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 Code

Enter ZIP for average rate. Then enter Age, Gender and Coverage Level for customized rate.
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State Minimum: Required liability coverage to drive legally in your state; some states mandate additional coverage, such as personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist. Liability Only 50/100/50: $50,000 per person/$100,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $50,000 for property damage. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others. Full Coverage 100/300/100: $100,000 per person/$300,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $100,000 for property damage; comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 deductible. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others. Comprehensive and collision pay for damage to your car.
94404 Foster City
For  30  Year Old   Male  (Type:  Liability - Minimum )
Average Monthly Premium
highest rate Highest Rate $68/mo.
lowest rate Lowest Rate $27/mo.
Compare personalized quotes from up to 20 companies in California now
90212 - Beverly Hills: $87
90210 - Beverly Hills: $87
91356 - Tarzana: $85
91203 - Glendale: $85
96094 - Weed: $35
95528 - Carlotta: $36
96027 - Etna: $36
96107 - Coleville: $36

— Michelle Megna contributed to this story.

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Contributing Writer

Prachi is an insurance writer with a master’s degree in business administration. Through her writing, she hopes to help readers make smart and informed decisions about their finances. She loves to travel and write poetry.