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Top 6 Tips for Choosing the Right Vehicle for your College Bound Child

Published Jul 25th 2007, 3:19pm by Patty Streeter in Featured Articles

Jenny_trotsel_small by Jenny Trostel
About 4 weeks from now, my oldest son will begin his freshman year at college.  Luckily for me, the college does not allow incoming students to have a car on campus for the freshman and sophomore years.  Often I am asked about making the right decision about sending your college bound child to college with a car, so I thought I would give you a few of my recommendations.  Having a car on campus can be a blessing or a burden.  Making the right decision about the purchase can make all the difference.

My advice is generally based on a few simple questions:

1.    Where will your child be going to school?  If the campus is in a remote area, will it be easy to have the vehicle repaired if there is a problem.  If the car is an import car and the nearest repair facility is 100 hundred miles away, this can be an expensive problem. Choose a car that car be easily maintained at a reputable facility near campus. Contact the local Better Business Bureau for a recommendation. 
Dv2051005 2.    Has your child ever taken the car in for service?  Do they know what questions to ask the service advisor?  As parents, many times we make arrangements to have the vehicle serviced and take it to the service facility without having our child tag along.  Your child should be comfortable with the interaction with the service facility and know how to explain a problem when the car needs servicing.
3.    Can your child change a tire and check all the fluid levels?  Basic car knowledge is a must for an away from home child.  Anyone who is driving a car should know how to change a tire.  There are still many areas of the country where there is no cell phone service.  Ask your service facility to show your child how to change a tire and check all the fluids.

4.    Where will your child park the car? When you visited the campus, was there parking in a convenient location for the vehicle.  Is there a cost for a parking permit?
5.    Will the insurance costs increase if your child has the vehicle on campus?  The cost to insure a vehicle in a city or another state can be much higher than what you are paying now.  Contact your insurance company about insurance on a vehicle that will be located in another area.
6.    Does your child know what to do in case of an accident?  Your insurance company may be able to provide you with an accident check list.  The list will help your child get all the right information when an accident occurs.  Don’t let the other party that is involved coerce your child into not reporting an accident.  This can be a real problem, and young people are often easily intimidated because they are upset that the accident happened.  Make sure they get a police report.

Since my son will have limited access to a vehicle, I will be able to contact my insurance company to inform of his college status and ask that they make a notation on the insurance policy which will reduce that expense by as much as 20 percent per year.  Contact your insurance company to determine if you qualify for the discount.  It may pay for a book or two!

Jenny Trostel grew up in Delaware. She graduated from Claymont High School and Goldey Beacom College with a B.A. in Accounting. When she was learning to drive, her father said “if you are going to drive them, you need to know how to fix them.” Jenny spent a summer working on cars and working in the family business. After college, Jenny worked in banking for many years.
In May, 1999, Jenny opened Hunt Valley Saab with 2 business partners. In October, 2004, Jenny purchased the ownership from her 2 partners with the help of General Motors’ Women’s Retail Initiative and Motors Holding. In March 2006, the business changed its name to Saab of Baltimore. Jenny is the Principal Owner of Saab of Baltimore.
Jenny Trostel is married and has two sons.

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