Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 23, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • When your adult child goes to college, they need to have auto insurance in place as long as they drive
  • If your student is officially still a resident of your home, you can insure them and even their vehicle
  • Some college students will buy their own car and move into their own place, so will need their own insurance
  • Don’t remove a child who is away at college from your policy if they will be borrowing cars or visiting home
  • You can get a Student Away or Distant Student discount if your child is at least 75-100 miles from home

Some young adults like to stay close to home while they earn their degree and others venture out to experience new cities and countries.

While there are financial benefits associated with staying with your parents while you study, there’s no other experience like going to college hundreds of miles from home where you can see how the other side of the world lives.

As you get your soon-to-be college student gets applications in and you start to get responses back from schools, you’ll have to have a sit-down and decide which school is best.

Comparing car insurance quotes will help you find the best rate for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool to get started today!

No matter what the decision is, when your adult child is accepted to a school and enrolls for their first classes, it will affect your auto insurance. Here’s what parents should know:

What’s the most common mistake parents make?


One of the best things that you can do in life is to learn from the mistakes of others. You want to learn from your own mistakes, too, but it’s always better to avoid them entirely by taking advice from others.

You may be busy giving your student-to-be valuable advice to survive school but you should never be too busy to take advice too.

Deleting your college student from your policy could be a major mistake. You do have the option to delete them if you want, but if you do, you’ll be vulnerable if your child borrows a car and gets into an accident.

Many college students leave home without their cars but they should still be rated on your policy for your own protection.

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Why do you need financial protection if your child at school?

You may be free from having to cook and clean for your young adult now that they are living independently, but experiencing independence doesn’t mean that they aren’t still classified as your dependent.

In some ways, it’s nice that child at school is a dependent and others ways it can be a risk.

College students still rely on their parents for financial means while they are studying for a degree.

  • They are on your health insurance plan
  • They are in your bank account
  • You can claim them on your taxes

If your student makes a mistake and they are a dependent, technically the victim can file a lawsuit against the student’s parents. The last thing that you want to do is fight a lawsuit without any protection afforded by your insurer.

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Will there be coverage if a student borrows a car?

If you remove your teen or young adult from your policy and they borrow a car, you might be thinking that the car’s policy will pay. That’s definitely a possibility but it’s not a guarantee.

Most standard policies, except those with a named driver provision, will offer coverage for permissive users.

Under permissive user provisions, as long as the owner of the car has given your child permission to drive, whatever coverage is on the car will extend. That doesn’t mean that there will be enough coverage or any damage coverage for the vehicle itself.

If it’s a low-limit or liability-only plan, there’s still a chance the victim in an accident or the car’s owner could come after the driver that’s liable.

Is there coverage when a student rents a car?


When your student needs a car and they can’t borrow one, renting is an option. Unfortunately, since they are under 25, they’ll pay a surcharge rate for each day that they rent.

If the student isn’t a driver on a standard policy, they also have to pay an added rate for optional rental car insurance. Coverage options include:

  • Supplemental Liability Insurance will pay for liability damages while your student drives the rental
  • Damage Waiver will pay to repair the rental without a deductible if there’s an accident
  • Personal Accident Insurance pays for your student’s medical bills if they are in an auto-related accident
  • Personal Effects Coverage pays if your student’s belongings are damaged in a collision while in the rental

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What can you do to your insurance while your child is at school?

Just because it’s not wise to remove your student doesn’t mean that you can’t save money. If your student isn’t in your home and they didn’t take a car with them, you shouldn’t have to pay the inflated rates that you’re paying now.

That’s why you get a special Distant Student discount if you meet the following criteria:

  • The driver must have a valid license
  • The driver must be a child of the insured by blood or marriage
  • The driver must be 25 or under
  • The driver must be at a school at least 75 miles away from the house
  • The driver must be at the campus without a car

Is there ever a time where your student needs their own insurance?


Some students go from being a high school graduate to living on their own while they earn a degree. If your student is living on their own and you aren’t helping them cover any tuition or rent, they are independent.

Since they have a separate address, it’s their duty to buy their own insurance from a carrier doing business in their state.

You can start to structure your policy with your current carrier after your student leaves for school. Once the rates are updated and you have something to base the quotes off of, you can start to get new quotes from other carriers to look for a better rate.

Get online quotes on a comparison tool to see if you can save by getting discounts or if it’s best for your adult to pay for insurance on their own. Enter your zip code below to begin.