Heading Back to College? 3 Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance

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  • Many college students are on a tight budget.
  • There are steps you can take to lower your auto insurance costs without skimping on coverage.
  • You may qualify for various discounts, such as for getting good grades or being a safe driver.

It pays to do what you can to trim your costs.

If you're heading back to college, you may be gearing up for a host of expenses, from supplies to books to bedding and furniture for your dorm room or apartment. But if you have your own car, there's another expense you might have to think about -- auto insurance.

Of course, many college students live on a tight budget, and if you're one of them, it means you can't afford to spend any more money than you have to in the course of insuring your vehicle. Here are a few ways to trim your costs -- and reap some nice savings.

1. See if you qualify for a good driver discount

College students often get hit with costly auto insurance premium rates because their lack of driving experience makes them a higher risk in the eyes of insurance companies. But if you've been driving for a few years already (which is possible if you got your license at a young age) and you have a clean driving record, it pays to see if you're eligible for a good driver discount. Many insurance companies offer this benefit to incentivize drivers to be careful when out on the road.

2. See if you qualify for a good student discount

Doing well academically could benefit you in many ways as a college student. For one thing, if you maintain a strong grade point average, you might qualify for scholarships that reduce your tuition costs. But getting good grades could also help you lower your auto insurance premium costs. Many insurance companies reward students with solid academic records by giving them discounts, so it pays to see if yours does the same. And if not, it could be time to switch insurers.

3. Get a discount for leaving your car at home

The less you actually use your car, the less it might cost to insure it. And so if you're going off to college and aren't taking your car with you (say, because campus parking is a nightmare or because you're a freshman and you can't bring a car to campus until your sophomore year), then it's a good idea to let your car insurance company know. You may be eligible for a sizable discount if your car will mostly be sitting parked in your parents' driveway during the school year.

Don't pay more than you have to

College students commonly bear a host of expenses, and even if you're holding down a job during your studies, your bills might still pile up. As such, it pays to do what you can to eke out savings on every bill you're responsible for -- including car insurance. And that means seeking out discounts at every opportunity.

In addition to these specific moves, it always pays to shop around for auto insurance once your policy is up for renewal. You never know when one company might offer up a better rate than another, so it's worth spending a little time to do that research and see where it leads you.

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