Back to School Checklist: Car Insurance

Back-to-school season is here, time to check those supply lists. School brings commutes, ride sharing, new cars and first cars, and students on the road to college. Here are some insurance considerations.

At the top of your list should be liability and property damage coverage. Drivers must have at least minimal liability coverage for damage they cause. Get into an accident without it and you will face big penalties, fines and expenses.

Property damage provides coverage for other property. If you hit another person’s car or damage city property like a guard rail or stop sign, your property damage insurance will cover damages up to the limit on your policy.

Other Important Coverage

You want to protect your own property, too. You need physical damage coverage for expensive repairs of damages to your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from anything other than a collision. Collision coverage is for damage to your vehicle in any kind of collision.

Going Away to College

Going to college out of town or out of state has implications for auto insurance.

  • A student must comply with the minimum insurance requirements of both home and college states. You or your student needs to notify the insurance company of an out-of-state residence. Your insurance agent can discuss local aspects with you.
  • Ask about student discounts or discounts for students with good grades and/or driving records. Each discount has specific criteria, so look into eligibility with the insurer.
  • Students who live away should provide the insurer with a temporary address. Such an address change, also called a garaging change, can affect how claims are handled.  

First Time Drivers/Young Adult Drivers

While rates are highest for teenagers, young adult drivers often pay more, too. Check with your independent insurance agent to find the best, most competitive coverage.

Buying a teen driver his or her own car? Select one that’s less costly to insure. Avoid anything flashy or sporty – crossovers/SUVs and minivans often have the lowest premiums – and choose a model with excellent crash-test ratings and safety features.