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Key Takeaways

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It’s imperative to get personalized quotes from at least three car insurance companies.

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Ask to see if you qualify for good student discounts.

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Adding a student to their parents’ family policy usually is the cheaper option.

As new drivers on the road, students understandably are at greater risk for traffic accidents than more experienced drivers. 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, by researching car insurance coverage, getting personalized quotes and receiving all available discounts, you can find cheap car insurance for students.

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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 parents’ 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 parents’ 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 parents’ vehicles when visiting for special occasions, it’s possible you could be covered under your parents’ 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 parents’ car insurance policy to get the cheapest rates and best car insurance for students.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Students

Shopping for cheap car insurance for students requires some research because no two car insurance companies offer the same rates. Car insurance rates vary depending on a number of personal factors such as age, location, type of vehicle and driving history, and how each car insurance company evaluates those factors varies as well. Therefore, it’s important to shop around, get personalized estimates and compare quotes from at least three different car insurance companies.

Cheapest for High School Students

For high school students on their own individual policy, State Farm and Nationwide offer the lowest rates on car insurance. However, these rates remain more expensive than rates for a student added to a family policy. For example, when looking at the average rates for a 16-year-old driver on an individual policy, those rates are $3,612 with State Farm and $4,705 with Nationwide. However, when the student is added to a family policy, those average rates decrease to $3,406 with State Farm and $3,787 with Nationwide.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for College Students

When shopping for car insurance for college students, State Farm and GEICO offer the lowest rates for students with individual policies. Average rates on an individual policy for an 18-year-old driver are $2,890 with State Farm and $3,446 with GEICO.

For college students who remain on their parents’ policy, those average rates drop to $2,702 with State Farm and $2,526 with GEICO.

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The Best Car Insurance Companies For Students

Searching for the best 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, providing affordable rates and quality customer service. In fact, the company continually earns AM Best’s “A++” rating for financial strength, meaning State Farm is well-positioned to pay customer claims.

State Farm offers a variety of car insurance coverages, ranging from liability-only to full coverage, that can be customized to your needs. In addition, you can take advantage of a number of discounts to further reduce your car insurance costs.

With nearly 19,000 agents across the country, you most likely will find an agent nearby to talk with in person. You also can purchase insurance, update your policy and file claims online or through the State Farm mobile app.

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 you find cheap car insurance for students.

For instance, for student drivers who get good grades, you could receive up to 25% off your car insurance rates with the Good Student discount. Also, for drivers under the age of 21 who complete an approved driver education course, you could qualify for the Driver Training discount. And for college students who only drive while they are at home during school breaks, you could receive the Student Away at School discount.

For students enrolled in State Farm’s Steer Clear and/or Drive Safe & Save programs, you could receive additional savings on your car insurance rates based on good driving habits.

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.

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.
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Ensure you are getting the best rate for your car insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

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.

Methodology

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.

About the Author


A long-time freelance writer, Karon Warren has covered finance, insurance, healthcare, business, travel and other topics for such outlets as Lending Tree, Student Loan Hero, Healthgrades, USA Today and others.

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