What Is a Student Away at School Discount?

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In the library (Photo: @r2dee2 via Twenty20)
You’ve unloaded the final box into their dorm room and just like that, you are empty nesters. Your car insurance policy has your grown-up child still listed as a dependent, even though they aren’t living under the same roof anymore. That doesn’t seem quite right, does it?
Many auto insurance companies have a surprise for you once one of your offspring has gone off to school: a discount! It makes sense since they aren’t going to be driving while they live on campus. It’s known as a Student Away at School discount. Here’s how it works.

How Do You Get a Student Away at School Discount?

Since your adult child won’t be driving your vehicle (or at least driving your car very little) while at school, insurers will reduce how much you have to spend on car insurance premiums. The reason is simple. Young drivers seem to be at higher risk of collisions due to silly mistakes, foolish decisions, and inexperience. With your car at lower risk of insurable damage, you don’t have to pay as much.
The criteria for a Student Away at School discount will vary from one insurance provider to the next. Common criteria include:
  • Your child needs to be a full-time student.
  • They must live at least 100 miles away from home.
  • Your student must not have a car with them at school.
  • They must be 22 years of age or younger.
  • Some insurance companies specify the student must be unmarried too.

Why Keep Your Child on Your Policy?

It would certainly be cheaper to just remove your child from your car insurance policy altogether. However, they won’t be at school forever. When they come home from school, do you want to chauffeur them around because they aren’t insured to drive themselves? And it’s less expensive for you to carry a dependent on your policy than for a student driver to obtain their own car insurance.
By keeping them on your insurance policy, they stay protected even if they drive someone else’s car when they’re at school or rent one to come home for the holidays.

Which Insurers Offer a Student Away at School Discount?

Some variation of a Student Away at School discount is available from most insurance companies. Criteria will vary as well as the discount rate. Here are a few insurance companies that offer Student Away at School discounts.
Travelers Insurance: You can save up to 7% on car insurance with Travelers’ Student Away at School discount. They have to attend school at least 100 miles away from home, although Travelers doesn’t list a maximum age on the website.
Liberty Mutual: Although there are likely more criteria once you begin the application process, Liberty Mutual says you’re “eligible for a discount if your son or daughter is away at school and only occasionally drives your car” with their Student-Away-at-School discount. You’ll need to ask an agent how much you can save.
Nationwide Insurance: One of the best Student Away discount rates is from Nationwide Insurance. You can save as much as 10 percent on car insurance if an unmarried dependent driver attends school and lives more than 100 miles away from your vehicle.
American Family Insurance: American Family offers their Away at School discount to more people as their age qualification is for students under 25 years of age. They have to be at school more than 100 miles away, and they can’t have a car with them.
Progressive Insurance: With Progressive, a Distant Student discount is available for policyholders who have a student on their policy who is 22 years of age or younger, is at school more than 100 miles from home, and doesn’t have a vehicle at school. You need to contact Progressive to find out how much you can save.