Back to school season is rapidly approaching, and many teens are going away to spend their first year at college. Many schools do allow students to bring a vehicle with them their freshman year, but parents may not know what to expect. Here are five things that every parent should check before sending their children off the college.
Check for Adequate Insurance
Depending on whether or not the car is new or used, having automotive insurance is the law in every state. However, it is important to make sure the vehicle is accurately insured based on the risk.
College campuses are loaded with cars. Some schools have excellent parking spot parking, while others require incoming freshmen to park on the street. There are some very good teenage drivers out there, but for many it is their first time away from home, and with the stresses and distractions of school, friends, and life, they may become absent-minded when behind the wheel. College parking lots are cesspools of dings, dents, and scratches. Because of this, the likelihood of having a claim is higher when a child is off at school. Some parents may want to look at lowering their deductible for a claim to limit the out-of-pocket financial burden when an accident occurs.
Since every freshman may not have a car, many students carpool to classes, grocery stores, and events. If an accident were to occur, it is likely that more than just the driver would be injured. It is important to make sure that the child carries enough injury insurance to cover potential occupants as well. Be sure to talk to an insurance agent to make sure the student is covered properly.
Perform Scheduled Maintenance (Even If Not Scheduled)
Students are extremely busy, and will not likely have the time to take their vehicle to the shop to have an oil change performed. Completing that maintenance before the semester starts ensures that the maintenance is completed, as well as provides an opportunity for a mechanic to look over the rest of the vehicle to make sure there are not any reliability or safety issues.
Purchase a GPS Unit
There will be a point where the student may want to go visit a friend, attend an off-campus event, or follow the school’s sports team out-of-town. Maybe the student is just horrible with directions. Regardless, a powerful GPS system is an inexpensive way to insure that the student does not get lost. They might already have a smartphone with mapping built in, but a GPS is a must-have purchase if not.
Determine if a Parking Pass is Necessary or Recommended
Some schools have free parking, and others require the purchase of a parking pass. While sometimes expensive, a parking pass will allow the student to park at optimal parking in a safe area, instead of trying to find a spot on the street. There is nothing worse than coming out of class and realizing that the car was towed.
Educate Student About Vehicle Crime
Breaking in to a vehicle is often a crime of opportunity, especially on a college campus. Many students will leave a laptop computer, iPhone, or other valuable device in the vehicle and in plain sight. Often these parking lots are massive and police coverage is minimal, making it very easy to commit the crime and not be caught. Reinforce the importance of trying to park in a visible area and to remove all valuables from the vehicle, no matter how inconvenient it may be.
Some of these things are pretty straight-forward or already done, but it is a good time to look them over again to make sure the automobile is the least of a student’s (and parent’s) worry while away at school.