Can you believe your baby is already headed off to college or university? It probably feels like you were taking them home from the hospital just yesterday! This is an emotional time and you’re most likely feeling sad, excited and a little scared at the same time. In this article, we’re going over one of the details you probably didn’t think of when it comes to your child heading off to university: how does it affect your auto insurance rates?
Keep reading to learn how your insurance could be affected by your child going to college or university.
How is your car insurance affected?
If you added your child to your car insurance policy when they were in high school, you probably noticed an increase in price. It can be expensive to add a young and inexperienced driver to your policy!
If your child is going off to college or university and will no longer be driving your car on a regular basis, you may be able to list them as an occasional driver instead of a primary driver. If your child is moving to a new city or province to attend school, you may want to remove them from your policy entirely.
It’s a good idea to have a conversation with your insurance broker. You can explain exactly how often you expect your kid to be driving your vehicle. Your broker will advise whether you should keep your kid as a primary driver, change their status to occasional driver, or remove them from your policy altogether.
When speaking to your broker, it’s important to be honest about how often your child drives your vehicle. If your son or daughter takes your vehicle with them to university, don’t try to get away with listing them as an occasional driver. It might be tempting since it is less expensive. However, if your child is involved in an accident, your claim could be denied. It could also result in difficulties getting insurance in the future and higher insurance premiums. Honesty is the best policy!
Why should you keep your child on your car insurance policy?
Even thought it can be more expensive, there are a few reasons to keep your child on your car insurance policy while they’re away at university:
- Keeping your child on your car insurance policy maintains continuous insurance coverage. This can help them out in the future when they get their own car. A longer record of accident-free insurance coverage can help them get lower rates.
- When your child returns home for holidays, they’ll be able to drive your vehicle as often as they like. You’ll have more confidence knowing they’re covered.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to keep your child on your car insurance policy when they attend college or university. Have a conversation as a family and consult with your insurance broker to determine what makes the most sense for you.
Checklist: What to do with your car insurance when your child goes to university
From a car insurance perspective, consider the following when your child goes to college or university:
- Determine how often your child will use your car once they go to post-secondary school.
- Decide if they will be a primary or secondary driver, or whether to remove them entirely from the policy, especially if they are moving to a different city or province to attend school.
- Call your insurance broker to update your policy. It’s important to let your broker know of any major updates. It will only take a few minutes and will ensure you have the best possible coverage for your needs!
What happens if my university student is involved in a minor accident while driving my car?
If your university student is away at school and happens to be involved in a minor accident while driving your car, it can be a concerning and somewhat complex situation to navigate. This scenario raises questions about safety, insurance, legal responsibilities, and vehicle repairs. Understanding the appropriate steps to take is essential to ensure the well-being of your child and the proper handling of the incident. The expert team at BrokerLink has compiled the following comprehensive overview of what to do if your university student finds themselves in such a situation:
The first priority is the safety of everyone involved. Tell your child that if there are any injuries, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately. Even in minor accidents, it’s essential to check for any injuries and make sure everyone is okay.
Contact the authorities
Make sure your child is aware that, in Canada, they are required to report all accidents to the police if the total damage to all vehicles involved appears to be more than $2,000, there are injuries, or there is damage to property other than vehicles. Even in the case of minor accidents, it’s a good practice to report the incident to the police so they can create a report. If your child calls you after a minor accident and they are unable to estimate the damage costs, it’s best to have them report it to authorities just in case.
Tell your child or a passenger to exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This information typically includes names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s licence numbers, vehicle information make, model, year, and license plate numbers, and insurance details.
If it’s safe to do so, have your child or a passenger take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to both vehicles, the positions of the vehicles, and any relevant road signs or conditions. Make sure they send you the photos, as these photos can be valuable for insurance purposes, such as helping to determine fault more easily for Ontario’s no-fault insurance.
Notify your insurance company
Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Even if it’s a minor accident, it’s important to inform your insurer. They will guide you through the claims process, assess the damage, and help you determine the next steps. Your insurance premiums may be affected, but the degree of impact can vary depending on the circumstances and your policy. Learn more about how many car insurance claims you can file per year.
Document the incident
Encourage your child to write down their account of the accident while the details are fresh in their mind. Include information about what happened leading up to the accident, during the accident, and afterward. This written account can also be helpful for insurance claims and any potential legal matters.
Cooperate with authorities
Being involved in a collision is often overwhelming, and it can significantly affect one’s frame of mind, especially for a young driver who may not have been in an accident before. Be sure to remind your child to cooperate fully with law enforcement when they arrive at the scene by following their instructions and providing all necessary information. Also, be sure to obtain the police report and keep a copy for your records.
Call a tow service (if necessary)
If the vehicle is not drivable due to the damage sustained in the accident, you or your child may need to call a towing company to transport the vehicle to a repair shop. Opt for a reputable and licensed service provider. Ask for an estimate of the towing cost, where it’s going and how to retrieve it once repairs are completed, and don’t forget to inquire about any additional fees, such as mileage or storage charges. You may even want to consider adding insurance for towing to your or your child’s auto insurance policy as a precaution. Also, remind your child to remove any personal belongings from the vehicle before it’s towed.
Contact a mechanic about repairs
Once the vehicle has been assessed and moved by a towing company or taken to a repair shop, the next step is to get a repair cost estimate. If you haven’t already selected a repair shop, it’s crucial to choose one with a good reputation and experienced technicians. If you plan to file a car insurance claim for the accident, inform the repair shop of your intentions. They can work with your insurance company’s claims adjuster to ensure the estimate aligns with your coverage. Learn about cancelling an insurance claim if you discover the cost of the repairs from the minor collision will be less than your deductible.
Consider renting a vehicle
Depending on the extent of damage to your car and the estimated repair time, your child may need an alternative means of transportation while the vehicle is in the shop. Renting a vehicle is a common option in such situations. Review your auto insurance policy to see if it includes coverage for a rental car in the event of an accident. If you have rental car coverage, it can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses associated with renting a replacement vehicle.
It’s important to remind your child to stay calm and follow proper procedures after an accident. Encourage them to prioritize safety, exchange information with the other parties involved, and report the incident promptly to both the authorities and your insurance company. Consider reading our blog on how to report a car accident ahead of time with them to help them be more informed.
How much is car insurance for students in Ontario?
If your child is living off-campus, you might be considering whether you should buy a car for your university student to make it easier to commute to school and get around town. If you choose to do so, you may also want them to have their own car insurance policy. This leads to the question of how much student car insurance costs in Ontario. The truth is the cost can vary widely depending on several factors, including the student’s age, driving experience, the type of vehicle they drive, the insurance coverage they choose, and their location within Ontario. Here are some key points to consider:
Young drivers typically face higher car insurance premiums. This is because insurance companies statistically view younger drivers as more likely to be involved in accidents due to their relative lack of driving experience.
Completing a driver’s education program or having a clean driving record can often lead to discounts on insurance premiums. Check out some of our safe driving tips to help you maintain your clean record.
Type of vehicle
The car you drive also plays a significant role in determining your car insurance rates. High-performance or luxury vehicles, as well as those with a high theft rate, tend to result in higher premiums. If you drive a modest, reliable vehicle, your insurance costs will generally be lower.
Ontario requires all drivers to have a minimum level of insurance coverage, including third-party liability coverage. However, you can choose to add additional coverage options like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, or accident benefits coverage. More coverage typically means higher premiums, so you should tailor your coverage to your needs and budget.
Your location within Ontario can affect your car insurance rates. Buying car insurance in Toronto, or any other urban area, tends to have higher premiums due to increased traffic congestion and a higher likelihood of accidents. In contrast, rural areas usually have lower rates because they typically have fewer accidents.
Different insurance companies have their own pricing models and policies for student auto insurance plans. It’s essential to shop around and obtain quotes from multiple insurers to find the best deal. Each company may offer various discounts or incentives, so comparing options can help you save money.
Car insurance companies often offer car insurance discounts for factors such as bundling multiple insurance policies, consider combining auto and home insurance, or two auto insurance policies. Another option is having an anti-theft device installed in your vehicle, and/or maintaining a good driving record. As a student, inquire about discounts specifically designed for young drivers. Your insurance company may offer a good student discount, so maintaining good grades in school may help reduce your student car insurance costs.
Some students may be eligible for group insurance plans through their university or college. These plans may offer lower rates due to the collective bargaining power of a large group of students.
How often and for what purposes you drive your car can impact your student car insurance rates. If you only use your vehicle for occasional commuting or pleasure rather than daily commuting to work or school, you may qualify for lower rates with a low-mileage car insurance discount.
To get the most accurate estimate for your student’s auto insurance policy, it’s crucial to provide complete and accurate information to your auto insurance provider when requesting quotes. Consider working with a BrokerLink insurance broker to help you navigate the complexities of car insurance for college students. An insurance broker can help you discover several ways to save money on car insurance while ensuring you have the best student car insurance policy for your child’s needs.
Contact BrokerLink today for all your insurance needs!
Whatever stage of life you’re in, BrokerLink can help you find the insurance you need. A child starting college or university is a great opportunity to check in with your insurance broker and make sure you have coverage that makes sense.
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Can I remove my child from my auto insurance policy?
Yes! You can modify your insurance plan as necessary. Simply call your broker and they will remove your college or university student from your policy.
What should I do if my student has a bad driving record?
The only thing that can fix a bad driving record is time. Encourage your child to drive as safely as possible so they can build up a good driving record. Accidents happen, but you can encourage them to drive within the speed limit, observe all the rules of the road and drive defensively. You can also encourage your student to drive at off-peak times when it’s less busy and there’s a lower chance of getting in an accident. Driving school is another great option. It will encourage good driving habits and it can reduce your insurance rates.
Will my child going to college or university affect my car insurance negatively?
No, this will not have a negative impact on your car insurance.
If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.