Best Car Insurance For College Students
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UPDATED: Feb 27, 2021
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When you head to college, you might need to get personal auto insurance instead of staying on your parent’s policy.
Finding the best car insurance for college students is challenging because your age and inexperience behind the wheel count against you.
Insurance providers typically consider young drivers a higher risk to insure, resulting in higher premiums.
Luckily, many companies offer discounts specifically for students to help lower their costs.
Since college students are often on a strict budget, it’s vital you compare insurance companies and research discounts to find the most affordable option that provides the right coverage.
This guide will help you get a head start on the world of car insurance.
What’s the Cost of Car Insurance for College Students?
There isn’t a set price for a college student’s insurance.
A variety of factors affect your premium, since providers use a complex mathematical algorithm to calculate your actual cost.
While your age and limited driving experience are two of the factors with the biggest impact on your premium, other factors that could affect your insurance rate include:
- The make/model vehicle you drive
- Average miles you drive annually
- Where you live
- Where you park your vehicle
- Driving record
- Credit history
The fact that credit history may affect insurance rates is a surprise to many people. It can be especially damaging to college students whose credit history reflects limited or no credit.
If you go to school in California, Hawaii, or Massachusetts, your lack of credit history won’t be an issue, since these states prohibit using credit scores to determine your insurance premium (something to keep in mind when debating which college to attend.)
As a college student, it’s possible for you to get a more affordable auto insurance policy, but you need to do your homework and know what to look for.
To find the best car insurance for college students, you should shop around and get quotes from at least three insurance companies.
To get a better idea of what your insurance might cost, consider these average car insurance rates for college drivers from the California Department of Insurance rate comparison tool.
- A single male college student living in Los Angeles who has been licensed for 3 to 5 years, drives a Toyota Camry or equivalent car approximately 7,600 to 10,000 miles per year, and has no violations on his driving record, can expect to pay between $807 to $2,891 for basic liability coverage.
- A single female college student with the same profile could expect to pay from $812 to $2,907 for the same coverage.
Keep in mind that these rates are based on a clean driving record.
Getting even one speeding ticket can significantly increase your costs, so it’s important to keep good driving habits if you want to find the least expensive insurance for college students.
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Companies with the Best Car Insurance for College Students
Whether you’re looking for your first insurance policy or thinking about switching providers, comparing coverage versus cost is vital to getting the best car insurance for college students.
You won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution, but you can find valuable discounts that fit the average college student’s insurance situation.
Start your research with this list of potential providers.
Progressive offers discounts for students who stay on their parent’s policy.
The company provides a good-student discount for maintaining a “B” average or better and another discount if you’re 22 or younger and going to school more than 100 miles from home. If you’re a safe driver looking for a personal policy, one of Progressive’s biggest discounts for college students is the Snapshot® program.
Available through a mobile app or plug-in device, this free program personalizes your rate based on your driving habits rather than traditional factors alone.
You get an automatic discount just for signing up, and the safer you drive afterwards, the more you save. The program even provides tips based on your driving to help boost your potential discount.
QuoteWizard compares insurance quotes and companies to find the best car insurance for customers, including companies that offer student-specific discounts.
Many carriers offer good student discounts, which typically require a “B” average or better, but you might also earn a discount for being in the top 20 percent of your class.
Some club memberships, including fraternities and sororities, may qualify you for discounts with some providers.
If you’re close to graduating, some insurers offer modest discounts for drivers with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.
Esurance believes that when you keep your mind sharp, your driving skills follow.
Good students under 25 can get up to a 10 percent discount on liability, collision, and medical payments coverage. Keep your rates low by maintaining a 3.0 GPA, “B” average or better while you’re a full-time student at a community college or university.
You can even keep the discount for up to one year following graduation. Current students and alumni of Pac-12 schools can earn a 15 percent discount off their premium.
This discount is known as the “Education” discount, and is available in most states, with the exception of Washington and California.
However, California insurance providers may offer reduced rates for Pac-12 students and alumni.
Liberty Mutual offers a discount for good grades if you are under the age of 25 and have at least a 3.0 GPA or “B” average.
It also rewards drivers under 21 for completing a qualifying driver training program. If you live on campus, regularly walk or take public transportation to school, you can also earn a mileage discount by keeping below a set limit.
Once you complete your academic degree, you can ask about a new graduate discount.
You may also qualify for up to 10 percent off your auto insurance for being part of an alumni or a professional association, or taking a job with an employer partnered with Liberty Mutual.
Allstate urges college students to consider their insurance policy’s current coverage to see if it still suits their needs once they graduate for college. If you’re not leasing or financing your vehicle, you could drop collision and comprehensive coverage to save on your premium.
However, if you park your vehicle outside, comprehensive coverage pays for damage due to vandalism or severe weather, while collision coverage pays for damage that might occur in a wreck on your way to or from school.
Regardless of your coverage, you could earn a discount for good grades as a full-time student until you reach 25.
If you remain on your parent’s policy, they could receive a resident student discount of up to 35 percent when you leave your car at home and attend school at least 100 miles away.
Travelers has a good student discount of 8 percent available to drivers who maintain a “B” average or who are in the upper 20 percent of their class scholastically.
Verify your eligibility with an online transcript or a Dean’s List certificate. Sharpen your driving skills with driver training by completing an approved driver education course while under 21, and you could earn a discount of up to 8 percent.
If you’re attending a college at least 100 miles from home and you’re sticking with your parent’s policy, they could qualify for a 7 percent discount until you turn 25.
USAA caters to members of the armed forces and their families, so if either of your parents is active or retired military, take advantage of USAA’s consistently low rates and discounts for students.
If you’re younger than 25, attend an accredited school full-time, and rank scholastically in the upper 20 percent of your class, have a “B” average or a 3.0 GPA or better, you could qualify for a good student discount in every state except Hawaii or North Carolina.
College students under 25 with a clean driving record that have been on their parent’s policy for at least three years, can save up to 10 percent with family discounts when signing up.
State Farm emphasizes the importance of driver education by offering drivers under the age of 21 a discount for completing an approved driver training program.
College students can also save up to 25 percent on their insurance by getting good grades, and they get to keep this discount after they graduate, up to the age of 25.
Students can also save 15 percent on their insurance with the Steer Clear® Safe Driver Discount. This program provides driving-focused training modules combined with practice driving.
To qualify, you must be under 25, not have any at-fault accidents or moving violations within the past three years, and finish all program requirements within six months after starting.
MetLife rewards safe driving practices with valuable savings.
One example is their defensive driver discount, which rewards you for completing a motor vehicle accident prevention course approved by your state. You could also earn a driver improvement course discount for completing an approved online course available in your state.
If you’re a full-time college or junior college student under age 25 who maintains a “B” average or 3.0 GPA, ranks in the top 20 percent of your class, or appeared on the Dean’s List in the preceding semester, you could also earn a good student discount.
Kelly Klee specializes in insurance for luxury, classic, antique, or collector cars.
If you’re an affluent college student with a high-end vehicle, conventional automobile policies may not provide the coverage you need.
Kelly Klee lets you set a specific value on your automobile when your policy begins, so no matter how much time passes, you still receive the full agreed-upon amount if you ever total your high-end vehicle.
Best of all, if you don’t want to use knock-off parts for repairs on your vintage car, Kelly Klee’s coverage lets you choose pricier original parts to ensure your vehicle holds its value.
Keep in mind automobiles cannot be insured alone; you must bundle your auto insurance with another coverage.
How to Reduce the Cost of College Student’s Vehicle Insurance
Unlike older drivers, a pristine driving record may not help you get the best car insurance for college students.
Insurance companies often penalize younger drivers because they lack sufficient driving experience, even if they’ve remained accident-free. However, there are other ways you can reduce the cost of your car insurance.
If you’re buying car insurance for the first time, look for a company that cares more about how you drive instead of how long you’ve been driving.
Many of the larger insurance providers offer in-vehicle telecommunication devices, also known as telematics or usage-based insurance.
These devices monitor the way you drive to determine your premium, instead of relying on statistical data partially based on demographics you have no control over.
This type of data collection individualizes your premium pricing, making it more precise and increasing affordability for high-risk drivers.
These systems also track and help recover stolen vehicles, which could also reduce your rates due to increased security.
Reducing optional insurance coverage on an older vehicle with a low value is another great way to reduce your insurance.
Other ways to lower a college student’s insurance premium include raising the deductible, bundling insurance policies, installing cost-reducing safety features, and making sure you get all the discounts you deserve.
When you’re comparing insurance companies to discover the best car insurance for college students, you should have certain information readily available for insurers.
To get a quicker, more accurate quote, supply your:
- Age, sex, and marital status
- Vehicle make/model/year
- Vehicle ownership data
- Student status, including GPA
- Garaging habits
- Average miles traveled annually
- List of installed safety/security devices
- Details on past tickets or accidents
While you should always ask about student-related discounts, compare actual savings between all available discounts from each carrier.
You may find that a provider without a good student discount offers a better value overall if it has particularly generous or multiple discounts for your type of vehicle or for the way you handle your policy.
With this guide and some skilled research, you should find it easier to score the best car insurance for college students.
Shop around and keep an eye for good rates and discounts, and you’ll find the insurance that’s right for you.