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Saving on Student Car Insurance

Most college students have very little disposable income to begin with before they even begin to think about addressing expenses such as their auto insurance premiums. Yet the expense of auto insurance is one that nearly all college students have to deal with. If you are under the age of 25, you know the pain of being pooled in a high-risk category simply because of your age. Yet there are still some things you can do as a student driver to help hold down the cost of coverage and make that annual car insurance premium at least a little bit more palatable.

Why Student Insurance Costs More

As a general rule, students (and all young drivers) pay more for car insurance than any other age group. This is because young drivers are classified as the highest-risk group of drivers by auto insurance providers, owing to reams of statistics gathered over many years pointing to high rates of accidents and other infractions. When you get your driver's license, then, you are already facing an uphill climb, working against the historical record which states that statistically, you are likely to be an unsafe driver. Before you ever get behind the wheel, you are already punished for factors beyond your control.

Age and simple lack of experience are the two biggest things working against college students in their search for affordable insurance coverage. There is nothing you can do about either of these factors. Another factor that may cost you on your insurance premium is the accident and theft rate where you live, which are both often high in urban college towns. In a lot of ways, you are at the mercy of auto insurance providers when it comes to the rates you pay for coverage. But fortunately, there are some things every college age driver can do to try and counteract the historical record and its effects on their personal auto insurance premium rates.

Save Money by Adjusting Coverage

The first thing you might want to think about is a money saving strategy that's universally effective at cutting car insurance costs for anyone in any age group. By cutting some of your coverage or making other adjustments, you can bring down the annual premium to one you can manage, taking some of the pain out of your auto insurance bill. One example is simply raising your deductibles. A deductible increase across the board can significantly lower your overall insurance bill without you even having to cut out coverage completely. The only trouble is, a higher deductible means less flexibility to make smaller, non-catastrophic claims on your collision and comprehensive coverage. Your out-of-pocket costs of owning a car may increase, thereby potentially negating your savings. Any deductible increase should be made with this in mind.

Another way to save money by adjusting your insurance coverage is to completely eliminate a part of your insurance policy that you not find to be all that necessary in your particular circumstance. Though this is not true in all cases, certainly many college students drive older cars not worth a whole lot of money. If you drive an old beater and are paying hundreds of dollars a year on collision and comprehensive insurance coverage, you may want to rethink this expenditure. An older car with a very low blue book value generally is not worth insuring in this way. Both collision and comprehensive coverage might be expendable if your budget demands that you make some cuts.

You need to maintain your liability coverage, of course. This part of an insurance policy protects you financially in the event of an at-fault accident. It keeps you from having to personally take responsibility for the financial costs associated with the other driver's medical bills and property loss. What's more, auto liability coverage is legally mandated in almost every state. So you really have little choice but to hang on to your liability insurance. You might also consider holding on to extra endorsements like medical payments coverage, but only after carefully considering the extra cost of coverage versus the protection it provides.

More Savings on Student Policies

Beyond making adjustments and cuts in coverage to save money, there are a few other strategies you can try to get a better deal on your auto coverage. If you feel like your prices have gone up and up with no discernable reason why (if your driving record is good and you've had no accidents), try shopping around for coverage. Take a look at some other providers and see what the market looks like. You may very well find that you are paying too much for the coverage you have, and there may be better deals to be had simply by switching providers.

If you want to stay with your current provider, you'll have to take on the challenge of working within the confines of their pricing standards to make a dent in your premium. One simple way to save and actually add to your stable of insurance is to combine policies. Get your renters insurance from your auto provider, and you will save money on both, probably enough to more than pay for the renters policy.

Another effective cost-cutting strategy involves your work in the classroom. Simply keep your grades up, and you can qualify for good student discounts. Check with your provider regarding specific stipulations on how to qualify. In most cases you need to be unmarried and enrolled full-time, and maintain a certain minimum grade point average to get this discount.

What you do behind the wheel, though, is probably more important than what you do in the classroom, at least in this specific context. Do everything you can to stay accident free and citation free. Drive safely and defensively-and take a defensive driving course for another discount if you can find one. Make it a priority to always be safe behind the wheel. Never drink and drive or display other destructive behaviors behind the wheel.

As a college student, chances are you don't do as much driving as most adults, unless you are a commuter. If you live on campus, consider going without a car during the school year and opting for short-term car insurance coverage while you are at home for the summer. Or alternately, stay on your parents' policy-if doing so can save you money. This strategy actually sometimes costs both parties more money, so run the numbers both ways before making this choice.

More than anything else, you need to work hard to overcome the perception that young drivers before you have created for insurance companies. Keep up with your financial obligations and your credit score; always drive safely and with courtesy; and avoid accidents by driving defensively. If all else fails, maybe you will have to ride a bike for a few years.

But in all likelihood, by applying all your wisdom and intellect to the issue of your auto insurance premium, you can make a difference in the price you pay for coverage. Don't just sit back and wait to turn 25. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to save money on your student car insurance today.



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