Having college students as children will create a host of new considerations for parents, especially if those kids drive. Whether you already have insurance and are concerned about how your family’s car insurance policies may need to change, or if you’re worried about what having kids headed to college will do to your rates, you need to take a few things into consideration. If you happen to be a customer of Progressive car insurance, or if you’re considering changing providers and Progressive is one option you’re looking at, they offer some unique options for families with college bound drivers.
Plan early and notify your agent
First and foremost, there is a good chance that you can reduce the cost of your Progressive car insurance by alerting your insurance agent about your child’s pending change of status before he or she heads off to college. Whether you are with Progressive or not, once you know your child is going to college you should contact your car insurance agent and inform him or her of all the details. These details will help your agent determine your best course of action and advise you about which discounts may apply to your college driver.
For example, if you are a Progressive customer, you may have already applied for a Good Student discount for your kids that drive. That discount may actually be extended to them when they go to college, assuming they continue to keep up good grades. Letting your agent know ahead of time that you have kids headed to college can keep him/her alert to working to maintain any student-specific discounts you may already have qualified for.
Good news, bad news
First, the bad news. If your kids plan to regularly drive while at college, they will need to have some level of car insurance in place. This can get tricky if your kids plan to attend college in another state. Depending on how that state counts college students in any determination of residency, the required coverage types and minimums may change from what you have in place for them.
For example, Progressive notes on its own website that the bodily injury and property damage liability minimums can vary widely in closely neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New York. A Pennsylvania teen planning to attend university in New York may have to pay for increased coverage to meet New York state car insurance requirements.
The good news for Progressive customers – discounts. In addition to the Good Student Discount discussed above, Progressive offers a Distant Student Discount specifically aimed at helping families with college bound drivers. Under this program Progressive offers premium discounts for any insured college student who:
- Attends college more than 100 miles from home (even if it’s in the same state)
- Does not have regular access to a specific vehicle
- Is a licensed driver under age 23
- Is not living at home (and commuting to school)
If your college kids plan to drive when they come home for holidays or short visits, Progressive has options that will allow these kids to have protection under a parent or family coverage plan. In some states, Progressive also offers mileage-specific policies that provide full coverage given that a driver limits his or her driving to a specific number of miles each year.
Other discounts and considerations about coverage
If your kids are planning to take a car to college, be sure you have taken advantage of all the standard discounts they may be eligible for. If you and your family are Progressive customers, this could include:
- Discounts for anti-theft devices on a vehicle
- A safe, accident-free driving record
- For taking a defensive driving class (in some states)
- For driving fewer miles
- For buying and “signing” policies online
- For insuring more than one car
- For having more than one type of insurance with Progressive
(Depending on the state where you live and where you kids will be going to college, there may be many other Progressive discounts available.)
When you’re asking your agent about discounts for your kids headed to college, you may also want to ask about the need for certain coverage options and levels for your kids. If your college student drivers are taking a car with them to campus, but it isn’t a very valuable car, you may want to opt-out of a coverage choice like collision, On the other hand, if the campus where your kids will be taking a car is in a neighborhood where theft or vandalism is common, you may want to add a comprehensive option to the coverage.
Add-on or stand-alone?
In some families, it doesn’t make sense for a child to start driving and get insurance until they go away from home for college. In that case, if the parents want to add a child to their insurance, the costs will generally be lower than if the parents plan on getting a separate policy just for the student drivers.
Some families consider college bound kids on their own when it comes to matters like car insurance. In these fairly rare instances, getting some advice and direction from your car insurance agent early on in the process can be a great benefit. Again, if you are a Progressive customer, they have a growing number of tools and programs aimed at helping young and beginning drivers establish safe driving habits and start building a positive insurance history.
Progressive is one of many leading car insurance providers that work hard to offer families a continuity of coverage and service. As such, car insurance considerations don’t change a great deal when a driving child goes to college with a Progressive policy.
(Note: This article is intended as an informational piece and is not intended as a promotional or marketing piece. The author has no affiliation with Progressive Insurance or any other car insurance provider.)