Protect your wheels
Students who leave their cars at home—or those taking them to campus while keeping the car’s permanent address at their parents’—can stay on the family policy. (If you garage it at home while you’re away at school, ERIE will knock up to 25 percent off your premium.) Things change, however, when the car permanently moves with the young adult.
“When you go out on your own, you’ll need to purchase your own policy under the new address and change your driver’s license if you’re moving permanently out of state,” says Dave Freeman, a vice president and manager, Personal Lines Underwriting.
Like all ERIE auto Customers, less experienced drivers enjoy knowing they have additional coverage along with their standard comprehensive coverage at no additional charge or premium.
“Young people are more likely to take advantage of our lockout coverage that pays up to $50 off a locksmith’s fee,” says Freeman. “We’ll also pay for a rental car or a taxi if the car is out of commission due to a covered loss.” (Learn more about these and other built-in extras.)
Freeman adds that drivers should also consider optional coverages such as road service assistance that provides reimbursement for towing, labor or transportation expenses; uninsured or underinsured coverage if the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance or enough of it; your injuries, and medical payments to cover medical or death benefits in the event of an accident.
Tips to keep your car safe
Lower the odds of experiencing any of these unwanted situations by following a few smart pieces of advice. (They’ll also lower your premiums and the chances you’ll have to shell out to cover your deductible—an added bonus since, like most insurers, ERIE doesn’t offer drivers the more inexpensive adult rate until they turn 24*.) * ERIE will use the adult rating at the renewal date following your 24th birthday, while many other insurers don’t offer adult rates until well into your late 20’s.
- Be a conservative driver. You’ll not only keep yourself and other motorists safe, but also give your wallet a boost. “The biggest things that drive up premiums are accidents and tickets,” says Freeman. Obey posted speed limits, observe the rules of the road, and, most importantly, avoid calling or texting while driving.
- Stick to a maintenance schedule. Mom and dad aren’t taking care of things anymore, so show your car some love by maintaining it Check the air filter, automatic transmission fluid level on the dipstick, accessory belts, brake fluid, battery, power-steering fluid and coolant. Also check the windshield wipers and amount of windshield washer fluid, hoses, wiring and the oil level on the dipstick. Also check the tires and keep them properly inflated.
- Guard your key. More often than not, cars get stolen when owners leave keys out in the open or somewhere obvious like under the mat or visor.
- Take extra precautions with used cars. Some—like inexpensive reconstructed title cars that have been rebuilt after being damaged—are unreliable. “For about $50, you can know for sure by having a mechanic look it over before you buy,” says Freeman.
- Keep an extra long distance from—or just avoid—certain vehicles. Rochester Agent Rhett Van Scoter says he sees a lot of windshield damage that results from debris escaping from landscaping and dump trucks. His solution: pull over and let them pass.
- Hide the high-value stuff. Van Scoter says most thefts occur when items like GPS devices, computers and iPods are left out in plain view of passers-by. Reduce temptation by putting them in a bag or storing them in your trunk.
On another note, if you think parking in a bustling area lowers your risk of theft, think again: “A smash-and-go theft takes less than 30 seconds, and most thefts occur in parking lots with a lot of foot traffic,” says Van Scoter.