Understanding student car insurance

Published: September 18, 2015

Updated: May 15, 2018

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For many teenagers heading off to college is the first moment of independence in their lives, and it is often the first time they are able to do things like drive a car consistently on their own. Owning and running a car is but one route to maturity, but it promotes responsibility as the student will have to make sure they are insured.

The truth is however, many early college students have their insurance paid for them by their parents, so how many people heading to study know the true cost of coverage, and what it takes to maintain a premium that is as low as possible?

It is really important to understand car insurance, because who wants mom and dad to be backing them forever, right? There are certain things to know and do when pursuing car insurance as a student, including these very important points.

Personal insurance or your parents?

Many students will be going to college already with a driver’s license and in most circumstances would have been driving as an added name on their parent’s insurance coverage. However, when leaving for college you may not be eligible to continue driving a vehicle under someone else’s coverage. It depends on if you are moving out of your parents’ house or not, but you will be able to remain on your parents policy under the following circumstances.

  • You remain living with your parents (in this case you will remain on the policy as you always have).
  • You are classed as a full-time student, but still have your parents’ house as your official place of residence.
  • You do not own the vehicle you are driving.

If you have moved your official place of residence, have left the family home permanently, or own your vehicle then your insurer is likely to insist you get your own coverage.

Inform your insurer

If you already have your own insurance coverage or indeed are attached to a parent’s policy, you will need to tell your provider that you are going to college. Simply put, your insurer needs to know where your vehicle will now be located as this may breach the terms of the original agreement and you may not be covered under some circumstances.

You also need to inform your insurer because your provider may have some discount plans for students, or may need to adjust your policy to factor in the detail that you have moved out.

Provincial requirements

If you will be studying away from the province in which your current vehicle is insured you will have to check if your insurance policy meets the requirements of the territory in which you are moving to. For example, some Canadian provinces use a private insurance model and others a private one, and while companies around the country typically ask for similar requirements, you will certainly need to check that is the case when moving out of your home province.

Discounts

Yes, as a college student you may be able to get some discounts on your coverage. There is no set college student policy offered by companies, but certain criteria favor you being in study, and discounts are sometimes given for the following:

  • Good student discount – It is possible to get a discount if you acquire good grades throughout college, a solid reason to knuckle down on your studies. It should be noted that not all insurance companies offer good student discounts, but some do and you should certainly ask your insurer if it is something they offer.
  • Occasional driver discount – Perhaps you will be leaving your car behind when you go to college and will only be using it one weekends or when you visit home. If this is the case, your parents may be able to downgrade you to an occasional driver on their policy, which in many cases can lead to a discount and certainly a lower premium when it’s time to renew.