Sending Kids to College: A Crash Course

Offers tips for undergrads leaving home, living on their own


Phoenix, Aug. 7, 2012. As the school year approaches, many families are preparing new undergrads for life away from home. AAA recognizes that this can be an overwhelming venture for families, and wants to help parents prepare teens before they drive off to the dorms.

“Going away to college comes with responsibilities beyond the classroom,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “For many young adults, this is the first time they must take care of themselves, their property and cars on their own. Therefore, AAA wants to help parents ensure their teens know how to do these things.”

Before sending off your co-ed, AAA encourages families to address three areas that teens will need to manage away from home:


Protecting home and property

With laptops, cell phones, media devices and other personal effects, today’s college student can easily have more than $10,000 worth of property in his dorm room or apartment. AAA Insurance experts recommend investing in a renter’s insurance policy to safeguard students’ property:

  •  A renter’s policy protects property and provides liability coverage. The property owner will have insurance that covers the dwelling itself.
  • Renter’s policies are relatively inexpensive, starting from the low $100 range for an annual policy. Some housing may require tenants to have proof of a renter’s policy before allowing the tenant to move in.
  • Students whose parents’ address is their primary residence may be covered under their parents’ homeowner’s policy. However, a renter’s policy can help avoid the need to place a claim on homeowner’s policies. Also, a homeowner’s policy typically has higher deductibles, resulting in lower claim payments.

Maintaining a vehicle

Teens’ vehicles often are maintained by someone else while they are living at home. Therefore, a review of basic maintenance can help newly independent students preserve their vehicle and avoid expensive repair bills:

  • Ensure your teen knows how to check tire pressure, how to inflate tires to their proper levels, how to inspect tread depth, and identify other abnormalities that signal a need for tire replacement.
  • Review the owner’s manual and show teens where the recommended maintenance schedule is outlined in the book. Explain the importance of preventative maintenance and ensure they understand how to track the maintenance schedule on their car.
  • Find an honest and reliable auto repair shop near your teen’s school, such as a AAA Owned or Approved Auto Repair facility. If possible, visit the shop and introducing your teen so they are comfortable coming to them with a repair or emergency.

Preparing for roadside emergencies

It’s crucial for teens to be prepared in the event of a breakdown or other roadside emergency, as they may not be able to call mom or dad for help. Ensuring teens have a roadside provider, such as AAA, will provide parents with peace of mind and teens with benefits including:

  • Reliable emergency roadside service that follows them, regardless of who they are driving or riding with. Services include towing, mobile battery jump or replacement, tire changes and lockout service. Unlike other providers, members do not have to pay for services and receive reimbursement later – they are included with membership.
  •  Discounts at more than 160,000 locations around the world. On average, members save more than $100 a year, which can help students on a tight college budget.

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AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.