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As inexperienced drivers, students are considered at a greater risk of being involved in 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 and teens by researching car insurance coverage, getting personalized quotes and receiving all available discounts.

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The Best Cheap Car Insurance for Students

Key Takeaways

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Families of student drivers can get the cheapest overall policies by adding the student to their existing policy.

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If a student leaves home to attend college with a car, various factors dictate whether they can remain on the family policy or have to get their own policy.

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The best insurance companies offer discounts to help students afford a policy and tailor coverages to fit student needs.

Cheapest Car Insurance for College Students

Shopping for cheap car insurance for students requires some research because the average cost of car insurance varies by driver profile, and no two car insurance companies offer the same rates. Overall, the cheapest car insurance company on average for college students varies depending on 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 because of their higher probability of accidents and moving violations. Below, we’ve broken down the cheapest car insurance companies by all college ages.

The annual policy averages listed for each age are for a cheap full coverage policy. A full coverage policy offers the best protection in the event of an accident where you are at fault. You may be able to find a cheaper liability-only policy, but this type of coverage offers the least financial protection.

To find the cheapest and best policy for you, you may need to consider how much car insurance you need before buying a policy.

Quickly Find Cheap Student Car Insurance for Your Age

Cheapest Car Insurance for 18-Year-Old College Students

If you’re living away from home and keeping your vehicle on or off campus, you may need to buy your own policy or can remain on the family policy. When a college student must purchase their own auto policy, we found that State Farm is the cheapest company on average, costing our sample 18-year-old first-year college student $2,966 per year.

When a student leaves their parent’s home to attend college with a car and does not change their permanent address to a school area residence, they often can remain on the family policy. Your insurance company, state laws and other factors can influence whether this is allowed, so it is always best to check with your insurer before you head off to college.

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, $2,431 per year.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for 19-Year-Old College Students

If you’re a 19-year-old first- or second-year student buying your own car insurance policy, you’ll get a slightly cheaper rate than when you are 18 years old. The cheapest car insurance company for 19-year-old students on an individual policy is State Farm with an average annual premium of $2,531. For 19-year-old students that are eligible for a family policy, Nationwide is the cheapest option, at an average of $2,066 annually.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for 20-Year-Old College Students

Rates continue to drop as students get older. If you’re a 20-year-old second- or third-year college student looking for car insurance, we found that State Farm is the cheapest company on average, costing our sample student $2,272 per year for an individual policy. If you are eligible to remain on a family policy, the cheapest car insurance for 20-year-old students is Nationwide with an average annual premium of $2,170.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for 21-Year-Old College Students

Third- or fourth-year college students looking for cheap car insurance can start by getting a quote from GEICO. Our sample 21-year-old driver pays an average of $1,824 per year for an individual policy. For 21-year-olds that are eligible to remain on a family policy, Nationwide is the cheapest option at an average of $1,582 per year.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for High School Students

Nobody pays higher rates for car insurance than high school students due to their inexperience and risk factors. The most affordable way to insure a high school-aged teen is to add them to a family policy. To add a teen to a family policy, certain insurer's requirements need to be met. This may include living within the family home, having a parent or guardian on the title of the vehicle the teen will be driving, and any other factors identified by the insurer. Requirements may vary by insurance company and state.

In most cases, it is illegal for a teen under 18 to purchase car insurance without a parent or guardian as a co-signer. If they get an individual policy, the cost is much higher than being on a family policy. The sections below provide national average rates for 16 and 17-year-old teens on individual and family policies.

Quickly Find Cheap Student Car Insurance For Your Age

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 Nationwide is the cheapest company for those who are on their parent's policy. Nationwide charged our sample driver $2,718 per year.

If you’re a 16-year-old with your own policy, the cheapest company on average is State Farm. Our sample driver was quoted $3,732 per year, significantly cheaper than the competition.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for 17-Year-Old High School Students

As young drivers gain experience, they’ll find more affordable rates. The cheapest company for those on their parent's policy is Nationwide, costing our sample family $2,685 per year for a 17-year-old driver. GEICO was a close second. Considering that your rates may vary, it makes sense to start your search by getting quotes from these two companies.

State Farm is the cheapest insurance company for students on their own policy. It quoted $3,312 per year for a 17-year-old with an individual policy.

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Calculate the Cost of Student Car Insurance

Use our car insurance calculator to estimate the cost of student car insurance.

  • To calculate the cost of adding a high school student to a parent's car insurance policy, you will first need to enter the parent's driving profile and click continue. You will then be able to add a student driver by entering their age, gender and most similar car type to get an estimate for a family policy.
  • To calculate the cost of an individual college student car insurance policy, you only need to use your driver profile to get an estimate.

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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

State Farm

State Farm is the largest U.S. auto insurer by market share, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and has served teen drivers for many decades, being the most widely available and providing affordable rates and quality customer service.

State Farm was consistently one of the cheapest companies for students on their parent's policy. And for students aged 16 to 18 who have an individual policy, it’s the cheapest on average by far.

Best Student Car Insurance for Discounts: State Farm

State Farm

While State Farm offers a number of discounts, such as multi-vehicle discounts and discounts for bundling home and auto insurance, the company also offers a number of discounts that could help students lower their base rates, which are already cheap.

In fact, State Farm has a driving safety program called Steer Clear, specifically made for young drivers. Students can enroll in the program and get a discount upon completion.

And that’s just one of the company’s many discounts. The other discounts available to drivers in college and high school are:

  • Distant Student: You might qualify for State Farm's Student Away at School Discount if you are a student under the age of 25 who only drives while you are at home during school breaks.

  • Good Student: High school and college student drivers who get good grades — B average, 3.0 GPA (grade point average) or top 20% class rank — could receive a car insurance rate discount of up to 25%.

  • Driver's Education: Drivers under the age of 21 who complete an approved driver education course could qualify for this discount.

Best Student Car Insurance Company for Military Families: USAA


USAA specifically caters to active-duty military, veterans and their immediate family members, so its car insurance products are not available to everyone. For those who do qualify, USAA offers some of the lowest car insurance rates available for all drivers, including students. With an AM Best “A++” financial strength rating, the company can deliver on customer claims.

For student drivers, USAA offers a good student discount as well as a driver training discount for drivers younger than 21, plus a number of other discounts that could reduce your rates. These include discounts for new vehicle, multi-vehicle and bundling home or renters insurance with your car insurance.

If you need to file a claim or make changes to your car insurance policy, you can do so on the USAA website or use the USAA mobile app. In addition, you can call to speak with an agent or use the website’s chat feature with a virtual agent.

Best Student Car Insurance for Technology: Allstate


Not surprisingly, today’s student drivers are well-versed in using technology, and they often prefer to use that technology to conduct their business. With Allstate Mobile, they will have control over their car insurance policy in the palm of their hand.

Using the app, they can access digital proof of insurance cards, view their policy documents, file a claim with QuickFoto Claim, access roadside assistance, pay their premiums and contact their agent. They also can access Drivewise, a usage-based telematics program that monitors their driving behavior via the app and rewards good driving habits with additional savings.

Of course, student drivers also can log into their accounts on the Allstate website to view their policy information, file and track a claim, make policy changes and pay their car insurance premiums.

Do College Students Need Their Own Insurance, or Can They Stay on a Parent’s?

Whether a college student needs their own car insurance policy or can stay on a parent's policy may be dependent on one or multiple factors, such as:

  • Whether their permanent address is their family’s home or at school
  • If the title of the car they drive is in their name, their name and a parent’s or solely in their parent’s
  • If they have a car while away at school
  • The ZIP code where the car is located
  • If they live on or off campus
  • Insurance company policies
  • State laws

Contacting your insurance company is the best way to know for sure whether remaining on a parent’s policy is possible or if you need your own policy.

However, if a student is away at college but doesn't have a car with them, 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 parent 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 have your own policy but drive your parent's vehicle when visiting for special occasions, it’s possible you could be covered under your parent's policy if it has a permissive use clause. Under this clause, driving their vehicle usually is limited to less than 12 instances per year.

Unless you must get your own policy while attending college, 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 anti-lock brakes? Generally speaking, car insurance companies rate 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 if you can pay for your policy in full and/or have a clean driving record. If you make monthly payments, you can still get discounts for setting up automatic payments as well as for paperless billing.
  • Help your student develop good driving habits: Many car insurance companies now offer telematics technology to monitor your driving and reward you with a reduced premium 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.
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There is no such thing as no-down-payment car insurance — usually, the least amount you must pay is one month’s premium upfront to activate coverage. If you come across a company offering no money down to get car insurance, you should question its legitimacy. They may just be using a marketing ploy to drive business because you must pay something upfront to get auto insurance. And if you are able to pay in full, it can save you money with many insurers.Mark Friedlander, Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute

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Car Insurance Advice for International Students

International students seeking to purchase car insurance while attending college in the U.S. 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.

Common Questions About Car Insurance for Students

Finding affordable car insurance for college and high school students doesn't have to be overwhelming. MoneyGeek provides answers to common questions you may have when shopping for the best car insurance for students.

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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content director at MoneyGeek with over five years of experience analyzing the insurance market, conducting original research and creating content that can be personalized for every buyer. He has been quoted on insurance topics in several publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Mark earned a master’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his economics and insurance knowledge to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.