Auto Insurance for High School & College Students
Berkeley Parents Network >
Auto Insurance for High School & College Students
So now that my teen got her driving permit, I will give her some driving lessons.
Do I need to inform my car insurance company of this? Or do I just let her drive in my presence
and there is some basic coverage for it assumed somehow? She is good and serious, but things
happen. . .
What do other parents do?
This is easy. Call your insurance agent and let him/her know your daughter has her
permit. As long as you or your husband are in your insured car with her she is covered.
The time to worry is when she has her license. Then she needs to be added to your
insurance. At least this is all what my insurance agent told me! Don't forget the 3
professional driving lessons she needs, and I sure hope you don't let her drive before
she has the first lesson and the instructor signs her permit! Her permit isn't legal
until the instructor signs it. I would guess the insurance coverage also wouldn't kick in
until then as well.
Mom of teen with permit
Your child must take a 2 hour driving lesson from an official driving school for the
permit to be valid initially and then a few more lessons (i think total of 6 hours).
After having the permit for 6 months, the teen can take the driving test to get licensed.
I was told by our insurance that once she got her license she needed to be added to our
policy. Get ready for sticker shock! Your insurance cost is going to sky rocket! good
My son is a freshman at a college back east and so is home only 3 months
over the year.
Does anyone have experience with how to negotiate car insurance rates when
a teen is away so much?
My son has good grades and an excellent driving record.
Looking to Save a Little
We have CSAA. When daughter goes back east, I simply call the
800 number and they remove her as a driver for one of our cars.
She's still technically on the policy, but has no car to drive
and my premium goes WAY down. My understanding is that she
doesn't need to be listed as a driver unless she's home for more
than a month, so I didn't need to reactivate her for Christmas or
spring break even, but she could drive one of the cars just like
any other guest could.
Please contact your insurance company immediately. If your son
does not have access to a car you own while he is away at school,
you do not have to pay for him while he is away, but if he
occasionally drives a car he is still covered. We have AAA and we
do not have to pay until our child is home for over 30 days (ie:
ok to come home over winter and spring break and drive and be
covered), we just call and have her reinstated over the summer
when she is home for more than 30 days.
We had to really insist, because the agent hated having to do
this, but we took our child off of our car insurance policy
except for the times he was home. At first, the agent said it
wasn't possible. Then, I had to sit through a lecture about the
possibility that he would drive someone else's car at school
(without insurance). Finally, she agreed to take him off and put
him back on each time we gave her 2 weeks notice. He had to be
on a minimum of one month each time. The good grades discount
was something she told us about right away. We have SAFECO.
You need to discuss this with your insurance company. My son
goes to school on the east coast, when he is away we call our
insurance company and they remove him from our policy. When he
is home for more than a few weeks we call and have him reinstated
on the policy. There isn't anything to negotiate. Your
insurance company will tell you how far away the college has to
be for the student to be removed and how long they can be home
before they need to be back on the policy.
Mother of college student
Call your insurance agent and ask about this. AAA has a
discounted rate for kids away at college-I think if they are gone
for more than 30 days at a time you don't have to insure them at
all or you can do so at a highly discounted rate.
mom of daughter at college
Wondering how other parents manage finances around their teen
drivers, especially car insurance. We have two teens about to go
on our (USAA) policy, a moderately expensive 18-year-old daughter
and a very expensive 16-year-old son. This could add about $2000
a year to our policy, and we're wondering about asking them to
contribute in some reasonable way. And how do other families
handle related expenses - gas, upkeep? We think we should pay
for school-related mileage but, by and large, have them cover
other activities. Thanks for your feedback.
I'm not sure about USAA, but AAA offers 5% discount for good grades and a
''Teen Smart'' program for new/young drivers where they do an online course
and after successful completion AAA reduces the teen's insurance cost by
something like 25%. Check if USAA offers something similar. Good luck.
What I've learned about car insurance:
Its cheaper to have your kids on a car that does not have collision coverage -
in fact for many companies - even if you buy a beater and park it and no one
drives it, they rate the kids to that car. Its why so many of my son's friends
had their own cars - it was cheaper to put them on their own car with no
collision than to add them to a parent's car that has collision, even if they
only have very limited access to it vs full time access to their own car.
Crazy. (THis is why we bought the kids a car - the difference in price for one
year almost bought the car).
Other ways - if they have good grades, be sure to report it, some companies
(AAA for one) has a special program that the kids can complete and you get a
discount. If your children are ever out of town for a month (or go to
college), tell the insurance company asap. We only had to pay when our kids
were home for over 30 days, so once ethey started college we basically only
paid for the summers.
How we handled expenses: We bought an inexpensive but safe car for them to use
and didn't put collision on it (we did put theft/vandalism on it and windows
have been broken and stereos taken so that def. paid for itself) We got an
older corolla for $2500 and its stil going strong, we didn't charge them for
insurance and since they drove themselves to school, practice, etc. we covered
that gas. They covered gas for their own social activities. We pay repairs. We
didn't want them taking time and focus away from school and sports to get a
job just to pay for gas, expenses. They didn't take the car to college, that
insurance was too expensive. My son has now graduated from college and he is
now responsible for all his car expenses, we gave him a little grace period
until he had regular work and we did help him buy a decent car as part of his
graduation gift. WE let him stay on our insurance policy though because it is
much cheaper for him, but when he is 25 he will be able to find decent prices
and will go off on his own then.
Hope this helps.
You should shop around your insurance as well, you may find another carrier
will give you better rates.
Teens are expensive~
once a teen mom
We asked our daughter to pay for 25% of the insurance costs, and to do the AAA
computer driving course that lowered the insurance. We give her 1 year to
save the insurance money, and will collect on our next renewal. We also
ask for a nominal amount for gas ($20/month), to cover the driving to friends
etc. It really doesn't cover the cost, but has made her more aware of gas
use and costs
She doesn't have a steady job yet, so things will change as she does.
Hi--You'll have to work it out as fits your family. In our house, teen driving
is a privilege and not a right. We have high auto insurance coverage (don't
ever want to lose the house) so can't afford $2000/year to add each kid to our
auto policy. Result: Our oldest was and is specifically excluded from driving
our cars, although-- get this-- his friends can drive him around, with our
permission. He got a license after he turned 18, when we got him a $400/yr
non-owner policy for the minimum California coverage so he'd never be arrested
for driving uninsured in a friend's car.
I've heard that another strategy is to have an old car specifically designated
as mainly driven by the minor driver. But that didn't help us.
Our younger child pays 2/3 of the additional cost of being on our insurance,
from proceeds of a summer job. It's convenient for us that she can drive
herself. She uses our gas card and is supposed to pay us 30 cents per mile for
non-school related driving but in practice it's too hard to track and keep
That's my two cents' worth.
(1) Does anyone else out there take their college student off the
family car insurance for most of the year, while the student is
living away from home? My 18-year-old son is in So Cal at college
with a driver's license but no car. With college expenses we can't
really afford $1200 a year to keep him on our family auto insurance
policy. (We have an otherwise good insurance deal and DON'T want to
change our company. We looked into a ''non-vehicle-owner policy'' for
him, and got a quote from Geico: $1100/yr.)
(2) Do WE have any liability if we drop our son from our auto ins
policy, and then he drives a friend's (insured) car at college and
gets in an accident? I don't see why we would be liable, if he's 18
and it's not our car. But someone at the insurance company said we
WOULD be liable in that case, since he's a dependent for tax
purposes. Is this for real???
wants to know
Once your child is in college and not in the general area you can
call your insurance company and let them know. Most companies
will ''un rate them'' and they are still listed and covered on your
insurance, they can come home and drive and still be covered and then
you only have to inform your insurance when your child comes home and
is home for more than 30 days. Then they add them back (usually for
the summer) and then when they return to school, you call them and
let them know. Definetly do not be paying if they aren't at home and
if they do not have a car when they are at school. (Also, remember to
do this if your child is out of the country for study abroad or
traveling for more than a month!) Some companies will tell you they
have to be XX miles away before they do this so if your child is at
Cal, Davis, SF, Santa Cruz they may not do this.
My nephew is a H.S. senior living at home with my sister in Silicon Valley and
he just got his drivers license. My sister was told by an insurance
representative that technically teens do not have to have insurance, because
it is the car that is insured with its owners. When an insured owner loans the
car to another driver, the car is covered for any accident that guest driver
may have. My sister insured her older daughter until she was a junior college
student even though my niece was living far away. On the advice of my
insurance rep, I took my daughter off my policy this month when she went
away to college, and plan to put her back on if she comes home next
summer. I think the more a person drives, the greater the risk just because
there are so many cars and drivers on the road. The DMV says every driver
should be insured. Is there anyone in the BPN who is an insurance
professional or legal professional dealing in this realm who can explain what
the REAL legal requirements and risks are? Thanks!
Is the teen going to regularly use the car?
Then add them.
If they are going to borrow it every once in a while,
don't worry about it.
If you want a stricter approach, its better to be
conservative and fair to the insurance company too.
Either pay for insurance...or don't let them drive.
That way everyone sleeps a little easier.
Do whats right, even if it costs more.
One advantage to insuring him now is that his premiums will
decrease sooner. Because teens have so many accidents, their
premiums are very high for the first few years. The rates
are based on how many years, not on how old they are. If he doesn't
get insurance till he's out of college and in a job, he will
be paying the same high premiums that he would have paid and gotten past
in his teens (assuming no accidents in the teens!) Just a thought.
Our oldest son is a sophomore at college and basically
only drives for a couple weeks a year when he comes home
at winter break. We are paying a fortune in car insurance
for this privilege. How do other people handle car
insurance for kids who don't drive or have access to a car
for most of the year? We like our insurance company
(Amica) for many reasons but they say we either cover him
or not. I hate spending all this money for just a couple
weeks a year.
My insurance company is Hartford, and they adjusted my premium since my
son only will drive when he's home. It was close to $300 in a credit.
Not much, but of course, every little bit helps. Even though you like your
insurance company, you might want to shop around. Here's a great
broker: John Carroll, PFN Insurance Services, 510-757-4347 (mobile); 510-483-
6667 (office); e-mail: email@example.com He can compare the
different rates offered by insurance companies and provide you with the one
that will meet your needs.
We have continued to keep our daughter (also a sophomore in
college) on our car insurance since she has been home for
the summer and various holidays sprinkled throughout the year.
We have AAA insurance and their deal is that if your child
is only driving during holiday breaks and is going to a
school more than a certain number of miles (50?75?) away,
you take them off your insurance. When they return in the
summer, you put them back on. So, when our oldest went to
college in SoCal it was perfect. When our second went to UOP
(Stockton), nope, we had to keep paying.
Our daughter is at Humboldt State, which is around 290 miles
from our home. Because her school is more than 150 miles
from home, we get a break on car insurance because she is an
Ask your agent if distance from home is a factor in their rates.
We have insurance with State Farm.
I don't know what your overall rates are, but our insurance
(GEICO), and I assumed, others, does not charge us for our
teen daughter now that she is away at college. They assured
us that ''occasional use'' when visiting home is covered even
if she is not named on the policy. It may depend how far
away the college is. If you otherwise love your coverage,
you could amend it every time your son is home for a while,
then re-amend it when he leaves (a pain, but may be worth
We insure our cars and house thru Allstate, and our very
obliging agent Tony Salazar (415) 391 9988 simply has us
call him when the kids are coming home from college to put
them back on our policy, and then call him when they leave
again. This involves extra work for him but he has never
complained about it and it has never been a problem.
I think you need to change car insurance. Our insurance -
CSAA- says we don't pay for our child until they are home
for more than 30 days! And he is in school in SF! We
emphasized that he does not come home, does not use the
car except on breaks and we pay only over the summer. They
said he is still covered should he come home and use the
car at any time. Most car insurance companies work this
way, I have heard that some companies charge if the kids
are less than 100 miles away (like at Davis or Santa Cruz)
but I would protest/change if ours did.
My insurance company (AAA) has advised me that as long as
my college kid is not living with me or in the immediate
vicinity, I do not need to include him on our policy. If
he comes home for the occasional weekend and borrows the
car, he will be considered like any other friend or
relative and be covered in case of an accident. During the
summer if he comes home to live with us, we must add him
to our policy for that time period only.
Our insurance company (CSAA) has something called non-exposed driver status.
When our older kids are away, but come home for vacation, they are still covered
on our policy and can drive for up to 30 days. If we pay anything for this, it is a
very small amount. If the kids are around for longer than a month, we have to
switch them back to regular status and pay full price.
I have just had conversations with 2 car insurance
companies, Aetna and Mercury (through an independent agent).
Either of these is willing to remove my college daughter
from the insurance while she is away. I will need to
remember to add her back for the weeks she is home for
breaks. If she does drive someone else's car when she's not
insured, my understanding is that the other person's car
insurance is in effect, but if there were an accident, we
could be financially liable for whatever wasn't covered by
the primary insurance. So, she will be given very clear
instructions NOT to drive while away.
We are in the same situation re car insurance: our son is
a junior in college in Pennsylvania, and only home a few
weeks a year.
Our insurer (State Farm) has been great about this - they
do not require us to include him in our coverage so our
rates haven't changed, and we are not paying the huge
premiums for a young driver. We notified our agent of
the situation when our son got his license (only days
before he left for college) and they said that as he only
drives our cars occasionally when he is home on vacation
they consider it the same as any casual user: he's
covered, but we don't pay for him. (Of course that also
means if he drives someone else's car, he's covered only
by their insurance, and not ours.)
We have auto ins. with AAA. They do pro-rate your ins. if
you have a college-age child who drives but the child must
live 100-150 miles from home in order to get the discount.
They figure that if they live any closer than that, they can
come home on weekends pretty frequently. Our child lives 80
miles from home, so we don't see any change in our premium,
unfortunately. But, AAA also gives a 5-10% discount (can't
remember exactly) for good students, i.e., they must
maintain 3.0 GPA. Any little bit helps.
Re car insurance for kids in college- we had good luck with
21st Century Insurance. They allow you to remove your kid
from the policy while they are away in college, and then put
them back on when they are home. You are not charged for
the times when they are off your policy. There are a
specified number of times you can do the ''on and off'' thing
over a year, but it always worked out fine for our family.
We did learn that your child has to be more than 80 miles
away from home in order for this provision to be
implemented. Our daughter in Minnesota was covered without
question; our daughter at UC Davis had to remain on our
policy year round.
With our son turning 15.5 soon and wanting to start driver
training I am looking for people's experience with which
insurance companies offer the best rates for young drivers
as well as their service
get a quote from your auto ins. if you have one, then start getting
other ins. such as csaa, progressive, ensurance, state farm , etc. at
tends to be a bit higher than girls... it ranges from $1000.-$1200. i
cover 4 kids under my policy, csaa until they purchased their own ins.
from various companies, then they went to csaa because they were reasonably
priced. having them on my policy in the past helped tremendously. its
check other ins. from time to time. quotes do change. just to give you
its $1000. for a 16 yr. old girl and that only liability on a '97 jetta
Check out Amica. Their rate was the best and they were
great to deal with. Highly rated by Consumer Report too.
mom with new driver
Soon we will need to provide car for our teen new driver. In anticipation
of this I would like to know what insurance suggestions you might have. A
call to my auto insurance company (Geico) led me to believe that our car
insurance costs would more than double, to over $4,000 per year, once we add
a 16 year old female new driver. For those with sons it is even more I am
told. Is this doubling (or more) in cost of an auto insurance premium
typical? Is it time to bid farewell to Geico and go elsewhere? Your
experiences and suggestions are appreciated.
We had a very positive experience, and greatly lowered rates, by
switching our car insurance, with my 16 yo daughter, to State Farm
where I already had my renter's insurance. My daughter's portion,
which she is paying from her part time job, is only (?? ) $1000 per
year and that's for her own car. I had previously switched to 21 st
Century (fronm CSAA) when it was just me and saved a little. Upon
adding my daughter they weren't very competitive. State Farm was a
very pleasant surprise.
Read your current poicy carefully to make sure that you are
obligated to tell your insurer you are adding a driver.
Not all policies currently require you to do so, although
people assume they must. If the policy does not require
it, your teen may be covered as a permissive driver. But,
be careful, since some policies do not afford the same
coverage for unnamed permissive drivers. And, if you're
adding a car to the policy, you may be required to identify
the primary driver (and not telling the truth about that
would be a bed idea). Hope I haven't just given you more
Not a driver's dad yet
I think you might find that rate at any insurance company
you go to. We found that our car insurance doubled when we
added our son at age 18. We learned that the rates are based
on ''# of years driving'' rather than ''age'' so there was no
advantage to waiting two years. We have State Farm. What
they told me was that a family member with a learner's
permit does not need to be on the policy, but once they get
their license, you have to add them. However the good news
is that you can probably knock off as much as 25% of that if
your child can qualify for the good student discount. The
rules are not that strict - as I recall it's something like
a B average or better. We actually required that our son be
able to qualify for that before we'd let him get his
license. (Thus, he didn't get it till age 18!) A lot of
his friends who have cars are required to pay for the
insurance themselves, which basically takes all the earnings
for the summer.
The insurers' regulations are baroque. For example, when our
son left to go to college out of state, we wanted him to be
covered in case he drove a friend's car, and also when he
came home for breaks. Oddly, it was much, much cheaper for
him to be covered on a car designated as ''his'' that stays
parked in our driveway while he is away (with coverage
suspended), than on the family car. So it was cheaper for
us to buy him a beater, park it in the driveway, and get
coverage reactivated every time he came home for the summer
and on breaks. You should ask your insurance agent about
different scenarios like that.
You really do want to make sure they are covered on your
policy though, because it seems like all new drivers have
some sort of accident within the first year. This summer our
very responsible, mature 19-year-old had a fender bender in
the used car we had just him bought 2 weeks earlier. Even
though he was listed as a driver on our insurance, we had
not yet told State Farm about the additional car. Plus, we
had put the car in his name instead of ours, for no
particular reason, and this really created problems for
State Farm. It took nearly 2 months to get the insurance
sorted out, because State Farm thought that our 30-day grace
period for reporting the new car might not apply in this
case. Eventually they had to admit that it did apply, and
they paid for the $5000 worth of repairs. But in the
meantime, the car sat in the body shop and our son had to
leave for college without it, and fly back later to pick it
So, I can't say I highly recommend State Farm, but I do
highly recommend doing a little research into the various
options. Paying for a teen's car insurance is costly, but
the alternatives are worse.
Mom of new driver
$2000 for adding a teenage girl driver
does seem out of line. We just received
our policy renewal notice and our
daughter's cost for the year is a bit over
$1000. We have insurance with AAA.
I'd advise you to ask a few questions of
any insurer you go with: first off, most
have a ''good student'' discount for kids
with a 3.0 or better--a good incentive
for your child to keep their grades up if
you insist that if she/he doesn't, the
difference in insurance cost can be
Also, AAA has what they called a ''new
driver'' discount, which required that we
buy a $20 (I think) video, have the new
driver watch it and have both parent
and child sign that they did. It was
pretty much a review of driver's ed
I don't know what our insurance costs
would have been without signing up for
these two discounts.
I'd also check with your insurer about
whether they care which car or what
kind of car the student drives. I
remember that when we originally put
our daughter on our policy and
discussed this, it did make a difference.
When I added my daughter to my insurance the cost went up
by $1,200 or so. After she had been driving for about 8
months we got tired of her always needing our cars and got
her, her own (very used) car for her birthday/x-mas. I
thought the insurance would be even higher, but remarkably
it went down. The reason was that when I added her car,
she came off as a primary driver on my car (she can still
drive it, but she isn't a primary driver). My car is
better insured and more valuable than hers, so it cost more
to have a teen driver driving it.
We have always made her pay for her own insurance. So she
had to get a job before she could get her license. It put
off driving for a few months while she found herself a job,
and it has improved her sense of responsibility. Good luck.
When my son got his license I called around about insurance
and discovered that my insurance was going to go up by
thousands, just as the writer (dad) found out about insuring
his daughter. The best solution I found was to insure the
car my son drives on a new, separate policy, with myself as
primary and he as an occasional driver. This was cheaper --
by a couple thousand dollars -- but still expensive (around
$1000/year or so for liability only.) I also had to exclude
him from the policy covering the other cars since the
insurance company charges you a premium just because they
live in your house unless you exclude them. The problem with
my solution is that you must have a car that isn't on your
current policy, i.e. an ''extra'' car, which I happened to
have because my grandfather could no longer drive. I use
Rogers Insurance in Castro Valley. They search their
insurers to find the best deals, and I've been happy with
When I went to add my son to my auto insurance policy, I
was told by my insurance agent that my policy would only
not cover my son when he was driving a car from his
mother's (my ex-wife) house. My agent said that in order
for him to be covered at the other house, my ex-wife would
also have to add him to her policy. Has anyone else
encountered this problem, and if so, how did you deal with
Regarding auto insurance, the usual principle is that the
insurance is for the auto, not for the person. So if your
son drives your car, your insurance covers; if he drives
his mother's car, her insurance covers. If he is going to
be driving his mother's car occasionally, then he does need
to be covered there as well. I did once hear that there
was a way to get a separate policy for a teenager that
would cover his use for more than one vehicle; however, I
never looked into it. The cost may be much higher.
Whatever is easier or least costly (adding him to both
policies or getting his own), you definitely need
insurance. It is unfortunate that the accident rate is
high for teenagers, especially young teenagers (age 16,
17), but given that it is, coverage is necessary and worth
it. But because teenagers have a high accident rate, the
premium is high. The higher the price of the car he's
driving, the higher the price of the insurance. So having
him drive an older, less expensive car would be another way
to bring down the cost.
When I approached my insurance agent about auto insurance for my teen, who
lives half time with me and half with my ex, he said that she could be under
either parent's policy, and it would cover her in all our cars. Makes sense,
since I'm covered if I drive someone else's car.
this page was last updated: Jan 4, 2014
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network