What College Students Should Know About Car Insurance
Car insurance occupies an interesting position in the world of owning your own automobile. In many ways, it’s the dark horse of the whole area. For one thing, it’s one of the single most important aspects of actually owning and driving a car, but too often its importance is lost in the flood of information about licenses, down payments, leases, and lessons. This is tricky enough for working adults to negotiate even with years of experience, but when it comes to people who are just starting out on fully-fledged financial lives, the difficulty is still greater. College students are the perfect example of this latter kind of situation.
Of course, Google exists as an ever-ready resource for anybody who wants to know anything about anything, practically, but Google too has its own issues. For one thing, there’s a colossal amount of information available on the Internet. While this won’t be news to anybody, the sheer scale of what the Internet has to offer can be surprising to even the most battle-hardened of researchers. College students will, of course, already have a ton of Googling experience, but even so they may find it difficult to encounter exactly the right information they need with regards to car insurance.
With every single article claiming to have the final word on what students need to know when it comes to car insurance, it can be incredibly tricky to navigate between those which have the right information and those which don’t. That’s why we here at autoloans.ca have decided to come up with a complete beginner’s guide to car insurance for college students. However, we’re going to do something a little differently from the multiple other articles that are already out there.
Rather than claim that we’re including absolutely everything you need to know, we’re going to structure this guide as a platform; a jumping-off point, which will cover everything necessary briefly rather than a few aspects of the problem in great depth. In doing so, the idea is that by the end of the article any college student will have a well-rounded picture of the car insurance world. This way, they’ll be able to facilitate their own research into the area, and will wind up with an idea of which specific areas will prove most difficult for their own particular situation. After all, the only person who knows your financial situation sufficiently well is you.
Because there’s so much to consider when it comes to arranging car insurance as a student, we’ll be splitting the bulk of the information up under a few main headings. This way, you’ll be able to either a) scan the article for the stuff that’s most important to you, or b) read the piece the entire way through, depending on which method suits you the best. No matter which way you read it, by the end you’ll have a solid grounding in the car insurance world as it relates to college students — and hopefully you’ll have a little fun along the way.
Here it is: our guide to what college students need to know when it comes to car insurance.
The Different Kinds of Coverage Available
As with any insurance policy, there’s a multitude of choices when it comes to the kind of coverage you can sign yourself up for with a car insurance plan. Needs vary hugely among the numerous kinds of people who make use of a car, so it’s difficult to prescribe any one-size-fits-all solution to a college student’s car insurance needs. However, it’s always a good idea to have a general overview of what the market looks like — so here are some of the main coverage limits you’ll need to understand in order to get yourself a sufficiently robust car insurance package as a college student.
Perhaps the most basic of all the different ways you can get yourself covered is when it comes to actual collisions that may happen. Ideally, of course, you’ll never be in a collision, but that’s not really the attitude you need to adopt when you’re thinking about getting car insurance. The whole point is to protect you against any future eventualities, so even though the odds are that you won’t ever be in a collision, at least you’ll be able to rest easy in the knowledge that no matter what happens, you’ll be prepared.
Collision coverage protects you against any physical damage or wear and tear that may occur to your car as a result of some kind of collision. This extends to crashes that involve another car or object, as well as simple scenarios like driving into a tree or safety barrier. With collision coverage, no matter what happens you’ll be taken care of. Because it’s such a catch-all plan, collision coverage will most likely be included in any car insurance package you’re able to secure for yourself.
Also known as protection against personal injury, medical coverage goes slightly further than collision coverage in that it’s designed to account for any medical bills which may be incurred as a result of an accident or collision. Medical coverage will generally extend to covering expenses for any passengers in your car as well as yourself, although it’s well worth your time checking the small print in order to make sure this is the case. Moreover, this kind of coverage will apply irrespective of whose fault the accident actually was.
The types of expenses accounted for by medical coverage are typically spread across three broad categories. The first of these is general medical insurance, which will help to offset the financial cost of any kind of trip to the doctor or hospital. Next up, there’s dental coverage. This is an important distinction to make, because often dental and medical issues are considered separately by car insurance companies, so it’s vital to know that you’re covered on both of these fronts. Lastly — and this is a real worst-case scenario option, obviously — are funeral costs in case anybody dies. This doesn’t bear thinking about, and in truth, you don’t really need to think about it. Just know that it’s there in case you ever need it.
Uninsured Driver Coverage
This is another crucially important kind of coverage you’ll want to make sure is present in your car insurance plan as a college student. The gist of it is that it takes account of any incidents you may have with people who don’t have their own car insurance. At the end of the day, even though you’re taking the right steps to ensure that you’re properly insured (you are reading this article, after all), not everybody is as diligent. The bleak reality is that there are uninsured drivers out there on the road, even though it’s not recommended and is often illegal.
There are two main shapes uninsured motorist coverage will take. The first is by protecting you if you’re in an accident that wasn’t your fault, and the offending motorist has insurance but not enough to cover all of your damages. Think of it as a fail-safe kind of coverage, designed to reduce the negative impact for all parties concerned. The second main type of situation that uninsured driver coverage protects you from is if you’re in an accident with somebody who doesn’t have any car insurance at all. A hit-and-run scenario is an unfortunately common way for this sort of thing to take place. As ever, when it comes to car insurance, you’re best of protecting yourself from all possible future scenarios, even those that are a little unpleasant to think about or wildly improbable.
All-In Comprehensive Coverage
The final kind of coverage we’ll be talking about is probably the most extensive of the lot, and while it doesn’t fall into any of the above categories it could nonetheless play a role in them in a few different ways. The main thing you need to understand, though, is that it accounts for non-collision related issues. Comprehensive coverage is a way to protect yourself against absolutely every other kind of damage that could occur to you or your automobile, but despite the name it doesn’t account for collision issues — so make sure you don’t just see ‘comprehensive’ on the car insurance policy and sign right away without checking for collision coverage as well.
As to what other kinds of damage might occur to you or your car, the list is practically endless. From vandalism to glass breaking, from fires going off in the engine to unforeseen weather events, there are tons of ways your car could suffer some negative consequences. While most of these will probably never happen to you throughout your entire life as an automobile owner, it’s important to know that you’re covered just in case anything does happen. Wild animals are also accounted for in comprehensive coverage, which (as anybody living in Canada’s wild North will be able to tell you) is a nice touch to have included, just in case.
The other main thing you need to know about negotiating car insurance as a college student is whether or not you’re entitled to any cost-cutting measures. For example, as well as early signing discounts and student discounts (each of which should be immediately applicable to you, assuming you get your ducks in a row early enough and don’t put the project on the back burner for too long), there are a number of different ways you can cut the cost of your insurance policy.
In some cases there are discounts available for college students who get good grades, so keeping that transcript clean and tidy will pay dividends in the long run. Additional discounts that exist include discounts for being a safe driver, discounts for allowing your car’s data metrics to be tracked (for research purposes), and discounts for paying the amount due on your policy in full and on time.
There’s simply no reason you should be paying full price if you can avoid it — as a college student looking for reliable car insurance, you need every last cent you can spare in order to keep the Ramen Noodle fund prepared for any emergencies. More specific information about what kinds of discounts are available can be provided by your insurance company themselves. It’s in their interest to make the deal as appealing to you as possible, because they want your business.
Even though the topic of getting yourself and your car insured as a college student can at times seem a little overwhelming, in truth there’s nothing too complicated about it. As long as you have a good idea of which kinds of coverage you’ll need (as well as the limitations of those kinds of coverage, which aren’t always as intuitive as we might like them to be) and a solid grasp of the discounts that are available to you, you’ll be able to walk into any car insurance company full of confidence without any risk of getting a bad deal.
For a lot of college students, credit isn’t something they’ve had to deal with before. In fact, many students have no credit score whatsoever. This can obviously present a few difficulties when it comes to trying to secure a car loan for yourself. If you’ve been struggling to get approval for a car loan because of a poor or absent credit score, why not get in touch with us here at autoloans.ca? Our experienced team would be more than happy to talk through your options with you — it’s what we do, after all.