Ask the Experts

Hobson’s Choice

My parents said yes. Should I bring a car to school?

Since you are lucky enough to have this choice, we wanted to help you consider the pros and cons. These are intertwined with the university you attend. Visit Purdue University to witness 99% of students have a car.

Parental permission to have a car usually comes with a tacit understanding of the rules. In high school, we all forgot to fill the tank before returning home, and stayed out driving past curfew. At college, there are more rules, including never lend your car to friends. The major concern is drinking and driving. Stats show over 3 million students have driven drunk.

Many colleges do not permit freshmen or students to have cars. Allowing a car, does not mean the university offers a car-friendly campus. The leading complaint is parking. It can be a shorter walk to class from the dorm, than the spot you parked.
You and your parents enjoyed the movie My Cousin Vinny. For many families, permission to have a car does not include driving it across country, says Direct Connect auto shippers. We checked out moving your car by rail. Peace of mind from New York to Miami was around $1,000.

Auto insurance is the real cost of a car at school luxury. Most likely, it is less expensive to list your car on your parents’ auto insurance. There are actually discounts offered to students with good grades. If you attend school out of state, inform your insurance agent. Rates will be higher, plus colleges in an urban area can raise premiums even more. Do not be tempted to misrepresent the facts to your insurer. An accident claim can be denied for this.

You quickly learn a car gives you more choices for dining, shopping and entertaining. This can become a distraction from studying. But it can also enable you to work or intern off-campus. You probably told your parents the latter.

Which air freshener scent do you want in your car?

Dr. Todd Curtis wrote the definitive guide, Parenting and the Internet.