Car Insurance for College Drivers: Dos and Don’ts Guide
Driving to college can mean different things to different young people. For some, it can be a style statement. And for some, it may just be a convenient way to travel. Regardless of your motivation for driving your car to college, one thing is certain, your vehicle needs insurance. And the dos and don’ts for college drivers are car insurance that will prove helpful. Read on to know more on this topic.
Car Insurance Dos and Don’ts for College Students
Here’s a detailed section on critical dos and don’ts to follow for a productive car-insurance experience for college students.
What to do about car insurance
Here is a list of what you should do.
Do your research before you buy
Don’t rush to tick the insurance-purchase/renewal task off your list. Do some basic research about the type of car insurance plan that will meet your needs. Also, spend some time researching the insurer you want to buy a plan from. A good option is to go through online reviews.
Buy a wide range of covers
You may be tempted to opt for a low-cost third-party car insurance policy, but it’s best to opt for comprehensive cover for the much-needed broad-spectrum insurance coverage. There is no doubt that a comprehensive plan is superior to a basic third-party plan in terms of coverage and benefits. But in addition, there are some additional covers (add-ons) that can help you with enhanced coverage.
Add-ons add to the premium, so be wise when buying them. Buy only those that will add value to your policy. For example, the Zero Depreciation add-on is a great choice for new and brand new cars (less than five years old) as it eliminates depreciation calculations when settling claims leading to higher pay-outs.
Consider online shopping
Traditionally, insurance is not something that is bought online. Thus, you may be a bit hesitant to buy it through a website as compared to an agent. However, just like you book movie tickets or order food online, you can also buy car insurance online. Just make sure you are buying it from a certified insurance company. This can save you a lot of money.
Clear your doubts
Some car insurance terms can be a bit confusing to understand. If you find yourself lost while going through some features and benefits, clarify them by reading more about them on the insurer’s website or by discussing with the insurer’s customer care executive.
Not related to car insurance
Here is a list of things you should not do.
Don’t blindly opt for a low-cost plan
In pursuit of saving money, you may want to buy the policy with the lowest premium. However, make sure that the policy you are buying does not provide compensation in terms of cover, service and claim settlement. Thus, go for a plan that comes at a low cost and doesn’t compromise on the insurance experience.
Do not claim for minimum damages
Yes, this may sound strange. After all, isn’t that why you buy insurance? Claiming in case of loss? However, suing for lesser damages may be counterproductive. Before filing a claim, get an estimate of repair costs.
Note that you have to bear the cost of deductibles and consumables while settling the repair bill. Also, raising the claim will reset the No Claim Bonus, which is a renewal discount (up to 50%). Thus, you lose more than you gain in raising claims for minor problems. It would be best to handle minor repairs on your own and take advantage of renewal discounts.
Related: These are the top 10 Best car insurance companies in Australia
Do not let the policy expire
Car insurance policies usually come with a policy period of one year. They need to be renewed before the expiration date for continued coverage. An expired policy does not offer any benefits. Thus, driving a car with an expired car insurance policy is as bad as driving a four-wheeler without insurance.
Don’t lend your car to someone without a driving license
If your friend, who does not have a driving license, damages your car, the insurance company will not be liable to cover such cases. If a person is not qualified to drive, it can be a safety hazard to the driver as well as others around.
Car driving dos and don’ts for college students
Here is a short section on dos and don’ts for college students to have a productive car-driving experience.
What to do about driving a car
Here is a list of pointers on what you must do while driving your car.
- Wear a seat belt
- Follow traffic rules like maintaining speed limit
- Keep the documents related to the car handy
- Ensure periodic servicing of your vehicle
- Be aware of other drivers and pedestrians
Not related to car driving
- Here is a list of pointers that you should avoid while driving your car.
- Don’t drink and drive
- Do not drive without valid insurance cover
- Do not use your mobile phone (texting/calling/scrolling) while driving
- Do not engage in illegal activities like car racing
- Do not hit and run
Types of car insurance policies available online
All types of car insurance policies available offline are available online in India. Here is a list of the policy options you can use while insuring your car online.
1) Third-party liability car insurance policy
This is a legally mandated car insurance cover. It is the most basic of car insurance plans and includes personal accident cover. Such plans do not cost much but also do not provide extensive coverage.
2) Comprehensive car insurance policy
Such a plan makes up for the lack of coverage in the liability-only plan above. It comes with liability cover, personal accident cover and on-damage cover (the insured pays to repair the car).
3) Zero depreciation car insurance policy
This policy is a combination of comprehensive cover and zero depreciation add-on. Since zero depreciation add-on is a popular cover, insurance companies often offer policies where this cover is included with comprehensive cover.
4) Comprehensive car insurance policy + selected add-on covers
Here, you can treat the comprehensive cover as the base plan and enhance it with add-ons of your choice. Apart from zero depreciation add-on, some popular add-ons are roadside assistance, invoice protection, engine protect, etc. Choose only what is valuable to you. It is not mandatory to buy them.
The main directions covered in this article are listed below.
- Research and choose a wide range of covers
- Be careful while driving and avoid using your mobile phone while sitting in the driver’s seat
- Do not drive with an expired car insurance policy
- You can insure your car online in minutes
- Choose only the add-on that meets your insurance needs
Dose in regards to car insurance
Keep a clean driving record:
A person’s driving history such as number of violations for speeding, signal jumping, not wearing seat belt etc. can be traced by the insurance company. This is one of the factors that can determine the premium payable towards the policy. A person with a bad driving history may have to pay a much higher premium or be denied a car insurance policy altogether. Hence it is important to ensure that one follows all traffic rules and maintains a good driving record.
Opt for higher deductibles:
Car insurance policyholders are often required to share the claim amount with the insurer. At the outset, the insured and the insurer may come to an agreement on how much each party wants to share in the costs incurred. The deductible percentage chosen by the insurance company will be one of the deciding factors in setting the premium amount. So if one wants to save on premiums, it is beneficial to opt for the high deductible option.
Save an old car to gain experience:
Before buying a new car, college drivers can first get enough driving experience from their parent’s experienced car and then buy a new car. While one tends to fix dents on new cars, one may overlook some dents and scratches on older cars. Additionally, if there is no old car at home, young drivers may consider buying a used car for the same reasons mentioned above. Young drivers, in most cases, are charged more for car insurance policies because they have less experience and are therefore prone to more accidents. So they can also opt for low maintenance cars to reduce costs.
Get higher coverage:
Since college drivers are relatively new to the car driving arena, they should ideally get more coverage to cover expenses incurred on damage, injuries, third-party liability, etc. to their own car and not have any coverage. Financial burden in case of accident.
Evaluate the policy benefits and add-ons:
Before buying a car insurance policy, a potential policy buyer should look into the available coverage options. As mentioned earlier, a comprehensive car insurance policy offers higher coverage, so it is best to go for a comprehensive cover. One should understand the benefits provided under the policy and the conditions under which such benefits are provided. Also, it’s a good idea to add riders to enhance the base plan.
Check the Insurer’s History:
Not all insurance companies offer the same plans and benefits. Even if two identical plans are available from two different insurance companies, one should not blindly choose the cheapest plan but check the performance of the company over the years. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) publishes a report every year. One can take a look at the report to assess the performance of the company based on the tables formulated on various parameters. This will help the policyholder to ensure that his/her claim will be settled without any hassle.
What not to do with regards to car insurance
Don’t buy until fully trained: If a college fresher is keen to drive a car in college, he should learn driving first, preferably from a driving school where driving can be monitored, and then hit the roads. A well-trained driver will be able to drive easily amidst traffic and congestion on city roads without causing any damage to outside property. This way, when the driver buys a new car, he will not face any problem in terms of car insurance being issued at a later time.
Don’t go for fancy cars: High-end cars usually require high maintenance. So, buying a fancy car while being a young and inexperienced driver is not the best idea. A single accident and a few damages can hit the pocket hard. Moreover, car insurance is very expensive for luxury cars and high capacity cars.
Avoid Claims for Small Expenses: Claims for small expenses that can be managed without the help of insurance should be avoided. This is because car insurance policies have a no-claim bonus feature which means if a policyholder does not make any claim in a policy year, he will be given a premium rebate in the following year. So it is wise to save on a good amount of premium, even if it costs a few bucks to do so.
Don’t let the policy slip: A car insurance plan is a necessity and therefore mandated by law. After purchasing a policy, it is important for a person to renew the policy from time to time. While regular car insurance policies are usually for a period of one year, some multi-year policies that require renewal after 2-3 years are also available in the market.
On a final note, college drivers may be excited to commute by car every day but it’s important to remember that safety comes first. Hence it is advisable to keep the above tips in mind, buy a good and affordable car insurance policy and then hit the roads.