Three grand is a decent amount of money: and is certainly a great deal of money to broke college students. For most college students, an extra three grand a year is the difference between counting out nickels and dimes to pay for ramen noodles and beer or getting to enjoy a $5 cheeseburger every once in awhile. For parents of college students though, three thousand dollars is about the amount of money that they’re failing to put back into their pocket on an annual basis from failing to save money on their auto insurance due to their children in college.

According to Madelyn Flannagan, the vice president of education and research for the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, a study has shown that almost half of all parents ‘forget’ to call their insurance company and report that their child is in college, which costs them about $3,000 on average. This could end up being an extra $3,000 that could help out college students if you want to pass the savings on as a student’s parent… who are undoubtedly going to be dreading getting their own auto insurance as much as they dread mid-terms and a German class at 7AM.

As though those hefty Sallie Mae loans weren’t enough, college students get to look forward to extremely high auto insurance premiums as well when they’re a college student. However, there are a few ways insurance for college students can be a bit easier and also be affordable, it’s just all about applying yourself.

Little boy in his first car driving
Not only for students and their first car: Becoming a good driver is key. Photo by Scott van der Chijs

Become a Good Driver and STAY a Good Driver

One of the biggest things anyone can do to save money on their auto insurance is to not only have a past driving record, but also to keep one. Many insurance companies are now not only offering a ‘safe driver’ discount to reward past driving records, but they’re also introducing things like the ‘diminishing’ or ‘disappearing’ deductible that rewards good driving habits year after year. While there’s no escaping the fact that being a young driver is expensive, by driving carefully, avoiding tickets, and not making unneeded claims, you can quickly find yourself rewarded in more than one way for being a good driver: not only in the monthly amount you pay or the discount you receive off your whole premium, but you’ll be extremely relieved if and when you do have an accident and don’t have to come up with $500 for a deductible: which you probably spent on your food budget last year.

Keep Your Credit in Good Standing

We know, you just wanted the t-shirt when you signed up for that credit card on the first day of school. However, don’t let the credit card companies suck you in with their free t-shirts and balls: forgo the ‘free’ gifts that will ultimately end up costing you tons in interest and fees, as well as in insurance premium. You may not have realized it, but insurance companies factor in your credit score when determining your premium: meaning the lower your credit score, the higher your premium. If you think that just applying for credit cards to get the free t-shirts is harmless, think again: just applying for credit repeatedly can lower your score, so whatever you do, keep your credit in good standing and you’ll see it rewarded in your insurance premium. Since you’re young, the little bit of credit you do have needs to count.

Keep Up Your Grades!

If your parents breathing down your neck isn’t good enough of a reason for you to keep your G.P.A at least around a 3.0, then let the check you write for your auto insurance be reason enough: most insurers offer a good student discount for full time students under the age of 24 who maintain at least a 3.0 G.P.A., sometimes offering up to 15% in savings off your premium. That’s only a B average: it’s definitely doable, and it contributes to

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a good cycle that will help keep your premium low: if you’re in your dorm studying, you won’t be in your car driving, which means you won’t be spending money on gas or other things, which also means you’re less likely to get a ticket or have an accident: even further contributing to a lower premium!

These are just a few of the larger things college students can do to save money on auto insurance, and of course, there are other little things to be done as well: like taking a defensive driving class, choosing a responsible vehicle that is cheap to insure, carrying a high deductible, never driving without insurance, and paying on time or setting up payments to be automatically drafted

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every month from a checking or savings account.

The more money you save on your insurance, whether you’re a parent of a college student or a college student, the more money you can spend on the things that truly matter: your education…and $5 cheeseburgers…and spring break.

Image credits go to Scott & Elaine an der Chijs @ Flickr.