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  • Writer's pictureKia Hohaia

Student Drivers & College Coverage: How Insurance Works for Children Drivers

The summer is winding down to an end, and with that many families are preparing for their children to return to school or head off to college. How are your children covered while driving your vehicles? It is important to make sure you opt for the necessary insurance and understand how your coverage works in case your kids get in an accident.

Student Drivers and Insurance

For many teenagers, getting their permit or driver’s license is an exciting time. New drivers may be in educational courses to learn the ropes and understand local laws, but this study time doesn’t mean accidents won't happen. They are largely inexperienced and have an adjustment period before they become comfortable, confident, and familiar with proper driving techniques and safety on the road. In the event of an accident, they could easily become injured, and you want to make sure they are properly protected if that happens.

The first thing to note is that auto insurance often extends coverage to your permitted drivers without needing to add them onto the policy. However, it is always best practice to take the necessary steps to add them or notify your insurance company to verify they are covered while they drive with a learners permit. Sometimes the insurance company will ask for their information but will not charge anything additional to have them added on the policy until they become licensed. Once they become licensed, then the insurance company will begin covering and rating them as a consistent and routine driver, just like any other family members in the household.

It is critical to never hide youthful drivers from your insurance company. The cost to cover young drivers is often high for many families, but this doesn’t mean you should omit the truth to avoid paying more money on your insurance. These drivers cost so much to insure because they are considered higher risk, and with that this means that they are considered more at risk for accidents. That being said, you never want to risk not having auto insurance coverage for accidents your children may cause simply because their name wasn’t on the policy. Even though a raise in your insurance premiums isn’t ideal, having the right coverage will save you enormously on out-of-pocket costs for medical care or damage to the vehicle in the event of an accident.

One saving grace for student drivers is that they are eligible for unique discounts. The most common one is the good student discount, which usually is available for any student drivers achieving a 3.0 GPA or higher in school. Most insurance companies offering this discount ask for some form of verification through a report card or other school document, so make sure to keep these for when your child is preparing to take their driver’s test. It will help take the edge off of the rise in insurance costs to have that discount added to your policy.

College Students and Insurance

If your child is heading off to college for the first time with a car, you may be wondering how they are covered. Most insurance policies allow your child to remain on your insurance policy while they are away as long as their primary permanent address is still your address. This is most applicable for students who return home every summer or for holidays and reside in the college dorms during the school year. For students that permanently live off-campus in a house or apartment, it is best to double-check with your insurance company to make sure they do not need their own insurance policy.

College students are still considered a higher risk, but as they age, their rates will begin to slowly decrease, with the biggest drop happening around age 25. While you are covering their insurance costs, you will want to look into ways to save money on your insurance to keep them protected without breaking the bank. Most insurance companies will continue to offer the good student discount to college students until they reach age 25, so make sure to ask your child to provide report cards or other documents to prove their GPA is at a 3.0 or higher. This can be another great motivator for students to achieve high grades if they are paying for their portion of the insurance.

Another cost-saver for covering students away at college is to simply ask your insurance company. Some insurance companies will lower the cost to insure the college student and their vehicle if they live a certain number of miles from home, usually at least 100 or 250 miles away from your residence. The logic here is that the college student only has access to the one car they brought with them and cannot drive the other cars on the policy while they are at this distance. This helps lower your rates overall since one driver and vehicle are being rated semi-separately from the other ones.

Check with Your Insurance

Covering your child can be a complicated subject, so always check with your own insurance company to make sure you don’t have any gaps. An accident is an overwhelming and sometimes traumatic experience, but it can be made much easier with the right insurance coverage. If you find you need support with your child’s personal injury claim, contact Hohaia Law to get the representation and compensation you deserve.

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