Best Car Insurance for College Students

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 26, 2022

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If you’re a student commuting to school, choosing the best car insurance for college students is one of the many life choices you’ll make. The same is true of parents who are supporting students or providing them with guidance. Price is important, but monthly premiums shouldn’t be your only consideration. In fact, premiums can vary dramatically depending on your driving history, credit and which coverage options you choose.

Use this simple guide to learn more about finding the simplest and cheapest car insurance for college students.

Car insurance rates can vary based on many factors, so your premiums might be different than those for your friends or other students. The best way to take the guesswork out of premiums is to get some quotes and compare them.

The best insurance for college students could change drastically, especially as your situation changes, up to and through graduate school. First, consider these tips to lower insurance costs.

Best Car Insurance for College Students

Tips for Lowering Car Insurance for College Students

Students often have less experience behind the wheel, which is 1 reason rates are higher for younger drivers. While we’re dealing with college students, remember that car insurance for high school students or equivalent car insurance for international students works similarly.

Cheap car insurance is more attractive when you’re on a tight budget, but don’t just look at the price when you shop. There are a few ways you can reduce insurance costs and bring high quotes back down to earth.

  • Improve your credit. Your credit score can play a big role in auto insurance. Be sure you’re making all the right financial moves and keeping an eye on your credit score. Cheap insurance for college students becomes more realistic if your credit is healthy.
  • Drive safely. Accidents and moving violations affect auto insurance rates. Safer drivers get better rates. Tickets for speeding or other violations can cost you money in a lot of ways. Full-time student car insurance could be affected by your actions as a young driver. Take care on the road, make wise decisions and never put yourself in dangerous situations.
  • Take a defensive driving course. As you search for affordable car insurance for college students, you will find that many car insurance companies offer a discount for drivers who complete an approved safe driving course. Because the discount is a percentage, student drivers with higher rates save more with this discount.
  • Keep those grades up. Insurers are looking at your grades as well. Many providers offer an extra discount on student car insurance if you show you get good grades.
  • Get quotes before choosing your car. The car you choose can make a big difference in insurance rates. If possible, get some quotes before you commit to a new car. Yes, the family is looking for cheap cars for college students, but you should remember that a less valuable car can bring your insurance costs down. The difference in the cost of insurance, then, might guide your decision on which car to buy.
  • Bundle your coverage. If you have more than 1 type of policy, consider buying your policies through the same insurer. For example, many insurers offer a discount if you buy home or renters insurance along with your auto insurance. Life insurance policies purchased through the same insurer can often earn a discount on your auto policy as well.
  • Assign the young driver to the right car. If your household has 2 late model BMWs and a 10-year-old Toyota Camry, the young driver should be assigned to the Toyota. Vehicle assignment can make a big difference in overall insurance costs.

Should College Students Have Their Own Auto Policy?

Whether you’re on your parent’s policy or your own policy is driven by who owns the car. If you own your car, you should have your own policy. The named insured should match the registration. Consider this when deciding how to title your car. If you’re living at home, it may make sense to use a car that’s registered to your parents.

The best auto insurance for college students may change depending on what parents can offer. Remember, this also impacts, as mentioned above, who purchases and registers the vehicle.

Insurers assign rates based on the primary driver of the vehicle (and the percentage of use). However, they also consider many other factors. In most cases, you’ll pay less overall if you’re able to tag along on your parent’s policy for a while. Many insurers give a break to younger drivers once they turn 25. Until then, if you’re living at home, chances are good that you’ll have lower rates if you stay on your parent’s policy. 

If you’re able to stay on your parent’s policy, you’ll also benefit from some of the discounts they’ve earned. For example, if your parents have good credit and you have a thin credit history (or none at all), you’ll probably save more money by staying on your parent’s policy.

Insurers consider thousands of variables as rating factors, so be sure to shop around and compare quotes. A money-saving strategy that worked for a friend might not apply in your case. But you might qualify for a different discount or preferred rate.

Best Car Insurance for Student Drivers

There’s a lot to consider when choosing cheap car insurance for college students, especially if you’re a student. Not all insurers offer insurance in all states. Some are national, while others are regional. Use the quote tool on this page to get quotes for leading companies that offer insurance in your state. 

Here are our picks.

Liberty Mutual
Best For
  • Total car replacement or better car upgrade collision coverage

1. Best Overall: Liberty Mutual

With nationwide coverage and discounts that help students, Liberty Mutual deserves a place on your insurance shopping list. Students with a GPA of B or higher can save with Liberty Mutual’s good student discount. Liberty Mutual also offers a discount for students away at school. 

If you’re living on your own and buying your own policy, be sure to take a look at Liberty Mutual’s discounts for bundling policies. The company offers extra discounts for bundling your renters or home insurance policy with your auto policy.

With strong ratings for financial strength and over 100 years of customer service, there’s a lot to like about Liberty Mutual.

Motion Auto
securely through Motion Auto's website

2. Cheapest: Motion Auto

It seems like there’s an app for everything these days. Motion Auto is among a new breed of forward-thinking companies that provide app-based coverage based on your actual driving. Motion Auto is also affordable. Eligible young drivers can save hundreds of dollars per year compared to competitor quotes.

A newer company, Motion Auto only offers coverage in Arizona but expects to expand to other states rapidly. By using data collected by a mobile app, the company charges rates based on how you drive and how much you drive. If you’re a safe driver and don’t put many miles on your car, take a closer look at Motion Auto. 

You can get coverage in just a few minutes and your ZIP code and credit score won’t affect your rates.

If Motion Auto isn’t available in your state, consider MetroMile, another usage-based insurer.

3. Best for Less-Than-Perfect Drivers: The General

If you’ve had some driving mishaps but still need coverage, consider getting a policy through The General. While The General insures good drivers as well, the company is known for providing coverage when other insurers politely decline. 

The General also offers a good student discount to help offset the higher cost of insurance that comes with a less-than-perfect driving record. You can also earn a discount for completing an approved driver training course or a defensive driving course.

Other discounts available through The General parallel those you’ll find with broad market insurers. You can save based on safety features of your car, multiple policies and good credit. Even if your driving record is on the mend, there are plenty of ways to reduce your insurance costs with The General.

Safe Auto
securely through Safe Auto's website

4. Best for Payment Options: SafeAuto Insurance

Paying your bill can be unexpectedly challenging with some insurers. SafeAuto prides itself on making insurance easy, including paying your bill. Not only can you pay using standard methods like credit cards, debit cards or through your checking account, you can also pay by money order or cashier’s check. The company even offers a convenient quick-pay option so you won’t have to remember where you put your account password.

SafeAuto also offers a discount for switching. “Welcome discounts” don’t last forever but a penny saved is a penny earned. As with other insurers, good students can earn a discount with SafeAuto. Safe drivers also earn extra discounts.

5. Best for Local Agents: Mercury Insurance

Online insurance providers are great but sometimes you want to sit down and discuss your coverage with an expert. With thousands of agents throughout its coverage area, Mercury Insurance combines low rates with personalized service.

Mercury offers discounts for safe drivers as well as discounts that can benefit students. The company rewards students who have good grades and if you’re on your parent’s policy, you can take advantage of a multi-car discount. With Mercury’s RealDrive program, you can save even more. RealDrive measures the miles you really drive and adjusts your premiums through discounts if you drive less.

Choose the Best Student Car Insurance

There’s a lot to consider when choosing an insurer. You may want to learn more about car insurance before making your choice. 

Also, consider your coverage options carefully. Many times, insurers offer the lowest-cost options for liability coverage or deductibles when giving a quote. As with many things, the lowest cost option may or may not be the best fit when it comes to insurance.


Can I get a student discount on my car insurance?


Many providers offer student discounts. If you’re a young adult, your car insurance may be more expensive overall, so looking into discounts is definitely worthwhile.

Some providers offer good grades discounts, too. Check with your provider to find out more.


Can I stay on my parent's car insurance if I'm in college?


Typically, providers allow college students to maintain coverage under their parents’ policy if their primary address stays at the parents house. This is true even if you move out of state for school.