The Best Cheap Car Insurance for College and High School Students on a Budget

MoneyGeek analyzed car insurance rates and found that State Farm is the most widely available cheap car insurance provider for college and high school students for both family and individual policies.

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Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 2/3/2023
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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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2023

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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Students who leave home and bring their cars to college will need to buy their own insurance. They should shop around for the cheapest quote.

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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 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 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 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 first-year college student $2,008 per year.

However, if you’re living away from home and keeping your vehicle on campus, you’ll need to buy your own policy. In this scenario, we found that State Farm is the cheapest company on average, costing the same driver $2,790 per year.

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  • Age
    Company
    Family Policy
    Individual Policy
    Cost Difference
  • 18
    USAA
    $1,436
    $2,096
    $660
  • 18
    State Farm
    $2,222
    $2,790
    $567
  • 18
    Travelers
    $2,298
    $3,423
    $1,124
  • 18
    GEICO
    $2,008
    $3,488
    $1,481
  • 18
    Allstate
    $2,211
    $4,075
    $1,864
  • 18
    Nationwide
    $2,209
    $4,217
    $2,008
  • 18
    Farmers
    $2,443
    $5,805
    $3,362
  • 18
    Progressive
    $2,841
    $6,031
    $3,189

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 slightly cheaper rates than when you are 18 years old. The cheapest car insurance company for 19-year-old students is State Farm, costing $2,379 per year on average.

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  • Age
    Company
    Family Policy
    Individual Policy
    Cost Difference
  • 19
    USAA
    $1,327
    $1,678
    $351
  • 19
    State Farm
    $2,144
    $2,379
    $235
  • 19
    GEICO
    $2,097
    $2,547
    $450
  • 19
    Travelers
    $2,197
    $2,702
    $505
  • 19
    Allstate
    $2,251
    $2,830
    $579
  • 19
    Nationwide
    $2,016
    $3,313
    $1,297
  • 19
    Progressive
    $2,715
    $3,355
    $640
  • 19
    Farmers
    $2,925
    $3,501
    $575

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 $2,137 per year. GEICO and Travelers are also competitively priced.

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  • Age
    Company
    Family Policy
    Individual Policy
    Cost Difference
  • 20
    USAA
    $1,217
    $1,536
    $319
  • 20
    State Farm
    $1,932
    $2,137
    $205
  • 20
    GEICO
    $1,888
    $2,277
    $389
  • 20
    Travelers
    $1,974
    $2,409
    $435
  • 20
    Allstate
    $2,001
    $2,510
    $509
  • 20
    Nationwide
    $1,792
    $2,922
    $1,130
  • 20
    Progressive
    $2,438
    $3,006
    $568
  • 20
    Farmers
    $2,736
    $3,269
    $532

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 paid an average of $1,768 per year, cheaper than State Farm and Travelers, the next-closest competitors.

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  • Age
    Company
    Family Policy
    Individual Policy
    Cost Difference
  • 21
    USAA
    $969
    $1,207
    $238
  • 21
    GEICO
    $1,467
    $1,768
    $302
  • 21
    State Farm
    $1,697
    $1,870
    $173
  • 21
    Travelers
    $1,664
    $1,996
    $332
  • 21
    Allstate
    $1,616
    $2,021
    $405
  • 21
    Nationwide
    $1,304
    $2,100
    $796
  • 21
    Progressive
    $1,942
    $2,388
    $446
  • 21
    Farmers
    $2,043
    $2,432
    $389

Cheapest Car Insurance for High School Students

Nobody pays higher rates for car insurance than high school students. 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, you will need to meet the insurer's requirements. 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.

Some teen drivers may not meet family policy requirements or may require an individual policy of their own. 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 stay on their parent's policy. Nationwide charged our sample driver $2,654 per year. State Farm was the second cheapest.

If you’re a 16-year-old student who has to buy your own policy, the cheapest company on average is State Farm. Our sample driver was quoted $3,508 per year, significantly cheaper than the competition.

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  • Age
    Company
    Family Policy
    Individual Policy
    Cost Difference
  • 16
    USAA
    $2,149
    $3,271
    $1,122
  • 16
    State Farm
    $2,787
    $3,508
    $721
  • 16
    Nationwide
    $2,654
    $4,984
    $2,330
  • 16
    GEICO
    $2,840
    $5,287
    $2,446
  • 16
    Travelers
    $3,277
    $5,376
    $2,100
  • 16
    Allstate
    $3,193
    $6,386
    $3,193
  • 16
    Progressive
    $3,314
    $7,216
    $3,902
  • 16
    Farmers
    $3,353
    $8,367
    $5,014

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 who stay on their parent's policy is GEICO, costing our sample family $2,353 per year for a 17-year-old driver. Nationwide is 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 who need their own policy. It quoted $3,114 per year for a 17-year-old with an individual policy.

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  • Age
    Company
    Family Policy
    Individual Policy
    Cost Difference
  • 17
    USAA
    $1,673
    $2,467
    $794
  • 17
    State Farm
    $2,475
    $3,114
    $639
  • 17
    Travelers
    $2,661
    $4,105
    $1,443
  • 17
    GEICO
    $2,353
    $4,132
    $1,779
  • 17
    Nationwide
    $2,395
    $4,545
    $2,150
  • 17
    Allstate
    $2,625
    $5,137
    $2,511
  • 17
    Farmers
    $2,633
    $6,313
    $3,680
  • 17
    Progressive
    $3,248
    $7,005
    $3,757

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

A national fixture in the car insurance industry, State Farm 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 who want to remain on their parent's policy. And for students aged 16 to 18 who need to buy 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 multivehicle 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 habits 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:

  • Defensive Driving: Completing a defensive driving course could help you get an additional discount. However, this depends on where you live, so it's best to check with your State Farm agent.

  • 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: 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

USAA specifically caters to active and retired members of the military and their families, so their car insurance products are not available to everyone. For those who do qualify, they offer 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 its customers’ 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

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, which monitors their driving behavior 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 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 everyday. 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 it has a permissive use clause. 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 if you can pay for your policy in full. 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 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.
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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.

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 the Author


Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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