College Students: Avoid these rookie mistakes


Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s even worse when the mistakes are preventable. AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends parents make sure their college-bound teens are on the same page when it comes to them forging new lives at school and on their own.

“College is an exhilarating experience, but it can be a little overwhelming, too,” says Nick Eppinger, senior vice president of insurance sales for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA Mid-Atlantic encourages parents to help their students avoid some common and potentially costly mistakes – or at least know how to handle them – before they leave home.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic urges parents to communicate with their teens to avoid four common mistakes many college students make:

Letting someone borrow your car: Unlike a AAA membership, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. If your teen loans his car to a friend or roommate and there’s a crash, the crash will go against whoever owns the vehicle – which is usually Mom and Dad. That could make for higher premiums, possibly a totaled vehicle and overall bad feelings.

Not getting renter’s insurance: By the time teens leave home, many have amassed a collection of expensive technology, entertainment equipment and other valuable items that should be insured. A renter’s insurance policy generally costs about $150 a year and can cover items in dorm rooms, apartments, and in cars should they get stolen. Renter’s policies are per person, not per dwelling, so each student needs his own policy. Even if a student is covered by their parents’ homeowner insurance, making a claim on a renter’s policy will be much less expensive for everyone in the long run.

Ignoring auto upkeep: While today’s cars last longer, it’s important to take care of oil changes, tire rotations and other maintenance issues. Change the wiper blades once a year and make sure there’s enough tread on your tires— at least 2/32nds of an inch. Follow the owner’s manual’s recommendations to help keep your ride smooth. Students should know when these basic services are necessary to prevent costly repairs that arise as a result of a poorly maintained vehicle.

Not having a roadside emergency provider: Whether they’re the driver or passenger, it’s crucial for students to be prepared in the event of a breakdown or other roadside emergency, as they might not be able to call home for help. Even if teens do not take a car with them to college, they can still benefit from a AAA membership, as the membership follows the member in any vehicle they are driving or riding in. Ensuring teens have a roadside provider, such as AAA, will give their parents peace of mind at home. Students who are AAA members can download the free AAA Mobile app to summon roadside assistance, find discounts, and manage their insurance policies.

AAA Mid-Atlantic advocates on behalf of its nearly four million members in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. For more information, please visit our web site at