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Car insurance for students can be expensive, especially if you’re on a high school or college budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a budget-friendly auto policy with coverage that meets your needs.
Use this guide to find the best and most affordable car insurance companies for students. We’ll also provide money-saving insurance tips and answer common questions you might have about managing your auto insurance.
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Car Insurance for Students: What You Need to Know
Getting car insurance for high school students is pretty straightforward, but it can get complicated when you go off to college. Where you go to college and whether you take a car with you can affect your car insurance. Knowing how it affects your coverage and budget can help you make the best decision for your finances.
How does car insurance work when you go off to college?
How car insurance works when you go off to college depends on a few factors:
- Who the car is titled to
- If you’re taking a car with you to college
- Whether you’re living on campus
- Where the vehicle will be when not in use
If the car is in your parents’ name, stays with them, and you keep your primary residence at their home, your insurance can stay the same.
But if you’re taking the car with you, let your insurance company know where the vehicle will be parked to make sure you’re covered if you have to file a claim while at school.
Many colleges have several transportation options, like buses, bikes, and car-sharing companies, so taking a car with you might not be necessary. Discuss your options with your parents and insurance agent to find the best solution.
Should you stay on your parents’ car insurance policy?
“Most students are eligible to stay on their parents’ car insurance policy if they go to another state for college” as long as they keep their parents’ address as their primary residence, says Rhett Stubbendeck, CEO of LeverageRx. Staying on your parents’ policy might be the cheapest option if you’re not taking a car and it’s not in your name.
But every state has different insurance rules, so it’s best to speak with your insurance company to determine your best option. You might have to get your own policy if you’re moving out of state and the car is in your name (but it would have to be registered in that state, as well). It can’t hurt to get a quote for a separate policy; it might be cheaper.
Find affordable auto insurance as a college student
What should you do if you go to school in another state?
If you’re not taking your car to school in another state and it’s staying with your parents, your auto insurance doesn’t have to change. In fact, if your college is 100 miles or more away from your home, your parents might even get a discount on their policy. Plus, you’re still covered to drive it when you’re home.
But if you take the car to another state, you might have to get insurance in that state. It depends on who owns the vehicle, what state you’re moving to, and your insurance company.
The Best Car Insurance Companies for Students
There isn’t one company that offers the best car insurance for students. The right option for you depends on how often you drive, what discounts you’re eligible for, and whether you’re a high school or college student.
Below are a few insurance companies to consider for the best auto insurance for students.
Best for high school students: American Family
American Family offers the cheapest average rates for 18-year-old drivers, at $312 per month. It also has the most discounts available for high school students, including its app-based Teen Safe Driver program. Students can save 10% on car insurance after driving 3,000 miles or being in the program for a year.
American Family has excellent auto claims satisfaction, earning 874 out of 1,000 points in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. It also regularly earns above-average ratings in several regions nationwide.
- Multiple available discounts for students
- Homeschool students eligible for good student discount
- Diminishing deductible and accident forgiveness available
- Not available nationwide
- Discount savings vary by state
- Must download the app to participate in the Teen Safe Driver program
Best for college students: Allstate
Stubbendeck recommends Allstate as the best car insurance company for college students. Their smart student discount offers up to 25% savings if you qualify for the good student discount, attend school at least 100 miles away and don’t take a car, or complete the teenSMART driver education program.
You can also save on student rates with the Milewise program if the car isn’t driven much while you’re away at school. Allstate scored higher than American Family in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, earning 889 out of 1,000 points.
- Available nationwide
- Multiple ways to save
- Highly rated for claims satisfaction
- App has only average reviews (3.9 stars) on Google Play
- Might not have the cheapest rates
- Scores below average in several regions for overall auto insurance satisfaction
Best for student discounts: State Farm
State Farm offers some of the best student discounts on car insurance. Drivers can save up to 25% with the good student discount, and you’re eligible until you’re 25. Students can also qualify for the student away-at-school discount and save up to 30% with the Drive Safe & Save mobile app.
State Farm offers the Steer Clear program as well, which can save you up to 15% on your car insurance if you have a clean driving record and complete the program. The insurer falls between Allstate and American Family in J.D. Power’s 2022 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study and scores above average in all regions except California in the 2022 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
- Multiple high-value discount savings available for students
- Available in all states and Washington, D.C.
- Highly rated for customer satisfaction
- Might not be the cheapest option for students
- Above-average NAIC complaint index
- Only available through local agents
Best for students who don’t drive much: Metromile
Metromile might be the best option for cheap insurance for students who don’t bring their car to college. This insurance company charges a flat monthly fee of $29 and then a per-mile rate for each mile driven. The fewer miles you drive per month, the more you’ll save on auto insurance.
Since Metromile insurance is app-based, it offers other features, like vehicle maintenance reports and locating your parked car. You can also get coverage add-ons, like towing, roadside assistance, and glass repairs with no deductible.
- Rates based on miles driven
- Useful app features
- Optional coverages available to customize your policy
- Only available in eight states
- Not rated by J.D. Power
- Only discount option is a multi-car discount
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The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Students in 2023
Although young drivers can be expensive to insure, some companies offer cheap insurance for students. Comparing quotes from different companies can help you find the best coverage for the cheapest price.
We found these insurance providers offer the cheapest rates for student drivers, so start with quotes from these companies first.
|Avgerage Monthly Premium
|American Family Insurance
Our data analysis shows the most affordable car insurance companies for students are American Family, Erie, Travelers, State Farm, and Nationwide. They might be the cheaper options because of available discounts, coverage options, and student-driver program offerings. These average monthly rates are for drivers under 25.
The Top 5 Ways Students Can Save Money on Their Car Insurance
Why pay more for auto insurance as a student when you don’t have to? Here are our top five tips to save money on your car insurance.
Take advantage of discounts
Student discounts on car insurance are usually the best way to keep rates low. Most insurance companies let you stack them together to get even more savings.
When shopping for car insurance or talking to your agent about your best options for student car insurance, don’t forget to ask about all the discounts you might qualify for, like:
- Good student discount
- Student away at school discount (if your car stays at home)
- Low-mileage discount
- Driver education program discount
- Good driver discount
- Student organization, college, or university discounts
Stay on your parents’ policy, if possible
If the car you drive isn’t in your name, you can usually stay on your parents’ insurance. It’s generally cheaper to remain on your parent’s policy instead of getting your own.
If your campus is walkable, you have other transportation available, or you don’t need a car, waiting to get your own vehicle and insurance plan until you graduate from college might make sense.
Consider an older or less-expensive car while at school
The make and model of your vehicle affect your insurance costs. You can save on insurance by getting an older or less-expensive car while you’re at school. Older cars might only need liability-only insurance, which offers even more savings.
Consider getting a vehicle with modern safety features if you’re taking it to school with you. You’ll be eligible for the safety feature discount, and it will lower your risk of injury if you’re in an accident.
Look into usage-based programs
You could save on your car insurance if you don’t drive much and regularly practice safe driving behaviors.
Most insurance companies now offer usage-based telematics programs, which set rates based on the miles you drive, your driving habits, or both. You should also qualify for a safe driving discount with improved driving habits. You may even be eligible for accident forgiveness, which means your rates won’t increase as much or at all if you’re in an at-fault accident.
Go to class for driving, too
You might be tired of going to class, but what if doing so could save you money? Passing a defensive driving course can lower your insurance rates by up to 15% with most insurance companies. Plus, you can improve your driving skills, making you more likely to avoid tickets and accidents. Most programs are online and take eight hours or less to complete.
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Student Car Insurance FAQs
Doing some homework can help you save on car insurance for students. We completed the test by answering the most common questions about student auto insurance.
What’s the best insurance for students?
It depends. The best insurance for students varies on your age, driving record, claims history, vehicle, and coverage needs. Comparing at least three insurance companies can help you find the best student car insurance.
Can college students stay on their parents’ car insurance?
Yes. College students can stay on their parents’ car insurance in most cases. You might have to get your own policy if the car is in your name or you move out of state, though.
Do you need car insurance if you’re not bringing your car to school?
If you own your car and it has an active registration but you aren’t bringing it to school, you still need car insurance. You should discuss your options with your agent before canceling your insurance.
If eligible, yes, you can get a student discount on your auto insurance. There are multiple options, including for good grades, being away at college over 100 miles, and being a part of college organizations.
J.D. Power. “2022 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.” Accessed May 26, 2023.
J.D. Power. “2022 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study.” Accessed May 26, 2023.
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