Being a student these days isn’t cheap and is bound to get more expensive as the cost of college increased more than 1% over last year and inflation continues to affect Americans’ spending power.
The average cost of college tuition at a four-year, in-state public university for the 2021-22 school year was $10,740, according to data from the College Board.
Another essential that can be pricey for young folks? Car insurance. Young drivers ages 16 to 25 pay much more on car insurance than older drivers. Drivers who are 18 pay $5,242 per year for their own full coverage insurance policy, which is a great deal higher than the national average of $1,682 for a 40-year-old driver.
Selecting the best car insurance for college students hinges on a number of factors – where the young driver lives, how often he or she is behind the wheel and who is the owner of the car. These factors all come into play when determining auto insurance coverage rates for students.
- An 18-year-old driver pays $5,242 a year for a full coverage car insurance policy—that’s $3,560 more than the national average of $1,682 for a 40-year-old driver.
- The average cost of full coverage car insurance in the U.S. for a 19-year-old purchasing their own policy is $3,874 a year.
- It’s cheaper to stay on your parent’s policy instead of buying your own policy if you still live at home or are going to school in-state.
- Depending on the insurance company, college students can get a good student discount on insurance if they keep their GPA average at about 14%.
- How much do college students pay for car insurance?
- How can college students find the cheapest car insurance?
- Which car insurance companies offer coverage for college students?
- How do you buy car insurance for college students?
- How can college students get discounts on car insurance?
- Can college students stay on a parent’s car insurance policy?
How much do college students pay for car insurance?
As mentioned, car insurance rates for young drivers ages 16 to 25 are more expensive than older drivers on the road — and by a significant margin. That’s because young drivers have less experience, which deems them at higher risk.
Teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than someone who is 20, according to the CDC.
Let’s take a closer look at our research on rates by age and teen drivers:
Car insurance for 18-year-old college students
According to a 2022 CarInsurance.com data analysis, the average auto insurance for an 18-year-old who is on his or her own policy is $5,242 for full coverage.
This rate is a staggering $3,883 higher than the national average of $1,682 for 40-year-old drivers in the U.S. That being said, the average rate for 18-year-olds is far lower than the cost for 16-year-olds, which is $7,625 per year and $635 per month.
Let’s take a closer look at car insurance rates for 18-year-olds:
- State minimum coverage: $1,706
- Liability limits of 50/100/50: $2,058
- Liability limits of 100/300/100, with comprehensive and collision coverage and a $500 deductible: $5,242
Car insurance for 19-year-old college students
The average cost of car insurance in the U.S. for a 19-year-old taking out their own policy is $3,874 on their own full-coverage policy. It’s less expensive than car insurance rates for 18-year-old drivers, but nearly $3,000 higher than the U.S. average of $1,682 for the 40-year-old set.
Breaking it down even further:
- State minimum liability coverage: $1,234
- Liability coverage with limits of 50/100/50: $1,482
- 100/300/100 liability with a $500 comprehensive and collision deductible: $3,874
Car insurance for 20-year-old college students
The average car insurance rate in the U.S. for a 20-year-old on their own full coverage policy is $3,532, which is $1,740 more than the national average ($1,758) for drivers who are 30.
- State minimum liability coverage: $1,109
- Liability coverage with limits of 50/100/50: $1,333
- 100/300/100 liability with a $500 comprehensive and collision deductible: $3,532
Car insurance for 21-year-old college students
See the costs below for 21-year-old drivers at various coverage levels on their own policies.
- State minimum liability coverage: $884
- Liability coverage with limits of 50/100/50: $1,066
- 100/300/100 liability with a $500 comprehensive and collision deductible: $2,864
Car insurance for 22-year-old college students
See the costs below for 22-year-old drivers at various coverage levels on their own policies.
- State minimum liability coverage: $794
- Liability coverage with limits of 50/100/50: $961
- 100/300/100 liability with a $500 comprehensive and collision deductible: $2,593
How can college students find the cheapest car insurance?
Here are some ways to get affordable car insurance for college students:
Try to stay on mom and dad’s insurance policy
If you still live at home or are going to school in-state and a parent’s name is also on the title, it should be easy to remain on their car insurance policy instead of having the expense of getting your own.
Carry only state minimum required coverages
If your car is older and you own it outright, you can save by not carrying collision or comprehensive coverage if you can either afford to fix the car if damaged or replace it. If you have assets to protect, It is recommended that you carry higher liability limits.
Read more: What is state minimum car insurance?
Try usage-based auto insurance programs such as State Farm’s In-Drive or Progressive’s Snapshot
You can save a few hundred dollars annually as a conservative driver. If you are an aggressive driver, drive during high-risk hours or put a lot of miles on your car, you may not qualify for a discount.
Comparison shop for car insurance as a college student
If you’re getting your own policy, the best way to save is to compare car insurance quotes from at least four companies for the same coverage levels, says Terrance Odean, a professor of finance at the University of Berkeley.
Choose a high deductible
Odean says to choose a higher deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage if you can afford it. Consider as high a deductible as you can afford to pay out of pocket without causing you financial distress.
“If you drive an old junker that you could afford to replace, you can save money by not getting collision and/or comprehensive coverage,” Odean says.
- Liability Only – 50/100/50
- Full Coverage – 100/300/100 Liability with $500 Comp/Coll Deductible
Which car insurance companies offer coverage for college students?
The editors at CarInsurance.com researched insurance companies that offer notable car insurance for young drivers, many of which include ways to save on coverage.
Here is a list of major carriers:
AAA: In addition to coverage and discounts, AAA members also get 24-hour roadside assistance. AAADriver, AAA’s safety feature allows parents to set certain driving parameters and restrictions to help keep students safe on the road. Another standout feature? AAA offers its young drivers online teen driving resources. Plus, a parent/teen agreement is available.
Allstate: If you’re keeping the car at your parent’s house and the parental units live within a 100-mile radius, you might be able to keep car insurance coverage under their policy.
American Family: American Family also offers the option of keeping your car insurance policy under your parents’ coverage. You’ll need to live within 100 miles of your parents’ home.
Auto-Owners: Auto-Owners offers a handful of great discounts – up to 20% for good students, a teen driver monitoring program and a student-away discount.
Geico: Geico offers affordable rates and a convenient app to make it easy for young drivers to manage their policies and file claims.
Liberty Mutual: Twenty-four-hour roadside assistance is available for teen drivers.
Progressive: Progressive’s Snapshot program can help determine whether you were distracted while on the road and can offer rewards for good driving habits.
State Farm: State Farm’s Steer Clear program helps young folks on the road improve their driving skills and raise savings simultaneously.
How do you buy car insurance for college students?
You’ll want to ask yourself questions before buying car insurance as a college student.
Staying on mom and dad’s policy?
The first question is whether you can stay on a parent’s policy. Generally, it’s cheaper to go this route. Plus, the coverage limits will likely be higher, and your parents will qualify for a multi-car discount.
You’re usually able to do this if you live at home, or are away at school and only drive when you are at your parent’s house. Your parent’s name will still need to be on the car title. And some insurance companies will let you stay on your family’s household car insurance if you go to school within, say, a 100-mile radius of your home and are without your car.
While it typically is the easier, less-expensive route to stay on your parents’ or someone else’s household policy, there are reasons why you might want to get your own car insurance:
- If your parents have a less-than-stellar driving record — moving violations, at-fault accidents and traffic convictions.
- Or if your lack of experience or driving record is causing your parents’ policy to go up. In that case, getting your own policy might make financial sense.
Guide: The best and cheapest way to insure teenage drivers
Ask about discounts for college students
While getting car insurance as a young driver can be super expensive, the good news is there are a slew of discounts you might be eligible for.
Car insurance companies know how pricey it can be to get car insurance when you’re in college, so will entice you with many ways to save. (We’ll explore ways you can save on your policy in just a bit).
Depending on the car insurance company, some discounts are only available if you’re grouped in with an existing policy.
Shop around for car insurance
The prevailing joy of car insurance is there’s no shortage of options. Get quotes from several car insurance companies.
How can college students get discounts on car insurance?
The types of discounts you can qualify for as a college driver depend on your insurance company. Also, not all discounts are available in all states, which is something you’ll want to keep in mind when shopping for car insurance.
Here are some common ways to save on driver’s insurance when you’re a college student:
Get good grades
The good student discount for keeping up your GPA averages about 14% as of 2022, depending upon your auto insurer.
Live far from home
You might be eligible for a student-away discount if you live within 100 miles of your parents’ home and leave your car there. And you only use the car on weekends, holidays and vacations when you’re home.
A student-away discount averages about 16%. If this scenario sounds like you, you might be able to either snag a discount on your own policy. Some insurers allow you to stay on their insurance, which is usually cheaper.
Ask about discounts for student organizations
If you belong to a sorority or fraternity or are a member of an organization such as the American Medical Student Association or American Student Dental Association, you might be able to save some money.
See if you qualify for a multi-policy discount
If you’re away for college and are renting an apartment, some insurance companies offer savings if you bundle your renters and auto insurance with average savings of 6%.
Ask about discounts for safety features
If you install an anti-theft device in your car, this could bump down the cost of your car insurance 1.4%. Additional discounts include:
- Airbags: 1.6%
- Anti-lock brakes: 3.22%
- Back-up sensor: 3.98%
- Daytime running lights: 1.95%
- Driver alertness monitor: 2.26%
- Lane departure warning: 0.82%
- Rearview camera: 0.82%
Learn more: Car insurance discounts for students
Can college students stay on a parent’s car insurance policy?
It largely depends. If you still live with your parents, go to school in-state, or a parent’s name is on your vehicle’s title, you can. It’s typically recommended you do so because it’s far less expensive than buying your own insurance policy.
Another perk is that the policy’s coverage or scope will most likely be higher than a bare-bones student policy. Plus, your parents will likely qualify for a multi-driver discount.
While auto insurance for college students can be significantly higher than for older, more experienced drivers, there are ways to keep your costs down. This entails seeing if you can stay on your folks’ insurance, figuring out what type of coverage best suits you and finding ways to save.
Resources & Methodology
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Keep Teen Drivers Safe.” Accessed July 2022.
College Board. “Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2021.” Accessed July 2022.
Insurance Information Institute. “How Can I Save Money on Auto Insurance?” Accessed July 2022.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). “A Shopping Tool for Automotive Insurance.” Accessed July 2022.
AAA Drivers. “Teen Drivers – AAA Student Membership” Accessed July 2022.
CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to find auto insurance rates in 35,000 ZIP codes in 2022 for drivers driving a Honda Accord LX 2022 with a clean driving record.