Should you allow your kid to take your car back to campus?

By Ryan Hurlbert on February 1st, 2011

Your college student came home for the holidays, and wanted to take the car back to campus. Before you send you agree, here are a few things to consider.

Away at school auto insurance discount

If your child's school is a significant distance from home, you could save money by keeping the car at home. Many auto insurance companies offer an "away at school" discount if a child rated on your policy is away at college. There are some distance restrictions; with my current insurance carrier the college has to be at least 120 miles away from home. My daughter qualified, but my son did not.

Garaging address

You should also have the vehicle rated at its new garaging address. You could save money if rates in the area your child attends school are lower than rates where you live. For example, I live in a major metropolitan area, but when my son went to school, the town he was in was much smaller and offered lower car insurance rates.

Beware of other drivers

No, I don't mean the other drivers on the road. I am referring to the friends, roommates and fraternity brothers who will have access to your child's car.

Make it very clear that no one but your child is to drive the car. Your insurance provides primary coverage for any accident no matter if the driver has their own insurance, so any at-fault accident will be charged against your policy. You could potentially lose your accident free discount or the accident forgiveness you worked so hard to earn.

Consider a change in legal ownership

If your child has a car at college, take a few minutes to make sure your coverage is complete and you are not over-paying. This may be a good time to look into transferring legal ownership of the car to your college student, and ask them to purchase their own insurance policy. Nothing protects you from the vehicular indiscretions of a college freshman like taking your name off the title!

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