver to stay on their parents’ policy until the age of 25, providing that the college student meets one of these criteria:
- The child is attending a college or university within 100 miles of the primary policyholder’s home.
- If the child is attending a college or university more than 100 miles away from the policyholder’s primary residence, the child will only be driving a vehicle covered on the policy while at home during school breaks.
These requirements can vary from state to state or company to company, so be sure to check with your insurance agent about residency restrictions.
Application of Coverage Is Dependent Upon the Specific Policy
The main point here is to make sure your child is protected. So, do diligent research. Most importantly, take time to discuss adequate coverage limits with your insurance agent, and make sure your child’s specific needs are covered under your specific policy.