The Best Cheap Car Insurance for College Students of 2021

When you are a college student, your dollars are limited. By the time you pay your tuition, rent, books and fees, you’re lucky if there are a few bucks left over for yourself. The last thing you want to do is pay too much for your student car insurance.

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    Car insurance is expensive, especially for younger drivers, but there are options that can save you some money. There are a few companies that offer special discounts on car insurance policies for college students.

    Using our InfoScore methodology, we regularly monitor and analyze leading insurance providers based on customer satisfaction, coverage options, discounts, accessibility and customer support

    In this article

      The best car insurance for college students of 2021

      The car insurance for college students at a glance

      ProviderAverage Annual PremiumAverage Monthly CostStudent Discounts AvailableJ.D. PowerSimple Score
      State Farm$6,336$528Student Away at School Discount
      Good Student Discount
      Defensive Driving Course Discount
      Driver Training Discount
      3/54.4/5
      Progressive$7,074$589.50Teen Driver
      Good Student
      Distant Student Discount
      3/54.2/5
      Geico$4,652$387.67Good Student Discount
      Good Driver Discount
      School Organization Discount
      Student and Alumni Discount
      3/54/5
      Allstate$10,468$872.33Resident Student Discount
      Good Grade Discount
      Multiple Policy Discount
      3/54.2/5

      Best student programs – State Farm

      State Farm lets you keep your discounts until age 25, giving you extra time to max out on your savings.

      J.D. Power Rating
      4/5
      AM Best Rating
      A++
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      InfoScore
      4.6 / 5.0
      close
      InfoScore State Farm 4.6
      Affordability 4
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      Among our picks for best cheap car insurance for college students, State Farm has some of the best discounts. With good grades, you can earn up to 25% off your policy. Even better, you can keep the discount until your twenty-fifth birthday. If you want to earn even more discounts, you can take a driver training course and maintain a good, accident-free driving record. Parents can also benefit if their college student is on their policy but leaves their car at home when they are at college.

      Best for discounts – Progressive

      Keep your computer or smartphone handy, because you can save an additional 8.5% just for signing your contract online!

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      InfoScore
      4.2 / 5.0
      close
      InfoScore Progressive 4.2
      Discounts 4
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 4
      Accessibility 4

      Progressive offers even more discounts than State Farm, developing several student-based programs to make auto insurance more affordable. It also incentivizes young drivers to drive safely and with more care through programs like the Teen Driver discount, Good Student discount and Distant Student Discount. With additional loyalty and payment discounts and the Snapshot® safe driving program, there are many ways to save on your total premium.

      Cheapest premiums – GEICO

      Don’t miss Geico’s mobile app, which stores a digital copy of your insurance card and features a roadside assistance page, enabling you to request a tow without having to make a phone call.

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A++
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA+
      InfoScore
      4.8 / 5.0
      close
      InfoScore GEICO 4.8
      Discounts 5
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      Geico has significantly lower rates than the competition, helped in part by its many student driver programs. It has all the usual discounts, but where it really shines is with its partnerships. Geico works with many student organizations to offer special discounts to their members. This includes groups like sororities, fraternities and even alumni organizations.

      Best mobile tools – Allstate

      Ditch your car while you’re away at school to qualify you for significantly lower rates through Allstate’s new Milewise pay-as-you-go program.

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      Standard & Poor’s
      A-
      InfoScore
      4.4 / 5.0
      close
      InfoScore Allstate 4.4
      Discounts 3
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      With Allstate’s Drivewise program, you earn points for driving safely. Drivewise uses your smartphone’s location to measure your speed, prevent phone use and promote safe driving practices. The points-based system rewards you with all types of goodies, including gift cards, magazine subscriptions, merchandise and travel perks.

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        What is car insurance?

        If you own a car, you are likely required to carry at least a minimum level of liability insurance. This protects you if you hit someone because your liability insurance will cover the repairs. If someone were to hit you, their liability insurance would then cover your repairs.

        However, if you get in an accident that doesn’t involve another car that is your fault, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to pay for the repairs on your own unless you have collision insurance.

        Car insurance protects you from the financial and legal liabilities of an accident. By paying a premium each month, you are paying for protection in case the unthinkable happens on the road.

        How to save money on car insurance as a college student

        Before shopping for car insurance, it’s important to know what types of coverage you need. The requirements can vary, depending on where you live, what kind of car you drive and your overall driving record.All states require you to carry a minimum level of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. You may also be required to carry personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured and underinsured coverage and collision and comprehensive coverage.

        All states require you to carry a minimum level of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. You may also be required to carry personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured and underinsured coverage and collision and comprehensive coverage.

        It’s important to purchase the right coverage for your needs; while also considering other ways to save. You don’t want to sacrifice quality for price, especially when so many leading insurance providers offer discount programs to help.

        Discounts

        There are always standard discounts that you can take advantage of when you have a good driving record or a new car that’s loaded with safety features. However, when you are a student, there are plenty of other ways to save, too.

        Many insurance companies will reward you for maintaining good grades.

        You can also receive extra discounts if you leave your car at home when you go to college. Don’t worry about those vacations, either, because many “away from home” discounts still allow you to use the car when you visit home on the weekends or for holidays.

        Bundles

        Another great way to save is to leverage your parents’ policy for extra savings. You can often get a better insurance rate if you drop your stand-alone policy and instead have your parents add you to their existing policy. Policy terms vary from provider to provider, but in many cases, you get better rates when you stay on your parents’ policy for the first few years of driving. Once you establish yourself as a safe driver with a clean driving record, you can obtain cheaper rates on your own stand-alone auto policy, usually after you turn 19 or 20.

        Driving classes

        If your driving skills could use some development or your record needs some work, driver safety, and improvement courses can not only clean up your record but also save you a bunch of money, too. Many insurance carriers offer discounts to young drivers if they take a special driver training course. It is popular that some school districts have taken the initiative to provide driver training for their high school students. However, before you enroll in a driver training class, be sure to make sure it’s approved by your insurance company’s discount program so you can qualify for the discounts you want.

        Car insurance discounts for teens

        Insurance providers know that their policies can get expensive for burgeoning young drivers, so they help out with tons of different discounts that you can use to lower your total insurance premium. These vary from company to company, but most insurance companies offer discounts for policyholders who consistently avoid accidents, speeding tickets and filing claims.

        In addition to the standard options, several providers offer their own exclusive discount programs. Progressive’s Snapshot is one such example, using technology to monitor your driving habits. In return, you receive rate reductions when you consistently drive safely. Geico is another example, giving special pricing to alumni and members of certain colleges and organizations.

        Some insurance companies have better discounts for college students than others do. Discounts can also vary by location because state insurance laws differ. To get the cheapest insurance rate, you should always obtain quotes from several insurance companies so you can compare premiums, coverages and discounts.

        Car insurance for high school students vs. college students

        When it comes time for high school seniors to graduate, it’s also time to start planning for college, and an important part of that process is obtaining the appropriate car insurance. For many students, college means a move to a place far away, and the rules for car insurance may not be the same as what you are used to at home.

        Many students spend high school as drivers on their parents’ car insurance policy. It’s cheaper for many families to bundle their auto policies together, but it all depends on your needs as a college student.

        You will likely be required to obtain your own policy if you plan to live full-time in a primary residence other than your parents’ home. This is sometimes a convenient caveat because you can then bundle both your auto and renters insurance for even cheaper premiums.

        If you plan on going away to school but driving your car when you return home for breaks, you can likely remain on your parents’ policy until you graduate college. Many insurers will require that you obtain your own policy by the time you reach 25 years old, although this is different for everyone.

        Should you have a car in college?

        At Info Readers USA, one of the questions we are asked the most involves college students and their cars. The decision to take a car to college weighs heavily on most college students’ minds, but it is a personal decision that depends on your specific circumstance.

        The need for freedom weighed against the expense and hassle of parking can present quite the conundrum for aspiring graduates. Parking is often minimal on campus, and off-campus parking can be both scarce and expensive.

        There is more to consider. While parking can be a nightmare, it is worth it for some students to have reliable, accessible transportation. Bus lines and other public modes of transportation are not always convenient for where you need to go, but a car solves that problem easily. It makes obtaining a job that much easier when you have off-campus employment options, too.

        ProsCons
        • Reliable transportation off-campus
        • Can use a car for work
        • A cheaper way to travel
        • Cost of auto insurance
        • Parking shortages and permits
        • Expensive gas and maintenance

        How to choose the best college student car insurance for you

        Before you purchase a new auto insurance policy for a college student, there are a few steps you should take in order to find the best insurance policy for you.

        1. Weigh the pros and cons. For some students, it makes more financial sense to remain on your parents’ policy than it does for you to purchase a stand-alone policy. Before you decide on your auto insurance, consider the kind of pricing and coverage that you can obtain from each policy before making a decision.
        2. Explore student insurance discounts. Most insurance providers offer special discounts for college students. You can save money for good grades, safe driving and even the groups and organizations that you join at school. These discounts can translate into major savings, giving you more options for your college car insurance.
        3. Shop your options. Auto insurance is always evolving, and what was once the best deal in town may no longer offer the best pricing. Be sure to actively shop your student car insurance to ensure that you have the best deal and save the most money possible.
        4. Consider customer support features. If you ever run into trouble on the road, it’s important to have the right kind of help — especially when you are away from home. Before committing to a specific insurance company, explore its customer support features. Some companies may offer a mobile app or live chat for instant support, while others may specialize in in-person support at local branches.

        Think about which features are most important to you and then compare your options for insurance.

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          Car insurance FAQs

          It all depends on which discounts and savings you can apply to your policy. Some college students can qualify for good student and away-from-home discounts, which can make premiums very affordable. However, since most college students are young and, therefore, inexperienced drivers, you can still face higher insurance rates than drivers with longer driving records.

          When you love your roommates, it’s tempting to share your car for an important job interview or a heft grocery pickup. However, if anything were to happen while your friend is driving your vehicle, you could be liable for all damages. Your insurance policy only covers those who are named on the policy, and your friend’s accident could not only lead to higher rates in the future, but it could result in loss of coverage altogether.

          We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the auto insurers we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@inforeadersusa.com with comments or questions.

          Methodology

          InfoScore

          The InfoScore makes it easy to compare products and services featured here on Info Readers USA in a transparent, open and honest way. We rate these products and services using five factors and average them to calculate a single InfoScore. For auto insurance, we compare:

          • Discounts
          • Coverage options
          • Support
          • Customer satisfaction
          • Accessibility

          You can read more about each factor and the details of each score in our auto insurance methodology. Use our ratings and editorial recommendations as you shop for the best auto insurance that fits your coverage needs.

          Car insurance rates: We used insurance rates from Quadrant Information Services. This includes analyzing thousands of rates from all 50 states that were publicly sourced from 2019 insurer filings. Rates are based on a 30-year-old male or female that had a clean driving record. Full Coverage premiums assumed a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible, and we looked at those who had both good and poor credit. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but your own quote may differ.

          Why do some brands have different InfoScores on different pages?

          To ensure the InfoScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at Info Readers USA. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.
          However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple InfoScores. For instance, if we compare State Farm’s home insurance according to our criteria for the best home insurance, it scores a 3.8 out of 5. But when we compare State Farm according to the criteria for the best auto insurance, it scores higher, since the features the company offers can vary by the type of insurance.

          Discounts

          We looked at the number of discounts each company offers — more discounts mean a higher score.

          Coverage Options

          We awarded higher scores to the companies that have the most coverage options.

          Support

          We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

          Customer Satisfaction

          We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each company. (If a company wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

          Accessibility

          We looked at the level of accessibility of each company –– the more resources they have the higher their score.

          Lena Borrelli

          Contributing Writer

          Lena Borrelli is a Tampa-based freelance writer who has worked with leading industry titans, such as Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and Simon Corporation. Her work has most recently been published on sites like TIME, ADT, Fiscal Tiger, Bankrate and Home Advisor, as well as many other websites and blogs around the world.

          Reviewed by

          • Patty Liu
            Patty Liu
            Insurance Editor

            Nasha Addarich is an editor at Info Readers USA and a former attorney who specializes in home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and savings. She is a former contributing editor to Reviews.com.