Hamilton, NJ – Many colleges in New Jersey will begin classes during the last week of August, sending new undergrads toward exciting experiences away from home. AAA Mid-Atlantic wants to help parents and their college-bound teens avoid making some common and potentially costly mistakes before the semester starts.

“College is an exhilarating experience, but it can be a little overwhelming, too,” says Nick Eppinger, senior vice president, insurance for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “For many young adults, this is the first time they will be in charge of themselves, their property and their vehicles, on their own.”

AAA urges parents to communicate with their teens to avoid three common mistakes many college students make:

  1. 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.
  1. 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. Data from the FBI shows that in 2012, 88,444 crimes were reported to college and university campus police. Of those crimes, 96.8 percent were property crimes. A renter’s insurance policy generally costs about $150 a year and can cover items in dorm rooms, apartments, and 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 Mom and Dad’s homeowner insurance, making a claim on a renter’s policy will be much less expensive for everyone in the long run.
  1. 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.

AAA Mid-Atlantic Insurance Agency is a go-to source for insurance information. To learn more, visit AAA.com/insurance or call 866-AAA-4YOU.