Summer Car Insurance Tips for Students

By Victoria Robertson on June 25, 2021

This article is brought to you by GradGuard. We protect college students and their families from the financial risks of college life, like providing a refund for tuition or replacing a stolen backpack when your school may not. When the unexpected happens, GradGuard’s tuition insurance and renters insurance can help you get back on track.

Students that go away to school and utilize public transportation to get around typically don’t have a car on campus for cost reasons. More often than not, these students don’t require car insurance during the school year.

That said, when these students return home for the summer, they may have a car (family or personal) waiting back at home for them to get around. If you fall into this category, you may need to look into a policy update to ensure you’re covered, but only while you’re back home, as you don’t want to spend any more money than you need to.  For that reason, here are a few summer car insurance tips to keep in mind!

Photo Via Pixabay

1. If You Don’t Return Home Often or for a Long Time

Some students spend a majority of the year, summer included, on the college campus, whether that be for summer school, work or internships. Whatever the reason, if you’re on campus a majority of the time and only return home sparingly, i.e. for occasional weekends, you don’t need to have your own car insurance policy.

When using a family member or friend’s car when you return home, you would fall under the “guest” category, as you rarely, if ever, drive their vehicle.

2. If You’re Borrowing a Family Car Over the Summer

That said, if you’re a student that will be returning home over the full summer, you will probably need an insurance policy. That said, you won’t need your own insurance policy, so long as it’s a family member’s car that you’re using.

Basically, whoever owns the car is the one that’s responsible for the insurance. Still, you will likely need to be added as an occasional driver, which means you would pay a lower cost since you only occasionally drive the vehicle.

3. If You Live Close and Borrow a Family Car Every Time You Return Home

With all of that said, there are stipulations to the occasional driver category. For instance, if you’re only returning for the summer, you’d drive less than 25% of the time. However, if you live close to campus, insurance companies will assume you return on weekends, in which case you’d go over that 25% threshold.

For this reason, if you are using a family member’s car every time you return home (so if you live within 100 miles of campus), you would simply need to be added to that person’s insurance policy as a full-time driver.

4. You are a Car Owner, but Only Use it While Back Home

So what if you own a car, but don’t take it on campus with you? The bottom line is that, as a car owner, you need to be insured. That said, if you’re only returning home over the summer, you can update your policy to pay less on a monthly basis when your car is sitting in the garage.

Basically, if your car is sitting in the garage and you aren’t driving it, you shouldn’t be paying as much as if you drive it to work every day.

5. You are a Car Owner that Lives in a Different State

While the same rules apply for out-of-state students that leave their cars at home, it’s important to note that out-of-state policies can differ slightly, so if your primary address is an out-of-state location, note that your insurance requirements may change.

If you’re leaving your car at home with family members, it’s in your best interest to insure that car to the family member’s address, rather than your out-of-state one to avoid any of those legal hoops.

6. You are a Car Owner that Lives in a Different State and Brings the Car with You

While the same rules apply for out-of-state students that leave their cars at home, it’s important to note that, when you bring your car out of state with you, insurance rules change.

You need to be insured under the state that you live in. So, if you’re living in a new state with your car, that’s the state your car needs to be insured under. Make sure you are looking into all legal hoops that you’ll need to jump through, especially if you’re driving the car back and forth between states. Just do your research and you’ll be fine!

Just because car insurance isn’t necessary when you’re away at school isn’t to say it’s not necessary when you return home. Especially if you plan on driving around quite a bit, adding yourself to a family member’s policy, or taking out a short-term policy of your own, is in your best interest.

Make sure you utilize these tips to ensure you’re not spending more money than you need to be, but that you’re also fully covered until you return back to school for the next semester.

It’s no secret that college costs a lot of money. Make sure your investment in higher education is protected with GradGuard. Our affordable tuition insurance and renters insurance plans are specifically designed for college students. Customizable plans make it easy to protect your tuition, room and board, laptop, bike, and so much more.

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