The Best Cheap Car Insurance for College and High School Students on a Budget
As inexperienced drivers, students considered a greater risk to cause traffic accidents. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for America’s teenagers. This elevated risk leads to more expensive car insurance for college students as well as high school students. The good news is anyone can find cheap car insurance for students by researching car insurance coverage, getting personalized quotes and receiving all available discounts.
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Cheapest Car Insurance for College Students
Shopping for cheap car insurance for students requires some research because no two car insurance companies offer the same rates. Overall, the cheapest car insurance company on average for college students varies depending on your age and driver profile.
Students tend to pay high rates for policies because they are young, and insurance companies consider young drivers to be higher-risk. Below, we’ve broken out the cheapest car insurance companies by all college ages.
Cheapest Car Insurance for 18-Year-Old College Students
If you keep your vehicle at your parent's address, the cheapest option is almost always to stay on their policy. In this case, we found that GEICO is the cheapest company on average, costing our sample 18-year-old freshman college student $2,526 per year.
However, if you’re living away from home and keeping your vehicle with you on campus, you’ll have to buy your own policy. In this scenario, we found that State Farm is the cheapest company on average, costing the same driver $2,890 per year.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 18-Year-Old College Students
Cheapest Car Insurance for 19-Year-Old College Students
If you’re a 19-year-old freshman or sophomore student buying your own car insurance policy, you’ll find you get slightly cheaper rates than when you were 18 years old. We found that the cheapest car insurance company on average for 19-year-old students is State Farm, at a cost of $2,462 per year. However, Allstate and GEICO offered our sample driver very similar pricing, showing the importance of shopping around.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 19-Year-Old College Students
Cheapest Car Insurance for 20-Year-Old College Students
Rates continue to drop as students get older. If you’re a 20-year-old sophomore or junior looking for car insurance, we found that Allstate is the cheapest company on average; it cost our sample student $2,180 per year. GEICO and State Farm are also competitively priced, as they are for other ages.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 20-Year-Old College Students
Cheapest Car Insurance for 21-Year-Old College Students
Junior or senior students looking for cheap car insurance should start by getting a quote with GEICO. Our sample 21-year-old driver paid an average of $1,695 per year, notably cheaper than Allstate or State Farm, the next-closest competitors.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 21-Year-Old College Students
Cheapest Car Insurance for High School Students
Nobody pays higher rates for car insurance than high school students. Since high school students live at home, the best way for them to save money is by staying on their parent's policy. For students who do that, we found that Allstate is the cheapest company for 16-year-olds and GEICO is the cheapest company for 17-year-olds.
Cheapest Car Insurance for 16-Year-Old High School Students
For 16-year-old high school students who are just starting to drive, we found that Allstate is the cheapest company for those who stay on their parents policy. Allstate charged our sample drivers $3,146 per year. GEICO was a close second.
If you’re a 16-year-old student who has to buy their own policy, the cheapest company on average is State Farm. It quoted our sample driver at $3,612 per year; thousands of dollars per year cheaper than the competition.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 16-Year-Old High School Students
Cheapest Car Insurance for 17-Year-Old High School Students
As young drivers begin to gain some experience, they’ll find more affordable rates. The cheapest company for those who stay on their parent's policy is GEICO; it cost our sample family with a 17-year-old driver $2,823 per year. Allstate is a close second, and considering your rates may vary, it makes sense to start your search by getting quotes from these two companies.
State Farm remains the cheapest insurance company for students who need their own policy. A 17-year-old with an individual policy was quoted at $3,213 per year.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 17-Year-Old High School Students
The Best Car Insurance Companies For Students
Searching for the best cheapest car insurance for students is not a quick process; it requires time and research to find the best company for your needs. While price obviously is a driving factor, it’s also important to evaluate a car insurance company on its customer service and ease of use.
With regard to price, it’s also important to examine every available discount, particularly those geared to both high school and college students. These could lead to big savings on your car insurance rates.
Best Student Car Insurance For Overall Savings: State Farm
Best Student Car Insurance for Discounts: State Farm
Best Student Car Insurance Company for Military Families: USAA
Best Student Car Insurance for Technology: Allstate
Do Students Need Their Own Insurance, or Can They Stay on a Parent’s?
Simply put, students need their own insurance policy when they no longer live at home and continue to drive every day. If they live independently from their parents, they need to purchase their own car insurance policy.
However, if students live away from their parents — for instance, away at college — but don’t drive, they can remain on their parent's car insurance policy. In fact, if the student lives more than 100 miles from home while at college, the parents may qualify for a “student-away-at-school” discount. Staying on your parent's policy also benefits you because you won’t have a lapse in coverage, which will be favorable when shopping for your own policy in the future.
If you do have your own policy, but drive your parent's vehicles when visiting for special occasions, it’s possible you could be covered under your parent's policy if they have a permissive use clause on their policy. Under this clause, driving their vehicle usually is limited to less than 12 instances per year.
Therefore, unless you are living on your own and independent of your parents, it’s best to stay on your parent's car insurance policy to get the cheapest rates and best car insurance for students.
Car Insurance Advice for Students and Strategies to Save Money
Finding cheap car insurance for students is no easy task, but it can be done with some time and research. It’s always important to shop around and get personalized quotes from at least three different insurance companies to get a good idea of what’s available for you.
In addition, you can implement the following strategies to further reduce the amount of your car insurance premiums for student drivers:
- Get a “safe” vehicle for your student: Car insurance companies evaluate the car you drive based on how safe they think it is. For example, does it have a strong safety rating? Does it come outfitted with specific safety features like airbags and antilock brakes? Generally speaking, car insurance companies see sedans as safer vehicles than sports cars.
- Seek out all available discounts: While you definitely want to ask about discounts specifically for student drivers, ask the agent for a list of all available discounts to make sure you take advantage of all you can. For instance, some car insurance companies offer discounts for cars with specific safety features, like those listed above. In addition, they also offer discounts for setting up automatic premium payments as well as for paperless billing.
- Help your student develop good driving habits: Many car insurance companies now offer technology to monitor your driving and reward you for good driving habits. By maintaining good driving habits, you also take great strides in maintaining a clean driving history free of speeding tickets, DUIs or car accidents. This clean driving history also results in lower car insurance rates.
Car Insurance Advice for International Students
International students seeking to purchase car insurance may encounter a number of obstacles. Many car insurance companies will require the student driver to have a valid U.S.-issued driver’s license even if the state where they are attending school does not.
Some states require international students to obtain a state driver’s license if they plan to drive a car, while other states allow them to use a valid driver’s license from their home country provided they also have a valid International Driver’s Permit. It’s imperative to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to find out the specific requirements for international drivers.
If you don’t have a local driver’s license, it’s possible you will be placed in a high-risk group of drivers that could increase your car insurance rates.
MoneyGeek compiled data to provide average car insurance rates for college and high school students. The average rates derive from several different factors, which may impact the personalized quotes and prices you receive to be higher or lower than the prices shown in this article. You can read more on our methodology page.
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About the Author
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Teen Drivers: Get the Facts." Accessed August 21, 2020.