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The average college student spent more than $35,000 in 2021-2022 for one year of tuition and fees. That does not include other costs of living, such as room and board, travel, clothing, and cell phone bills, so it’s easy to see why college students struggle to cover additional expenses. And car insurance can be a big additional expense.
In the search for cheap car insurance for college students, we analyzed data from more than 20 notable national brands to find the 6 companies recommended here, comparing average premiums, the availability of student discounts, customer satisfaction, and more.
Below you'll find auto insurance offers available from our advertising partners, followed by our complete in-depth list of the best car insurance companies we've found for college students.
Best Car Insurance for College Students of 2023
- Best Overall: Allstate
- Best Cheap Car Insurance: GEICO
- Best Discounts for Students: State Farm
- Best for Infrequent Drivers: Metromile
- Best Family Policy: Auto-Owners Insurance
- Best for Military Members: USAA
- Our Top Picks
- State Farm
- Auto-Owners Insurance
- See More (3)
Best Overall : Allstate
Why We Chose It
Allstate is the 4th largest auto insurance provider in the nation. With 10.4% of the market share, it’s no surprise that Allstate provides thorough coverage and significant discounts for college students.
Pros and Cons
Coverage and discounts specifically for college students
User-friendly mobile app
Premiums are higher than what some competitors offer
As one of the leading car insurance companies in the nation, Allstate offers everything from bare-bones coverage to a full package. Some of Allstate’s perks include a roadside assistance package that includes towing, battery restart, and help with a flat tire. Allstate also offers rideshare insurance, which is useful for students who drive for a Transportation Network Company (TNC), such as Uber or Lyft.
In addition to its array of coverages, Allstate offers some helpful discounts, including:
- A Smart Student Discount of up to 25% for those who maintain a B average, successfully complete the teenSMART educational program, or attend college at least 100 miles from where their car is garaged;
- The Milewise Program bases premiums on the number of miles you drive per month, which ultimately can save college students who live on campus a lot of money.
Allstate maintains an A+ (Superior) rating of financial strength from AM Best. and the company received above-average ratings from J.D. Power's 2021 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
While Allstate offers online insurance quotes, those interested in getting coverage will need to do so through one of its 15,000 local agents. If you’d rather have an exclusively online experience, you still can get many of the same benefits of Allstate through Esurance, its partner company.
Read our full Allstate car insurance review.
Best Cheap Car Insurance : GEICO
Why We Chose It
For college students looking to snag cheap car insurance, GEICO is hands down the best option out there. With some of the lowest average premiums in the industry, GEICO stands by its claim that 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
Pros and Cons
High customer satisfaction ratings
Roadside assistance, mechanical breakdown coverage, and renters insurance available
Limited access to local agents
GEICO offers an array of coverage amounts and types. In addition to all of the standard car insurance policies, GEICO offers emergency roadside assistance, mechanical breakdown coverage, along with renters and homeowners insurance.
In addition to its comprehensive coverage, GEICO offers a list of nearly 20 discounts for eligible policyholders. While the only discount specifically for college students is the 15% Good Student discount, students still can benefit from the regular discounts, including those for cars equipped with safety features and discounts for customers who bundle GEICO policies or stay with the company for years.
In terms of financial stability and customer service, GEICO consistently receives high ratings from both its customers and industry experts. The company maintains an A++ rating in financial strength with AM Best. Furthermore, J.D. Power awarded GEICO with the top spot in its 2021 Insurance Shopping Study.
However, students with a troubled driving record, such as a history of speeding tickets, may have trouble obtaining GEICO coverage, so it’s best to obtain an online quote before planning to switch.
Read our full GEICO car insurance review.
Best Discounts for Students : State Farm
Why We Chose It
State Farm is the number one private passenger auto insurance company in the U.S., with a 16.2% share of the market in 2020. College students can benefit from the company’s Good Student and Student Away at School discounts, which can net more than 25% savings on annual car insurance rates for students younger than 25.
Pros and Cons
Specific discounts for college students
Rideshare insurance available
Required to work through local agents
State Farm car insurance for college students is currently available in 48 states and Washington, D.C. And as you’d expect from the largest insurance company in the nation, State Farm offers the most common types of auto insurance. In addition, it offers emergency roadside assistance, rental car and travel expense reimbursement, and rideshare insurance for Lyft and Uber drivers.
Besides its array of coverages, State Farm offers a number of discounts to help make its competitive rates even better. In particular, college students can save the most money, thanks to the company’s impressive 25% Good Student Discount for eligible high school and college students who maintain good grades. State Farm also offers a Student Away Discount that gives families even more savings when they insure a college student who uses the car only when they’re not away at school. Finally, State Farm’s Steer Clear discount can save drivers younger than 25 additional money if they maintain a clean driving record.
State Farm also receives high marks for financial health and customer service. It maintains a top rating from AM Best, which measures how financially sound insurers are. The J.D. Power 2021 Auto Insurance Study placed the company third for the Mid-Atlantic and first for the New York regions, and average or above for most of the other regions.
However, State Farm doesn’t work like most other corporate insurance providers who offer insurance through a central headquarters. Instead, State Farm wants to provide its advertised “good neighbor” experience by having all of its insured drivers work through a local agent. This can be a deal-breaker for college students who end up hundreds of miles from home for their studies.
Read our full State Farm car insurance review.
Best for Infrequent Drivers : Metromile
Why We Chose It
Metromile is a California-based car insurance provider that specializes in policies for drivers who travel fewer than 10,000 miles per year. While this makes its service a very niche market, Metromile is a viable option for college students who don’t drive frequently while on campus.
Pros and Cons
Premiums based on your actual driving time
Useful smartphone app
Only available in eight states
Not ideal for students who drive back and forth to campus
Metromile offers all of the standard types of car insurance coverage with a slight twist: Your rate is based on your driving time each month. How? The company charges you a base rate and a small fee per mile. All you do is install Metromile’s Pulse device in your car, then use the smartphone app, available for both Apple (4.7 stars) and Android (4.0 stars) devices, to track your mileage.
In addition to this unusual payment structure, Metromile offers many perks, including roadside assistance, towing coverage, rental car reimbursement, and a $0 deductible on glass repairs. Its smartphone app can help you locate your parked vehicle and gives you updates on your car’s health, which is especially beneficial to college students, who may not know a lot about car maintenance.
As Metromile charges you based on your actual driving time, the company doesn’t offer a lot of additional discounts. Still, it does cap your per-day max cost at 250 miles (150 miles in New Jersey), so customers never have to worry about excessive fees for occasional road trips.
Metromile is not rated by J.D. Power or AM Best. However, the company has received a 3.8 out of 5-star ("great") rating on Trustpilot. Metromile also holds a 4.4 out of 5 stars (“excellent”) rating for financial strength from Consumer Advocate.
Unfortunately, Metromile is available in only eight states: Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. Further narrowing the field, Metromile’s device requires an on-board diagnostic port, so only drivers with a vehicle from model year 1996 or later qualify.
Read our full Metromile car insurance review.
Best Family Policy : Auto-Owners Insurance
Why We Chose It
With more than 100 years in the industry, Auto-Owners Insurance is one of the longest-standing car insurance providers in the United States. Although coverage is available in only 26 states, its student discounts and add-ons provide a useful option for college kids still on their parents’ insurance plans.
Pros and Cons
Specific discounts for college students
Long-standing history of customer satisfaction
Good add-on policies
Available in only 26 states
Limited options for tech-savvy customers
Auto-Owners offers the standard car insurance products most drivers are seeking, plus a number of coverage perks, such as roadside assistance, towing coverage, rental car reimbursement, and diminished car value coverage.
In particular, Auto-Owners offers an add-on policy called the Personal Automobile Plus Package. It includes coverage for stolen personal items in your vehicle, identity theft, cell phones lost or damaged during a wreck, and more. For families worried about theft or damage to a car sitting on campus, this can be a helpful add-on.
Like most other car insurance companies on this list, Auto-Owners offers several discounts. What’s more, some of its biggest discounts apply directly to college students. The company’s Good Student Discount saves students with a B average or better up to 20%, and the Student Away at School Discount offers additional savings for students who attend school more than 100 miles from home without a vehicle.
In addition to useful coverage and multiple discounts, Auto-Owners also has decent customer satisfaction ratings. J.D. Power places it above the industry average for claims satisfaction in the 2021 Insurance Shopping Study and above average in four regions in which it operates in the 2021 Auto Insurance Study. It was rated below average in the Florida region. The company is rated A+ by AM Best for financial health.
One area in which Auto-Owners doesn’t shine is its tech options. The company has a decent website with some customer access, but it doesn’t offer a smartphone app. Auto-Owners also operates in only 26 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Read our full Auto-Owners car insurance review.
Best for Military Members : USAA
Why We Chose It
For college students who served in the military, are enrolled in an ROTC program, or are the children or spouses of military members, current or former, USAA car insurance offers some of the industry’s lowest premiums along with outstanding customer service. Indeed, J.D. Power rated USAA as one of its top carriers nationwide based on claims satisfaction.
Pros and Cons
Great website and mobile app
Coverage limited to current and former military and their families
No local agent network
USAA offers the required minimum car insurance for college students. The company also provides additional coverage, such as 24/7 roadside assistance, towing coverage, and rideshare insurance for Lyft and Uber drivers.
As USAA also offers banking services and health insurance, among other products, it gives preoccupied college students who need to keep everything organized in one place a one-stop shopping opportunity.
USAA offers significant discounts, although it doesn’t have many discounts specifically for students. One it does have is the Good Student discount and a Family Discount of 10% for insured members who start their own policies after being covered by their parents' USAA auto policy.
Although USAA’s coverage spans all 50 states, enrollment is exclusive for military members and their spouses and children. However, USAA does include ROTC members in its eligibility list, so students who plan to join the armed forces upon graduation still can save with USAA while they go to college.
USAA car insurance consistently receives top marks for its customer service and claims satisfaction. J.D. Power gave USAA one of the highest ratings, 909 out of 1,000 points, on its 2021 Claims Satisfaction Survey, and U.S. News & World Report lists USAA as its number one pick for car insurance in 2021. (Note: GEICO, Allstate, and State Farm also were rated highly by U.S. News.)
Read our full USAA car insurance review.
Compare the Best Car Insurance for College Students
|Company||Purchasing Options||Available Discounts||Other Available Coverage|
|Online, phone, local agent||11||Home, renters, life, health, pet, disability, boat, RV, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, roadside assistance|
Best Cheap Car Insurance
|Online, phone, local agent||16||Home, renters, life, health, pet, disability, boat, RV, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, business owner’s, commercial auto, roadside assistance|
Best Discounts for Students
|Online, phone, local agent||Varies by state||Home, renters, life, health, pet, disability, boat, RV, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, roadside assistance|
Best for Infrequent Drivers
|Online, phone||Not disclosed||Rental car, roadside assistance|
Best Family Policy
|Local agent||13||Home, renters, life, pet, disability, boat, RV, farm, flood, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, business owner’s, commercial auto|
Best for Military Members
|Online, phone, local agent||12||Home, renters, rental property, life, small business|
How to Choose the Best Car Insurance for College Students
Should You Purchase Car Insurance as a College Student?
Car insurance can not only serve as valuable financial protection, but it’s also required in most U.S. states. Minimum coverage amounts can vary by state; for instance, personal injury protection coverage is only required in certain states. But in general, purchasing car insurance is both important and necessary.
As a college student, auto coverage can help safeguard your savings if you’re involved in an accident. Whether you or another driver is at fault, the right insurance can help cover the cost of damage to your vehicle or another person’s vehicle, medical bills, property damage, and more.
How to Compare Car Insurance for College Students
As you shop around for auto policies, consider these factors to determine the best coverage for your needs.
- Coverage types: While most insurance providers offer collision and comprehensive coverage, reviewing the types of coverage available is still important as you shop. This is especially true if you’re looking for specialized coverage like roadside assistance or rideshare insurance.
- States available: Some providers only offer coverage in certain states. Ensure the insurer you’re thinking about working with issues policies where you live.
- Cost: The cost of policy premiums is an important factor, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Remember that drivers under age 25 may pay higher premiums than older drivers.
- Discounts: Many insurers offer general discounts for bundling policies and safe driving, but some also offer special discounts for college students. For instance, you may be able to get a discount for maintaining a certain GPA or being under 25 and having no at-fault accidents.
- Ratings: Look at company ratings before you get a policy. Doing so can give you some insight into whether the company is financially sound or how it’s regarded by customers. For instance, if an insurer has a high AM Best rating, it’s generally financially stable. And a high rating from J.D. Power can indicate a high level of customer satisfaction.
Selecting a Car Insurance Company
Since different insurers offer different coverage options, availability, premium costs, and more, shopping around for a policy that meets your needs is important. The providers we’ve chosen here reflect some of the best options for college students, whether you’re looking for special discounts or inexpensive premiums.
After you’ve found the right coverage for you, it’s time to apply for a policy. Generally, you’ll be able to start this process online, though certain insurers may require that you speak to a local agent to complete an application. Once you have a new policy, you can typically manage your account and make payments online or through your provider’s mobile app.
How Much Is The Average Car Insurance for College Students?
Car insurance rates typically are based on several factors, including the driver’s age, driving history, credit score, and geographic location. Insurance rates can change drastically based on the specifics of the vehicle you’re insuring and the coverage amounts you select.
Because of those factors, car insurance costs fluctuate from customer to customer. However, costs can be considerably higher for new drivers and college-age individuals.
What Does Car Insurance Cover?
While there always are some exceptions to the rule, most car insurance policies will cover the following:
- Damage to your car and other vehicles involved in an accident with you, which falls under property liability and collision coverage
- Injuries to yourself or others involved in an accident with you, which falls under bodily injury liability and personal injury protection
- Theft and other damages to your vehicle that happen when parked or not moving, which falls under comprehensive coverage
- The current value of your vehicle in the event of a total loss
Some of the listed coverages are optional in some states, so it’s important to have a thorough knowledge of your coverage selections when enrolling in an auto insurance policy. Furthermore, it’s important to know that car insurance does not cover repairs, vehicle maintenance, vehicle interiors, and after-market and nonstandard parts unless specified in the policy.
Do College Students Need Car Insurance?
Pretty much anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle at any time is required to carry car insurance, as all but two states require some form of it. Even if a student only plans to drive a family vehicle when home from college on break, that student needs to be on a car insurance policy.
Warning: Some colleges and universities do not permit freshman students to park a car in campus parking lots. Check your school's policy ahead of time.
Do College Students Get Discounts on Car Insurance?
Although exact discounts vary among car insurance providers, many companies do offer discounts that specifically apply to college students. A popular one is a discount for being a good student, which provides a rate reduction for students who maintain a certain grade point average. Furthermore, some car insurance companies offer discounts for college students who attend college away from home and drive a family vehicle only occasionally.
Can College Students Stay on Their Parents' Insurance?
In some cases, college students can remain on a car insurance policy with their parents. This can save significant amounts of money, but families need to make sure their situations meet the eligibility requirements.
If a student is living at home and driving a car that’s titled to a parent, then they can typically stay on their parents' car insurance policy. This often applies to students who stay in a dorm during the school year or attend school out of state. However, if the name on the vehicle’s title is that of the student and their primary address is not the same as their parents’ primary residence, many car insurance companies will not allow students to remain on a family policy. Always check with the company you use before assuming anything about your policy and what is or is not allowed.
Although car insurance for college students can cost a pretty penny, there are ways to save money on it. While we highly recommend the six insurance providers on this list, drivers always should compare rates before selecting a car insurance provider.
When choosing the best car insurance for college students, we compared average premiums and student discount rates for nearly 20 different car insurance companies. In addition to average annual premiums, we also considered other factors critical to the customer, like regional availability, financial stability, and customer satisfaction.
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