Learn how to save on auto insurance as a student, whether you're in high school, undergrad or post-grad.
Drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 pay more than any other age group for car insurance. Car insurance companies see young drivers as more likely to drive recklessly, commit moving violations and file insurance claims. If you’re a student, this can make finding affordable car insurance difficult.
Below we've outlined the best cheap car insurance companies for high school, college and grad school students, along with some tips on how to save on auto insurance.
Auto insurance for college students is often expensive. See below rates from some of the best car insurance companies for college-aged drivers.
|Car Insurance Provider||Average 6-Month Premium|
GEICO is the cheapest auto insurance company for college students. However, GEICO might not be the perfect match for you. You should always compare auto insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. Consider our information as a reference point when starting your search for college student auto insurance.
Whether or not you need your own car insurance policy as a college student is a straightforward decision:
You’re living away from your parents' house and driving a car full-time. If your insurance company discovers you’re living outside of your parents' home with a vehicle, you risk having your coverage or claim denied. Furthermore, if you are living on your own it's likely that you will need renters insurance. Combining your car and renters insurance can also lead to lower insurance premiums.
You’re not driving away from your parents' residence but want to remain insured for when you come home. If you’re going to a college within the same city, or if you’re away at college but are not driving, you can stay on your parents' policy.
Staying on your family's policy — especially if you’re not driving — will help you avoid a lapse in coverage, which can cause your insurance payments to rise when you buy insurance in the future. If you have your own policy but come home for the holidays, you might still be covered under your family's auto insurance policy if it has a permissive use clause. Permissive use gives infrequent drivers coverage if they use the vehicle fewer than 12 times a year.
Helpful hint: If you're going to be living more than 100 miles away at college and won't be driving, your parents can receive a “student away from home” discount if they decide to keep you on their policy. This discount, which varies by company, will require proof that you’re living away from the residence. Proof can be as simple as a utility bill. Learn more about car insurance discounts for students.
Buying car insurance as a high school student raises some important considerations — namely, when a student should be added to the family policy, and how much it will cost. Car insurance companies use your driving record as a rating factor when determining rates. On average, adding a teen driver to a car insurance policy will increase the premium by more than $100 per month. Given their lack of driving experience and tendency to take risks behind the wheel, teen drivers are seen as very risky — and expensive — insurance clients.
A teen driver should typically be added to their parents' insurance policy once they’re licensed and using a vehicle.
Some states require teens to be added to their family’s car insurance policy if:
The next — and probably more prevalent — concern for car insurance for high schoolers is cost. Because of their lack of driving experience, teenagers are the most expensive age group to insure. We determined that USAA will be the cheapest for a family — again with all other metrics constant. If you’re looking for affordable car insurance for your high school-aged driver, start with USAA. If you don't qualify for USAA coverage, consider Nationwide.
Consider a Defensive Driver Discount or a Good Student Discount. These discounts can save parents an average of $305 when combined.
Good student discount:If you maintain a GPA of 3.0 (B average) or better, you could be eligible for this discount. Insurance companies see teen drivers with good grades as less likely to take risks while driving, which they reward with lower premiums. Insurance companies usually require proof — such as a transcript — every six months in order to qualify for a good student discount.
Defensive driver discount:This discount requires the driver to complete an insurance company-approved course on defensive driving. Consult your insurance company or insurance agent prior to taking a course to confirm the insurer offers this discount.
There are some differences between getting car insurance as a graduate student versus an undergrad student. As a graduate student who has completed a bachelor's degree, you can expect some insurance savings. A driver with more education is seen as more financially stable and more likely to practice safe driving, reducing the amount of risk — and potential cost — the client presents. This leads to lower car insurance rates for graduate students.
The next part of your savings comes from your age. While there is no standard age for graduate students, they’re typically older than undergraduate students. To an insurance company, an older motorist is a more experienced driver and a better client.
In order to find the cheapest car insurance companies for graduate students, we created a general profile (drivers between the ages of 22 and 29) and compared rates from popular insurance companies. Below are the results.
|Car Insurance Provider||Average 6-Month Premium|
GEICO is the cheapest insurance provider for this age group if you don't qualify for USAA. Consider this data as a beginning point of reference when it comes to your personal policy. Each car insurance company will respond differently to your driver profile, so it’s a good idea to compare rates often to find a policy that suits your needs.
Another insurance savings option for students is known as telematics. Telematics is a technology that analyzes your driving habits and reports them back to your insurer. This can be used to determine your rates or possibly lead to discounts for being a safe driver.
Telematics employs either a smartphone app or a plug-in device that monitors behaviors like your speed and hard braking as well as your overall mileage. Usage-based car insurance plans consider the overall amount of miles that you drive when setting your rates. This means that the less you drive, the more you stand to save.
See discounts specific to younger drivers or students, along with usage-based telematics programs on offer from some top insurance companies below.
|Car Insurance Company||Student Discounts||Telematics Programs|
|Allstate||Good student, safe driving program, student away from home||Drivewise|
|GEICO||Good student, driver education course||DriveEasy|
|Liberty Mutual||Good student, student away at school||RightTrack, ByMile|
|State Farm||Good student, driver training, student away at school||Steer Clear, Safe & Save|
|USAA||Good student, driver training||SafePilot|
There isn't a way to simply pause your insurance. If you're planning on relocating temporarily for a summer internship or study-abroad program and aren't sure what to do with your car insurance, read on for tips.
Let's say you're taking a summer internship in San Francisco and leaving your vehicle behind. While you want the car to be protected, you don't want to pay the full premium for the three months you'll be gone. If your insurance company allows it, you might consider storage coverageorstorage protection.This coverage reduces your insurance to comprehensive coverage only. This protects your vehicle against theft, vandalism, and weather-related claims. This coverage falls short of state-required liability insurance, meaning no one can use the vehicle during this period. However, your premium will be reduced significantly.
You should be aware of whether your state monitors ongoing vehicle registration or if your registration will be up for renewal during this process. Most states require vehicles to be fully insured with liability coverage or have registration suspended and tags turned in. Because storage coverage insurance falls into a grey area, you should be careful. Storage coverage can be a good solution if you need to suspend coverage for a bit. Just be aware of your state's registration laws first.
It's important to remember that car insurance changes as you progress through life phases. Graduating from school or celebrating a birthday presents an opportunity to save on auto insurance.