Best Car Insurance for College Students of 2022

How to Get Car Insurance For College Students

It can be challenging for college students to find the car insurance policy they need, since younger drivers have higher rates. However, you will want to shop around and compare all of the plans you come across. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by choosing the right insurance policy.

Usually, keeping a college student on their parent’s policy can save money, when compared to purchasing their own plan. The most significant downside is if the college student is in an accident, as it would raise the family’s rates.

If you are a college student looking for car insurance or the parent of a student thinking about buying them an individual plan, these are the steps you need to take.

  • Determine how much coverage you need
  • Get many car insurance quotes and compare them
  • Visit websites that rank insurance companies
  • Thoroughly read the insurance policy documents before signing
  • Set up your payments

How Much Car Insurance Do You Need?

This is a tough question and it can vary from person to person. To complicate matters, some states require a base-line level of insurance for any policy (don’t worry, the companies in the list above will all comply with local insurance laws so you don’t have to worry about it).

If you’re looking to get the cheapest policy possible, you can buy an insurance policy that is only liability. This means it only covers you for injuries and damages you cause to others, but it won’t help pay for damage to your car. Typically, most experts recommend having at least $50,000 per person in liability coverage.

You can then add in collision or comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage will cover your vehicle for damages suffered in a collision. Comprehensive adds even more coverage, such as if your vehicle is stolen. Given that this insurance will cover more, it will also make it more expensive.

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Best for discounts: State Farm

Get a Quote State Farm offers all of its customers access to a long list of auto insurance discounts, but some of its best ones are reserved for student drivers.

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Average six-month premium: $3,985 ValuePenguin rating: 3.5/5 J.D. Power rating: 3/5 AM Best financial strength rating: A++ Read our full State Farm review

State Farm’s good-student discount offers up to 25% in annual auto insurance savings to eligible college students. The eligibility requirements vary by state, but typically the driver must be a full-time student and have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (out of 4.0). Fortunately, the discount lasts until drivers turn 25 years old, even if they graduate from college before then.

State Farm’s student away-at-school discount is great for college students who live on a campus where a car isn’t necessary. It offers savings to drivers who live more than 100 miles from home and keep their car at home. To be eligible for the discount, college students may only drive their car while they’re home on vacation or during a holiday.

State Farm’s Steer Clear program offers all drivers under the age of 25 the opportunity to save money on their auto insurance. The program allows drivers to review and improve their driving skills through educational materials and by self-logging significant events that occur during their trips. If no violations or accidents occur during their trips, then they become eligible for a discount.

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Average Car Insurance Rates by Age and Gender

Many things can affect the insurance rates a driver pays. For instance, gender and age are two factors that have a significant impact on cost. Even though college students pay less for monthly car insurance premiums than high schoolers of the same age, analysis of car insurance rates by age shows all young drivers pay more on average, regardless of schooling.

Except for states that prohibit the practice (California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, to name a few), male college students will pay more on average than their female classmates of the same age for car insurance premiums. Insurance companies generally see male drivers as more likely to file claims.

How College Students Can Get A Discount On Car Insurance

One of the hardest parts about comparing car insurance options is all the discounts that are available to drivers. These discounts can turn an expensive policy into the cheapest, and so it’s important to make sure you get every discount you’re eligible for.

There are three main buckets to break discounts down into:

Vehicle Discounts

Vehicle discounts are savings you get for driving a car that has specific features. For example, our recommended company Liberty Mutual offers the following vehicle discounts: 

Best Providers to Consider for Car Insurance for College Students

The best car insurance provider for you may be different from the best car insurance company for someone else. That said, these five companies usually offer solid car insurance policies worth considering.

Allstate

Allstate may be an option worth considering depending on its prices where you live. The company offers several discount opportunities to help reduce the cost of adding a college student to your car insurance policy.

In particular, your student may qualify for a good grades discount, a driver education discount for completing Allstate’s teenSMART program and a discount for attending school more than 100 miles away from where the car is garaged. Allstate also offers its Drivewise analytics program to track driving and may offer discounts for safe drivers.

Geico

Geico is another well-known auto insurance company worth considering if its rates are attractive for your area. It offers students plenty of discount opportunities, including good student discounts for students with grades that average B or better; good driver discounts if you have had no accidents within the last five years; organization discounts such as fraternity, sorority and honor society; and even university discounts.

Progressive

Progressive may be another car insurance provider you want to get a quote from for your college student. The company offers a good student discount for full-time students with a B grade average or better. 

It also offers distant college student discounts and even usage-based insurance in most states. You can test-drive Progressive’s usage-based program before signing up for insurance with its Snapshot Road Test to see what your rates could be without switching first.

State Farm

State Farm, the largest auto insurance provider in the United States, is a company you should investigate when looking to insure your family and college student. The company offers a long list of discounts students could qualify for, including an accident-free discount, a defensive driving course discount, a good student discount, a good driving discount, a driver training discount, a student away at school discount, vehicle-based discounts and loyalty-based discounts.

USAA

USAA is a unique insurer, as only USAA members qualify for its car insurance product. To be a member, you must be a U.S. military member, veteran or precommissioned officer or a spouse or child of a qualifying member.

If you qualify for membership, USAA often provides competitive rates and outstanding customer service. It even allows young drivers the ability to earn driver training, good student, safe driving and multivehicle discounts.

Tips for Cheaper Car Insurance

There are still ways to get cheaper car insurance, even if you choose not to shop with the auto insurance companies listed above.

Shop Around for Car Insurance

Regardless of age, shopping around for car insurance can often be one of the most effective ways to save money. Each auto insurance company offers different discounts and weighs certain factors differently, making it more important to review multiple quotes before selecting an insurance provider. Free online quote-comparison tools like Insurify can make it easy.

Remain on Your Parents’ Policy

In most cases, it’s much cheaper for parents to add their student driver – whether in high school or college – to their pre-existing auto insurance policy than to get them their own car insurance.

Drive an Older, Safer Car

While it might be tempting to roll up to your college dorm in a flashy car, it’s cheaper to go for practicality. Students who drive older cars will be happy to pay less on repairs, and cars with enhanced safety features usually mean lower car insurance premiums.

Select a High-Deductible Plan

Lessen costs before getting yourself into a tricky situation. With a high-deductible plan, you pay a lower premium each month, but more when an accident does happen.

Keep a Clean Driving Record

Regardless of age or whether you’re a student, keeping a clean driving record always has benefits. Staying free of collisions and claims means paying less on a monthly car insurance premium.

Maintain a Good Credit Score

Drivers in college might be too young to accumulate credit. Parents can help their children by showing them the importance of paying their student loans and credit card bills on time, as well as leading by example and teaching them financial literacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Is The Average Car Insurance for College Students?

Car insurance rates typically are based on several factors, including the driver’s age, driving history, credit score, and geographic location. Insurance rates can change drastically based on the specifics of the vehicle you’re insuring and the coverage amounts you select.

Because of those factors, car insurance costs fluctuate from customer to customer. However, costs can be considerably higher for new drivers and college-age individuals.

What Does Car Insurance Cover?

While there always are some exceptions to the rule, most car insurance policies will cover the following:

  • Damage to your car and other vehicles involved in an accident with you, which falls under property liability and collision coverage
  • Injuries to yourself or others involved in an accident with you, which falls under bodily injury liability and personal injury protection
  • Theft and other damages to your vehicle that happen when parked or not moving, which falls under comprehensive coverage
  • The current value of your vehicle in the event of a total loss

Some of the listed coverages are optional in some states, so it’s important to have a thorough knowledge of your coverage selections when enrolling in an auto insurance policy. Furthermore, it’s important to know that car insurance does not cover repairs, vehicle maintenance, vehicle interiors, and after-market and nonstandard parts unless specified in the policy.

Do College Students Need Car Insurance?

Pretty much anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle at any time is required to carry car insurance, as all but two states require some form of it. Even if a student only plans to drive a family vehicle when home from college on break, that student needs to be on a car insurance policy.

Some colleges and universities do not permit freshman students to park a car in campus parking lots. Check your school's policy ahead of time.

Do College Students Get Discounts on Car Insurance?

Although exact discounts vary among car insurance providers, many companies do offer discounts that specifically apply to college students. A popular one is a discount for being a good student, which provides a rate reduction for students who maintain a certain grade point average. Furthermore, some car insurance companies offer discounts for college students who attend college away from home and drive a family vehicle only occasionally.

Can College Students Stay on Their Parents’ Insurance?

In some cases, college students can remain on a car insurance policy with their parents. This can save significant amounts of money, but families need to make sure their situations meet the eligibility requirements.

If a student is living at home and driving a car that’s titled to a parent, then they can typically stay on their parents' car insurance policy. This often applies to students who stay in a dorm during the school year or attend school out of state. However, if the name on the vehicle’s title is that of the student and their primary address is not the same as their parents’ primary residence, many car insurance companies will not allow students to remain on a family policy. Always check with the company you use before assuming anything about your policy and what is or is not allowed.

Verdict

Although car insurance for college students can cost a pretty penny, there are ways to save money on it. While we highly recommend the six insurance providers on this list, drivers always should compare rates before selecting a car insurance provider.

What Does Car Insurance Cover?

Personal car insurance is designed to cover personal driving (such as commuting, running errands, and road trips) for you and other people listed on your policy. It also covers someone else driving your car with your permission. But using your car for a commercial purpose, like ridesharing or on-demand deliveries, violates your contract. If you don’t have a rideshare endorsement or a commercial policy, insurers may cancel your insurance. 

Mandatory car insurance coverages vary by state, but almost all states require car owners to meet minimum limits for bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Many states may also require you to carry medical payments coverage, also called "personal injury protection" (PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage. 

Whatever coverage isn’t mandated by your state is considered optional, so it’s not included in your policy unless you choose to add it. Most car insurance companies offer vehicle damage coverages like optional collision, comprehensive, and glass coverage. Other optional offerings like roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and personal belonging replacement vary by insurer.

1. College students may be able to stay on a parent’s policy

One way to keep your auto insurance rates down is to stay on a parent’s policy. This may be possible even if you go to school out of state — as long one of your parents is listed on the title of the car you drive. But if you have your own car and you’re the only person listed on the title, you’ll probably have to get a separate policy, which typically costs more.

If you plan to live at home while attending college, you may be able to stay on a parent’s policy if you don’t own the vehicle you’ll be driving. But if you’ll be living on campus or renting an apartment during the school year, check with your insurance company to find out if you need to buy your own coverage.

Even if you’re not taking a car to college, it’s generally a good idea to stay on a parent’s insurance policy so that you’re covered if you ever need to drive at home for breaks. Your parent might even get a discount on their policy if you plan to keep your car at home while you’re away at school — as long as that parent owns the car. Remaining on a parent’s auto policy can also help you avoid coverage lapses, which can drive up your rates when you buy your own insurance policy down the road.

Compare Providers

 Insurance Company Why We Picked It  GEICO Best Overall State Farm Best Student Discounts Progressive Best Cheap Car Insurance Root Best for Good Drivers

Other insurance college students may need

In addition to having the right types and amounts of car insurance, college students may want to consider purchasing the following coverage types to help protect their family’s finances.

  • Renters insurance: Your college student may or may not be covered under your home or renter’s insurance policy, so you may want to check with your insurance agent. This insurance could help pay to repair or replace damaged or stolen items, or pay out if a guest is injured in your child’s space. It could also provide funds for living expenses if a student’s off-campus apartment or rental home becomes uninhabitable while repairs are made after a covered loss.
  • Life insurance: If you co-signed student loans, you may want to have your college student covered by life insurance to cover those loans if they pass away. One option is a term life insurance policy, which is usually inexpensive and only stays in effect for a certain number of years. If you want to purchase a life insurance policy for your adult child, you will need their consent.

Best mobile apps: Allstate

Get a Quote College students are often on the move and need an insurer with robust mobile apps. Allstate offers drivers two: Allstate Mobile and QuickTrip.

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Average six-month premium: $5,234 ValuePenguin editor’s rating: 3/5 J.D. Power rating: 3/5 AM Best financial strength rating: A+ Read our full Allstate review

Allstate Mobile allows users to access their plan information, manage claims and instantly connect to an insurance agent. You can file a claim right from the app, which we consider the best part. This saves you from long phone calls during what is usually a stressful time.

Allstate’s QuickTrip app is a trip optimizer, which saves time and mileage. Drivers can enter as many locations as they wish to visit, and the app will find the optimal multistop route for the day. This is a great extra perk for college students, especially those with tight schedules.

While Allstate offers great mobile apps, it also has an extensive network of agents, which are available to answer your questions in person. This can be a huge benefit for college students who may be unfamiliar with the nuances of their auto insurance policies.

College students should be mindful, however, that Allstate’s policies are typically among the most expensive among major insurers. As a result, student drivers should carefully consider how they prioritize balancing service quality and cost.

Allstate has approximately 12,000 exclusive agencies spread across the country, meaning there’s likely one located near you. Ultimately, Allstate offers a great mobile experience and doesn’t skimp on in-person support.

3. College students may be able to get discounts on car insurance

Although some factors that affect rates — such as your age — are out of your control, there are things you can do to reduce your cost. Many companies offer a variety of car insurance discounts you may be able to take advantage of. Here are some examples, though these can vary by insurance provider and state.

  • Resident student discount — If you’re going away to school but plan to keep your car at home and remain on a parent’s policy, your parent may be able to get a discount since you won’t be driving much.
  • Good-student discount — If you hit the books and maintain a certain GPA (this can vary by insurance company), you could qualify for a good-grade discount.
  • Multiple policy discount — Insurance companies often offer discounts to people who purchase more than one policy, such as an auto policy and renters insurance.
  • Anti-theft device discount — If you take extra steps to protect your car from being stolen, like installing a car alarm, you may qualify for a reduced rate.
  • Driver training discount — If you’re under 21 and take a course in safe driving or driver education, you may qualify for a discount.
  • Organization member discount — Some car insurance companies offer discounts to members of certain fraternities, sororities, honor societies or other student organizations.

Be sure to ask any insurance companies you’re considering about discounts they might offer, such as those listed above or any other relevant discounts. For example, Erie Insurance offers a youthful-driver discount to unmarried students under age 21 who live with their parents. If you’re going to school in state and don’t plan to live on campus, it may be worth checking out.

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