The thrill of the open road. The wind in your hair. The…huge ding in your bumper?! Having a car at school can be great when you want to get off campus for a while but the cons far outweigh the pros without proper insurance. Are you and your four-wheeled counterpart covered? If not, you’ll be relying on the heel-toe express to get you to your next destination.
Until you reach the ripe old age of 25, the cost of car insurance is going to be higher in general but there are ways to lower your monthly payment. The location of your school matters a lot here, as the risk of driving in a rural area is lower than navigating an urban landscape. Also, your ability to obey the speed limit weighs heavily on your rates – no amount of communications classes can guarantee you’ll be able to talk your way out of a moving violation! – as does the type of car you drive and how often you drive it. Even issues unrelated to automobiles like your credit score can make a difference (the higher it is, the lower your premium could be) so it’s important to remain aware on and off the road.
Once you’ve determined these factors, start shopping providers. Your family’s insurance company could offer a multiple car discount but these rates vary from provider to provider. In some cases, it may be cheaper for you to get your own policy…like if you’re a regular on the Dean’s List, you could qualify for a "Good Student Discount", for example. Don’t be duped by advertisements, either: There are lots of companies out there publicizing extremely low rates but reading the fine print is essential in determining if you’ll have the necessary amount of coverage.
As freeing as it is to be able to jump in your ride whenever you please, it may be cheaper to leave your car at home and opt for distant student insurance or deferred insurance. As their names suggest, the former is for for students attending college at least 100 miles from their permanent residences and the latter involves temporarily suspending insurance while you are in school with no access to a covered vehicle. Remember, you could get around just fine carpooling with friends or using public transportation and an added bonus - besides not having to pay for gas - is that the increased likelihood of your car remaining drivable and in your possession: Cars parked in campus lots for extended periods of time are more likely to be stolen, robbed or damaged.
So is having a car on campus worth it? That truly depends on your unique situation. If you have an off-campus job that you rely on to pay for school or an off-campus apartment to keep costs down, a reliable way to get to and from work and home is kind of a no-brainer but if you’ll only be using your vehicle to go to the mall and cruise for dates, it’s probably best to put the brakes on that idea and keep some much-needed money in your pocket.
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