Your Child, Taking the Car to School, & Auto Insurance
School will be in session soon, and that means it’s time to think about transportation. How will your child get back and forth from the high school or university that they are attending? Whether they have purchased a car of their own or are planning to borrow yours to make the commute, there are some important things to remember.
Families will need to be wary when it comes to auto insurance and young drivers, especially given the cost of auto coverage for “higher-risk” drivers. Some auto insurance policyholders may even ask themselves if they should take their previously insured children off their policies while they are attending school (specifically if their child is pursuing higher education) or if they should keep their child on their policy for the time being. That answer depends.
Here are some things you should know when it comes to having your child take the car to school.
Most Importantly: Let Your Insurance Company Know
If your child is going to be driving their vehicle or yours back and forth from school, make sure that your insurance company is aware. If you don’t update them about how often and how far your vehicle is being driven, then your insurance company will not be aware of the potential increased risk of an accident. There is also an increased risk of damage to the vehicle in question when you are parking it in a shared lot (like the one at your child’s school, college, or university) compared to a secure driveway. By updating your insurance company about how your child intends to use the vehicle, they can make sure you have adequate coverage for the situation.
If your child is borrowing your vehicle or a family member’s to drive to school, contact your insurance broker to make sure that they are listed on the policy. If they are not listed as a driver on the policy, and they get into an accident, you will receive no compensation for the cost of damages. Also, it is important that you ensure that the primary driver is updated if your child is going to be the vehicle’s principal operator.
Ensure Only Your Child is Driving the Car
Most insurance companies will not cover the cost of repairs for your vehicle if the accident occurred when an unlisted driver was behind the wheel. For parents lending a car out to their young drivers, make sure you let your insurance broker know that your son or daughter will be using the vehicle.
Make sure that your child is aware of this risk before they go away to school. After all, if something does happen where they lend out their vehicle to a friend, you and/or your child will be stuck having to foot the bill for damages on your own!
Keep Rates Low by Having Your Child Maintain Good Driving Habits
For anyone who owns a vehicle, obeying the rules of the road and being cautious when driving is key to preventing your rates from rising due to traffic violations, collisions, and other events. Having good driving habits will help reduce your rates and lower your risk of having an accident – and the same goes for your child. Look into whether your insurance company offers accident forgiveness for your first at-fault accident. If you believe your child has good driving habits be sure to check out our Young Drivers program which provides discounts to good drivers between the ages of 16-24.
Ask About Discounts
Students who are attending post-secondary education or students that have good grades (from high school, post-secondary, or both) are often eligible for discounted rates. Give us a call if you think your child would qualify at 519-482-9357.
Here are some general driving tips for your child to remember when it comes to commuting to school.
- Arrive Early – Get to school about ten minutes early and leave five minutes late to avoid the build-up of cars trying to leave the parking lot. Many accidents happen when students are rushing around, whether it be in a car or on foot.
- Park With Lots of Space – Try to find parking spaces that you can pull out of easily. Park somewhere with lots of room to back out or where you can pull straight out of the spot. Also, avoid parking too close to other cars; this reduces the risk of your car getting hit by another driver’s door as they rush out of the lot.
- Watch For Other Students – Students will likely be talking and texting while they walk to the school, so watch for pedestrians who don’t have their full attention on the road. Other cars or buses will be dropping students off at the school too, so keep an eye open for people weaving in and out of cars.
- Cover Valuables – Don’t leave your valuables like wallets, shoes, leather jackets, jewellery, or sports equipment in your car when they are visible from the windows because this invites break-ins.
- Go Slow – Watch for people, pets, and other cars while driving, take it slow so that you can make sure everyone is safe.
You Should Keep Your Student on Your Insurance If…
If your child is going away for university or college, you may be considering taking them off your auto insurance policy altogether. If your child is living on campus without frequent access to a car, then you may want to take them off your insurance as it could save you between $1,000 to $2,500 a year. However, if your child student is regularly driving to and from school while away at college or commuting to a college/university nearby, you should keep them on your policy. This ensures they have coverage whenever they need to drive your vehicle, they could earn student-specific discounts for the entire family, and they will begin to develop an insurance coverage history – which can save them on their rates later down the line.
Keep in mind that having anyone under the age of 25 listed as a driver on your policy will increase your rates. Beyond having coverage for their typical commuting, they will be covered if they drive a friend’s vehicle, need to drive because of an emergency, and/or return home and drive the car there.
The bottom line is that you should maintain clear and frequent communication with your insurer so they are informed about what your child’s status is with their vehicle usage. Make sure your child knows about responsible driving habits, including not driving distracted, not lending the car to friends, and generally abiding by the rules of the road.
Looking to discuss your insurance options? Talk to a Excalibur Insurance Broker at 1-888-298-7343.