A few years of experience under your belt and a clean record can help lower your annual car insurance premiums, but you typically won’t stop paying a penalty for your youth until you’ve been driving 10 years. Car insurance for college students is almost always tricky and expensive.
If you’re like most struggling students, you can’t wait that long and would prefer to get cheaper rates now in order to save for other things — like tuition.
Here are ways in which to keep down your annual premiums as a student:
- Try to stay on mom and dad’s policy. If you still live at home, or are going to school in-state, and your parents’ 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.
- Get good grades. The good student discount for keeping up your GPA can vary from 5 percent up to 25 percent depending upon your auto insurer.
- Keep a clean driving record. Your rates will suffer if you’re involved in an accident or convicted of traffic violations, especially of a major one such as a DUI, since this shows you to be a high risk for your insurer. Because you already pay more for car insurance, the surcharges wind up bigger, too.
- Carry only state required coverages. If your car is older and you own it outright, then you can save by not carrying collision or comprehensive coverage if you can either afford to fix the car if damaged or just replace it. You may, however, want to carry higher liability limits if you have assets to protect.
- Try usage-based auto insurance programs such as State Farm’s In-Drive or Progressive’s Snapshot. You can save up to 50 percent, if you are a very 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 at all.
- Look at insurance prices in various ZIP codes when moving to attend college. Insurance companies use your ZIP code to help determine the risks you’ll represent, so where you live by your school will affect your annual auto insurance premium. Use the tool below to see average car insurance rates for different ZIP codes.
California Car Insurance Rates by ZIP CodeEnter ZIP for average rate. Then enter Age, Gender and Coverage Level for customized rate.
|MOST EXPENSIVE PER MONTH|
|90212 - Beverly Hills: $87|
|90210 - Beverly Hills: $87|
|91356 - Tarzana: $85|
|91203 - Glendale: $85|
|LEAST EXPENSIVE PER MONTH|
|96094 - Weed: $35|
|95528 - Carlotta: $36|
|96027 - Etna: $36|
|96107 - Coleville: $36|
CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average auto insurance rates for a 2017 Honda Accord for nearly every ZIP code in the United States. We calculated rates using data for up to six large carriers. Averages for the default result are based monthly insurance for a male driver, age 30, for state minimum required liability coverage. Averages for customized rates are based on drivers’ ages and gender for the following coverage levels: state minimum liability, liability of 50/100/50 and 100/300/100 with $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision. These hypothetical drivers have clean records and good credit. Average rates are for comparative purposes. Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.
— Michelle Megna contributed to this story.