Auto Insurance for Out-of-State College Students

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

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The Rundown

  • Out-of-state college students don’t have to change their insurance, registration, or license unless they become permanent residents
  • Staying on a parent’s insurance policy saves money and avoids changes
  • Out-of-state students may qualify for extra car insurance discounts to lower rates

If you’re an out-of-state college student, you may wonder if you need to make any changes to your car insurance. Fortunately, you only have to make changes if you use your college address as your permanent address.

For example, if you only stay at school for classes, you can leave your address as your parents’. However, if you live there year-round, you’ll need to change your driver’s license, registration, and car insurance.

As long as a parent is listed as an owner of your vehicle, you can stay on their insurance and leave your address the same. Keep reading to learn more about car insurance for out-of-state college students and when you need to make changes.

Do out-of-state college students need to get a new driver’s license?

You only need a new driver’s license if you change your permanent address. So, if you keep your permanent address as your parent’s address, there’s no need to get a new driver’s license.

However, if you move out permanently, you’ll need to change your driver’s license to your new state. Each state decides how long you have to update your driver’s license and charges fines if you don’t make the update within the allotted time.

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Do out-of-state students need to register their car in the new state?

Again, it depends on your permanent address. If you don’t change your address, you can leave your vehicle registered in your state. However, your registration must match your driver’s license, so your car should be registered in the state with your driver’s license.

If your car is registered in your parent’s name, there’s no need to change the address when you move to college. 

Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name? Although it’s always mandatory, having your car insurance and your registration in the same name helps speed up insurance claims. 

Do out-of-state college students need to change their car insurance policy?

The answer also depends on your permanent address. Typically, you don’t need to change your car insurance even if you move out of state if you haven’t changed your license and registration.

However, you do need to let the car insurance company know where the car will be most of the time. Since your rates partially depend on the ZIP code where you will park the car, your rates may go up when you take your vehicle to college if crime rates are high in the area.

As a college student, you’ll want to use your permanent address where your car is registered for auto insurance quotes. Additionally, stay on your parent’s car insurance policy if possible. For young drivers, car insurance rates are very high, but staying on your parents’ insurance typically gets lower rates.

This table shows average car insurance rates for young drivers from top insurance companies.

Not only will your rates be lower by not getting your own policy, but you’ll also be eligible for more car insurance discounts. For example, if you’re not taking a car to college with you, a distant student discount may be available.

Be sure to check with your car insurance company when moving out of state for college. It can help you decide if you need to change your driver’s license, registration, and insurance.

Out-of-State College Students: The Bottom Line

When you move out of state for college, you don’t have to change your license, registration, and insurance if you keep your home address. Additionally, if your parents are listed as owners of your car, the address doesn’t need to change. 

However, your license, registration, and insurance address need to match. So, if you change your driver’s license state and your car is in your name, you’ll need to change your registration and insurance.

Also, you need to let your insurance company know your situation. Since you will park your car in a different location, your rates may change.

Contact your car insurance company to determine if your address, registration, and insurance should change. If you have to change your insurance, shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal in your new state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a new driver’s license if I move out of state for college?

No, as long as your permanent address is the same as before, you don’t need to update your driver’s license. However, if you become a resident of your new state, you’ll need to update your license.

Can college students stay on their parent’s car insurance policy?

Yes, you can stay on your parent’s insurance policy while in college. Most car insurance companies allow you to stay on your parent’s insurance policy until age 25.


However, if you move out permanently, you’ll need to get your own car insurance policy.

Can my parents insure my car if it’s in my name?

No. Typically, only the owner of a car can insure it. However, if the vehicle is in your name and a parent is also listed as an owner, it can be insured by either of you. Staying on a parent’s car insurance policy saves money since you’ll get much lower rates.

As a college student, do I use my home address or college address for auto insurance quotes?

You’ll use your permanent address where the car is registered. However, car insurance rates are very high for young drivers, so staying on a parent’s policy will typically lead to lower rates.

Asked January 21, 2013 by Meggan McCain

1 Answer

The answer to this question is very straightforward. It does not matter whether your attend college in the same state or across the country. It doesn't even matter whether your mailing address is listed in the location of the college. The only question which needs to be answered is what the registration for the vehicle says.

Insurance companies look at the zip code where a vehicle is registered to determine the risks of insuring it. To do this, they use the zip code shown on the registration, which should always match your primary residence. Even if you are away at college, your home is usually going to be your primary residence.

If you change your primary residence to your address at college, then your car insurance will need to be changed as well. As a rule, your primary address is where your car is parked at night and most likely where all of your bills and other official correspondence are sent. In fact, state laws require you to change your driver license if you are going to reside in a new location for any extended period of time. This requirement applies to college students, but there is a way to avoid changing your insurance.

To circumvent having to change your insurance because of college, register your car in your parent or guardian's name, and use their address as the zip code for your car insurance. This will allow you to receive mail at college without paying the cost of car insurance in the new location. In general the risk of accidents is higher in the area around a college, based on the statistics that younger people are more likely to be involved in accidents, and there are more young adults in a college area.

Another benefit of the car being registered by a parent is that car insurance quotes are lower for someone over 25, so if you haven't reached 25 yet you will be able to pay much lower rates by being listed as driver on the policy rather than as the actual policy owner. The drawback to this is that you would have to give up legal ownership of the vehicle, at least until you graduate from college. Learn about other ways to get cheap car insurance quotes.

Answered January 21, 2013 by Anonymous

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