March Gladness: College and university discounts for auto insurance

John Egan
For alumni of colleges and universities across the country, March Madness translates into college basketball hoopla. March Madness also may translate into scoring a discount on your auto insurance.
Some auto insurance companies offer discounts to alumni from certain colleges and universities.
For instance, Esurance (an Allstate subsidiary) gives discounts of up to 15 percent to alumni and students from Pac-12 schools who live in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Consumers who live in two other Pac-12 states, California and Washington, aren't eligible for this discount.
Esurance isn't the only auto insurer that's courting customers with alumni discounts:
  • Liberty Mutual delivers discounts of roughly 10 percent on auto insurance to members of more than 730 college and university alumni associations. The discounts aren't available in every state, though.
  • Nationwide supplies discounts of 3 percent to 10 percent to members of alumni associations at 22 colleges and universities. Those schools include Clemson University, Ohio University and Virginia Commonwealth University.
State Farm, Allstate and Farmers Insurance don't offer alumni discounts. A spokesman for Progressive declined to comment. Representatives of GEICO couldn't be reached for comment.
Alumni discounts may not necessarily be something to cheer about, though.
A July 2011 article in Consumer Reports magazine warned that an alumni discount on auto insurance "is purely hit or miss because personal risk factors can weigh more or less heavily in the rate calculation." Furthermore, the article noted, auto insurers provide subsidies to alumni associations that average 3 percent to 6 percent of premiums but can run as high as 29 percent.
So, the alumni discount isn't a guaranteed slam dunk. Consumer Reports recommends shopping around to make sure your alma mater's deal is the best one available.

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