Why you can trust The Zebra

The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed agents. Reference our data methodology and learn more about how we make money.

Author profile picture

Ava Lynch

Insurance Analyst

  • 7+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

Author profile picture

Bill Mense

Partner, United Heartland Insurance

William Mense has amassed 45 years of insurance experience in a family-owned agency begun in 1914 by his grandfather. That agency is now in its 3rd g…

Author profile picture

Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

Ross h…

Car insurance for students

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.

*Note: This guide was written by one of The Zebra's licensed insurance experts. All data comes from The Zebra's industry-leading annual study of auto insurance rates

Car insurance for college students

USAA and State Farm were the cheapest auto insurance companies for college students on average, coming in at around $200 to $275 per month. However, these companies might not be the perfect match for you. Auto insurance for college students is often expensive, but you want to get the right policy as well. You should always compare auto insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. See below rates from some of the best car insurance companies for college-aged drivers.

Car Insurance for College Students — Cheapest Insurance Companies
Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $209 $2,509
State Farm $275 $3,301
GEICO $316 $3,793
Nationwide $364 $4,365
Progressive $370 $4,443
Farmers $372 $4,468
Allstate $412 $4,947
Liberty Mutual $589 $7,064

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

Your rates will depend on your unique driving profile. Consider our information as a reference point when starting your search for college student auto insurance.

Compare car insurance options and find the right policy for you.

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

As a college student, do you need your own insurance policy or can you stay on your parents' insurance?

Whether or not you need your own car insurance policy as a college student is a fairly straightforward decision:

You need your own policy when:

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 do not need your own policy when:

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.

When to drop your child from your insurance policy

There is no maximum age limit for a kid to be on a parent’s car insurance policy. In general, most insurers require all household members that have access to your vehicles to be listed on your policy. If your child still lives at home, even on a part-time basis, it can be beneficial to keep them on the policy. However, it is possible to exclude them from the policy in most circumstances, especially if they have a poor driving record and are driving up your premiums. Keep in mind that excluded drivers are not covered by your policy under any circumstances. This means that if they were to get behind the wheel and have an accident, you would be fully responsible for any and all damages. 

There's no definitive answer for when to drop your child from your policy. In general, know that any person below the age of 25 is going to pay substantially more for insurance. If you want to shield your child from exorbitant rates while they build their insurance history, this is worth keeping in mind. However, keeping them on your policy can certainly lead to increased costs, especially if they develop a poor credit history or get a DUI/DWI. But if your child moves out of the house — and not just for school — then it's probably time for them to seek their own auto insurance policy. 

Car insurance for high school 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.

When should a high school driver be added to their parents' policy?

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:

Cheap car insurance options for high school students

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. 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 State Farm.

Car Insurance for High School-Age Drivers — Cheapest Insurance Companies
Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $355 $4,257
State Farm $429 $5,144
GEICO $478 $5,735
Nationwide $493 $5,917
Allstate $614 $7,363
Farmers $681 $8,168
Liberty Mutual $741 $8,886
Progressive $752 $9,029

Make an informed decision: compare insurance rates today.

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

Additional insurance discounts for teen student drivers

Consider a Defensive Driver Discount or a Good Student Discount. These discounts can save parents an average of $305 when combined.

Good student discountIf 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.

Age Average Savings
16 $344
17 $303
18 $267

Car insurance for graduate students

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.

The best cheap car insurance for graduate students

USAA and State Farm were again both the cheapest for graduate students, coming in with monthly rates of around $120 to $150 respectively. 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.

Company Avg. Monthly Premium Avg. Annual Premium
Allstate $264 $3,173
Farmers $188 $2,251
GEICO $152 $1,820
Liberty Mutual $268 $3,212
Nationwide $163 $1,962
Progressive $163 $1,958
State Farm $140 $1,681
USAA $123 $1,479

State Farm 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.

Decide which car insurance policy is right for you.

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

Telematics car insurance for students

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. 

Companies offering usage-based insurance include many of the major carriers, including Allstate, State Farm, GEICO and Progressive, along with newer insurtech companies like Root and Metromile. Another good telematics option could be pay-per-mile insurance. This is especially good for infrequent drivers who don't log many miles. 

Auto insurance discounts for students

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
Farmers Good student Signal
GEICO Good student, driver education course DriveEasy
Liberty Mutual Good student, student away at school RightTrack, ByMile
Nationwide Good student SmartRide
Progressive Good student Snapshot
State Farm Good student, driver training, student away at school Steer Clear, Safe & Save
USAA Good student, driver training SafePilot

Temporary car insurance: how to pause your policy

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.

Storage coverage

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 coverage or storage 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.

Compare quotes from over 100 providers.

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.


Other people are also asking...

If I move to Florida from Virginia for college, would I have to change my plates and get Florida auto insurance?

Florida law states that if you are in the state for over six months of the year, you need to register and tag the vehicle there. To do so, you will require PIP (as Florida is a no-fault state) and liability insurance. Check out our page on car insurance in Florida to learn more about the state'…
Jan 16, 2020 Suffolk, VA

Is there a temporary non-owners car insurance for foreign drivers?

As an international student, you do have some options. The Zebra can offer Non-Owner's policies for drivers with a foreign license. We can't quote that online because a car is required, but you can give us a call at 888-807-3823. We will quote you with several companies at once. To qualif…
May 13, 2019 Durham, NC

Is there an age limit for a good student discount?

There is no way to say for sure outside of asking your specific insurance company. Most insurance providers that offer good student discounts have stipulations that may make you ineligible due to your age or the fact that you aren't covered on your parent's policy. Your best would be to c…
Apr 19, 2017 Minneapolis, MN

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.