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Compare cheap car insurance for college students

Find coverage you can afford when you’re in college.

Updated

Car insurance providers typically treat college students like any young driver, charging higher rates to cover the cost of potential risk that comes with inexperience. The good news is that you can take measures to bring those costs down.

How much is car insurance for a college student?

Car insurance rates vary based on your age, location, car and other factors. For example, college students in California pay an average of $1,314 for liability-only car insurance.

Car insurance rates for college students

CompanyCheapest annual rate
Mercury$665
USAA$750
Progressive$969
Esurance$1,097
Capital$1,189
Grange$1,371
AAA$1,389
Geico$1,559
Kemper$1,763
Liberty Mutual$1,766
Average$1,252

Students can save with: Metromile

Pay only for the miles you drive, plus enjoy app services you won’t find everywhere like claims and car health updates.

  • Start with low rates at $29/month, plus pennies per mile
  • Mileage over 250 in a day is free
  • Intuitive app that helps with claims, ID cards and car health updates
  • 24/7 customer support for help around the clock

5 ways college students can save on car insurance

You can’t magically age yourself out of the college student demographic. And it’s not a good idea to lie on your application.

So how can you play your cards right, stay honest and still get the best car insurance rate? Start by following these five tips:

  1. Partner with your parents. A top way to save is by staying on your parents’ car insurance for as long as possible. You can establish an insurance history until it’s time to get your own policy, and your rates are more affordable in the meantime.
  2. Keep up your grades. If you’re able to keep your GPA at 3.0 or better, your insurer might reward you with a good student discount.
  3. Drive less frequently. The fewer miles you drive annually, the lower your rates could be. Consolidate grocery trips and other errands when possible, and carpool with others offering to drive. You can even try telematics insurance that bases your rates on how well and how much you drive.
  4. Drive safely. A spotless driving record nearly always gets you more favorable insurance rates. But even if you’ve had accidents or tickets, completing safe driving courses might bring your rates down, and may even remove points from your driving record.
  5. Shop around. By taking the time to compare providers and policies, you can find the best rates you’re eligible for.

What discounts can college students get?

DiscountAverage savingsHow you could qualify for this discount
Safe driver15%Drive without getting in an accident or making a claim
Good grades10-35%Get at least a B average every semester
Low mileage20-50%Your car is on campus or parked most of the time
Defensive driver10-20%Pass a driver safety course
Secure car5-25%Your car has an anti-theft device that makes it harder to steal
Safety device5-33%Drive a car with antilock brakes, airbags, etc.
Online quote5%Get a quote or sign up online

Is leaving my car back home worth the discount?

The short answer: probably not. While you could save upward of 80% on your car insurance while away at school, the car would have to be parked and unused the entire time you’re away. And you’d have to rely on public transit at school, which is difficult in most US cities.

Not only is this impractical — for instance, a parent or sibling could make use of the car — but it’s also hard on a vehicle to park it for months at a time without driving it, even if it’s in a climate-controlled garage or storage facility.

What about temporary insurance?

If you’re a college student who’s only planning to drive three or four months out of the year, there’s a chance temporary insurance is the right choice for you. You could save over the cost of a traditional 6 month or annual policy by only getting temporary coverage during the periods when you’re home and would be driving your vehicle.

Temporary insurance can usually be bought for the length of time you need it, but isn’t always available from standard providers. You can also save by letting a parent or sibling take over the vehicle and its insurance costs while you’re away at school.

Ask an expert: What’s the best way for students to save on car insurance?

Signature Insurance

Zaid Zato

Signature Insurance agent

You don’t have to take a part-time job to afford car insurance; there are actually many ways for students to cut costs. Ask your parents if you can add them as another driver to your vehicle. Many car insurance companies offer bulk deals on multiple drivers.

Taking a defensive driving course in your free time will also slash high costs because insurance companies will see you as a safe and competent driver. Other things to consider are to drive smaller cars, improve your credit rating or search for companies that offer pay-as-you-go insurance.

Compare car insurance for college students

As with any age, to get the best car insurance as a college student, you’ll need to compare quotes.

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
Clearcover
Optional
Yes
AZ, CA, IL, LA, OH, TX, UT and WI
Get instant online support and score a low rate thanks to online data that sets premiums automatically.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
Optional
Yes
All 50 states & DC
Drivers over age 50 can enjoy low rates and perks designed for mature drivers, plus freebies and AARP member perks like free replacement cost coverage.
Allstate
13%
All 50 states
Your dedicated agent can help you find the best savings with multiple discounts and rewards programs.
EverQuote
EverQuote
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Roll in a variety of car insurance quotes from top insurers despite a high-risk driving profile, and view possible discounts while you’re at it.
Esurance
40%
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Take advantage of this online company's low base rates and mobile tools like app-based telematics and teen safe driver programs.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What factors besides age affect my car insurance rates?

While age and driving experience definitely play a part, plenty of other factors can affect your rate.

  • Your driving experience. Young drivers are considered riskier customers, and are statistically involved in more accidents than experienced drivers. To cover this perceived risk, insurers nearly always apply higher premiums to drivers who are 25 or younger.
  • Your credit score. Only California, Hawaii and Massachusetts prohibit insurance companies from using your credit score to assess your risk. Providing yet another reason you may want to start building your credit score in college.
  • Where you live. Rural drivers typically pay less for their car insurance than urban drivers. City driving comes with a higher risk of vandalism, theft and crashes. Climate can also play into how a provider assesses your rates — so consider the potential for natural disasters and inclimate weather where you’re driving.
  • Your driving record. The longer you go without an accident, the better your rates can be. If you have any recent accidents or tickets, consider a defensive driving course. Depending on your provider, completing a class might bring your rate down by as much as 10%.
  • The vehicle you drive. Generally, the car you drive affects how much you’ll pay for car insurance. Older cars, convertibles, high-performance vehicles and luxury cars are among those you might pay more for.
  • Your job. If you end up working at your college, you could qualify for a discount of up to 15%. If you’re on your parent’s insurance, their occupation benefit could trickle down to you as well.

Bottom line

Older drivers usually get better car insurance rates than college students, teenagers and other potentially inexperienced drivers. But you can make your car insurance more affordable with good grades, by driving less frequently or staying on your parents’ car insurance for as long as possible.

To find the best rates you’re eligible for, weigh your needs and priorities against what’s offered by all the different car insurance providers out there.

Get the cheapest quotes

Compare car insurance companies near you.

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