Finding the cheapest car insurance for college students doesn’t have to be as hard as your linguistics course.

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When you have loads of schoolwork to cram into your evening and early morning hours, you might not have the time to think about car insurance. However, just shopping around a little can let you know if you have the best option. While there isn’t one perfect car insurance plan for college students, a few providers do have the best discounts. And if you’re on your parents’ plan, you’ll want to make sure that they are getting the best discount available, too.

Our recommended providers of car insurance for college students all scored highly in our car insurance market research. To be ranked near the top, these companies had great financial ratings, customer service reputations, coverage options, and discounts.

 

In this article:

Car Insurance For College Students: What Do You Need?

If you drive a car, you need decent coverage that will give you enough protection in the event of an accident. And if you’re a college student, it’s no different.

If you aren’t bringing your car to school, you might consider staying on your parents’ policy. They could get a big discount when you leave your car behind, and hopefully, they would pass those savings onto you. But whether you have your own policy or not, you’ll want to have full coverage to protect yourself from financial catastrophes.

When searching for car insurance for college students, here’s what the basic insurance options look like:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: This covers medical bills for other drivers and their passengers in accidents you cause. It is available in per person and per accident limits.
  • Property Damage Liability: This covers repair costs for other vehicles in accidents you cause. Liability coverages are grouped together on insurance quotes. Coverage of 25/50/25 would give you $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
  • Collision: This pays for repairs to your car after an accident, no matter who was at fault. 
  • Comprehensive: This pays to repair your car after other events like falling branches or floods.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This covers you and your car if someone without enough insurance hits your car.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay)/Personal Injury Protection (PIP): MedPay covers your medical bills after an accident, no matter who was at fault. PIP also covers your medical bills plus lost wages and death benefits.
  • Gap Insurance: This covers the difference between your car’s value and what you have left to pay on the loan.

Your state will have minimum car insurance requirements, but it’s usually a good idea to go beyond that. Also, no state requires collision or comprehensive insurance. That means, with the minimum insurance, you’ll have to pay for your own repairs if you cause an accident.

Comparison Of Best Car Insurance For College Students

  Affordability Good Student Discount Student Away at School Discount J.D. Power Claims Rating (Out of 1,000) J.D. Power Shopping Rating (Out of 1,000)

State Farm

4.0

25%

Varies

878

847

Auto-Owners

4.0

20%

Varies

870

883

Geico

4.0

15%

N/A

879

848

The Hartford

4.0

15%

N/A

873

846

AAA

4.0

14%

Up to 46.7%

866

867

Esurance

3.5

10%

N/A

844

867

Allstate

3.0

7% 

Up to 35%

853

841

 
 

*J.D. Power data is from the 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and 2019 Insurance Shopping Study.

Are There Benefits To Staying On Your Parents’ Policy?

If you got your driver’s license during high school, it was probably natural to join your parents’ insurance policy. There are a few benefits to staying on your parents’ insurance policy after you move off to school, as well.

First of all, your premium will be much cheaper. When you’re a driver on their policy, your driving record gets added in with theirs, and that drives down your premium. You can also establish your insurance history. If you have the choice of selling your car and discontinuing your insurance or staying on your parents’ policy through college, try to stay on their policy.

Unlike health insurance, there isn’t a set age when you’ll get kicked off of your parents’ car insurance. However, you can get the boot if you establish your own financial independence, get a DUI, get into too many accidents, or get married.

On rare occasions, you might want to get off your parents’ car insurance as soon as you can. This would be the case if your parents had a very bad driving record or if they had very expensive car insurance for one reason or another. You can always shop around and get quotes for yourself to get an idea of what’s available.

Best Discounts On Car Insurance For College Students

You can get discounts as a college student whether you purchase your own policy or stay on your parents’ plan. Here are a few types of discounts on car insurance for college students:

  • Discounts based on your grades
  • Discounts based on your driving record
  • Discounts based on how you drive now (usage)
  • Discounts based on the car you drive

Of course, good student discounts are really the only ones that are exclusive to students. However, as a college student, you can also qualify for other discounts like the ones mentioned above.

State Farm and Auto-Owners offer the best discounts on car insurance for college students. Their good student discounts are 25 and 20 percent, respectively. However, that doesn’t mean those companies offer the cheapest car insurance for college students. Everyone’s situation is different, and you and your family might find better rates through another car insurance company, even with a smaller discount.

Speaking of family, your parents can also get car insurance discounts if you move away for college and don’t take your car. AAA and Allstate both offer good student away discounts. AAA offers 46.7 percent off, and Allstate offers 35 percent off. Typically, you need to be more than 100 miles away at school for your parents to get this discount.

Best Student Discount: State Farm

If you’re shopping for your own car insurance as a college student, you can’t go wrong with State Farm. Having insurance as a young person will be more expensive than later in life, but like we mentioned above, State Farm eases the burden by providing a good student discount of 25 percent to anyone under 25.

Even if you graduate before you turn 25, you can still keep the discount until that age. With State Farm, there’s another discount available for people under 25, too. The company’s educational Steer Clear app allows young drivers to improve their skills on the road. You can team up with a mentor and log driving hours, complete courses in the app, and receive a certification. At the end of the program, you get another insurance discount.

On top of that, you can save with the Good Driver discount and the DriveSense discount. To qualify as a good driver, you need to have had a license for at least three years and have one point or less on your driving record. DriveSense is State Farm’s app that tracks your driving. If you’re a good driver, you could save even more on your policy. The nice thing about this app is that it can’t raise your rates.

With all the available discounts for young people and good drivers, we think State Farm should be at the top of your list of car insurance for college students. Plus, it has great financial ratings and a reputation for fast and easy claims.

Most Popular Car Insurer in the U.S.

★★★★★

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Our 4th pick: Most popular auto insurance company that services over 83 million policies.

 

When Your Student Is Away At School: AAA

If you didn’t already know, you can get car insurance through AAA – and it’s not half bad. AAA car insurance is made up of a group of companies across the United States. Members of the group have high financial ratings and above-average ratings from J.D. Power.

Discounts can vary by AAA association, but some offer discounts if you keep your student on your policy while they are away at school. As a parent, you can save up to 46.7 percent on your auto policy if your student isn’t bringing their car to college.

It’s a good idea to keep your student on your policy even if they don’t have a car with them at school. If you remove them, the break in coverage can be viewed negatively by insurance companies later on. Fortunately, AAA makes this an easy decision, since the company’s student away discount is much better than that of any other provider we researched.

Most Trusted Brand

★★★★★

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Our 5th favorite provider: Offers a variety of discounts and is made up of regional auto groups.

 

Try Pay-Per-Mile Insurance If You Don’t Drive Much

Another option for car insurance for college students is pay-per-mile insurance. With companies like Metromile, you pay a base rate per month plus a few cents per mile. This could be a great option if you want to have your own insurance but you leave your car parked at home when you’re away at school. You would only have to pay the base rate for the months when you don’t drive.

Metromile’s base rate starts at $29, though you’ll pay more than that as a college student. However, even if your base rate was $100, that could still be cheaper than insuring yourself through another company.

Do Rideshare Drivers Need Extra Insurance?

You might not realize it, but you’re technically a small business owner when you work for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft. You are your own business, and your rideshare company contracts you to perform certain tasks.

Because of this, your standard car insurance won’t give you all the coverage you need. In your search for car insurance for college students, you might have noticed that companies offer commercial car insurance, too. Driving for a rideshare company is a commercial activity, just like delivering pizzas from Domino’s. You aren’t driving strangers around just for fun, after all. (If you are, we need to have a different conversation.)

For example, let’s look at Uber’s driver-partner insurance policy. Here are the facts:

  • Uber requires its drivers to maintain minimum coverage that satisfies their state’s financial responsibility laws.
  • While waiting for a ride request, Uber provides 50/100/25 liability coverage if your coverage is below that amount.
  • After accepting a request and during a trip, Uber boosts liability limits to $1,000,000. It also adds uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage. (Uber adds comprehensive/collision if you have them.)

When you signed up for car insurance, you were probably asked if you use your car for pleasure, for commuting, or for commercial activities. That’s an important question. If you said you use it for commuting, your insurance won’t cover you when you log onto the rideshare app. Your provider could also cancel your policy if you hadn’t said you use your car for work, but the provider found out that you do.

Adding rideshare coverage really only adds a few dollars to your bill per month, but it can save you from driving as an uninsured motorist.

Don’t Be Afraid To Switch Providers

Chances are, the cheapest car insurance for you as a freshman is your parents’ policy. However, that might not be the case when you’re a junior or a senior. Average car insurance rates drop throughout your early twenties, so you might find a great quote for car insurance for college students with another company before you graduate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is car insurance cheaper if you are a student?

Yes, car insurance is usually cheaper if you’re a student – but you have to be a good student. If you aren’t a student, or if you have bad grades, you can’t qualify for good student discounts.

How much is car insurance for a 20-year-old?

A 20-year-old driver can expect to pay about $3,000 on average per year for car insurance. However, every situation is unique, and you might find a higher or lower price.

Can I take my college student off my car insurance?

Yes, you can, but it will still be seen as a break in coverage for your college student. When they buy insurance later on, their rates will be higher.

What GPA do you need for a good student discount?

To get a good student discount, you usually need to have a B average (3.0 or higher). Some companies may vary the student discount according to your GPA.