11 Best Car Insurance Companies for College Students in 2021
Balancing expenses as a college student has never been more challenging. For starters, the tuition fees and housing costs are higher than ever. Then there are bills to pay, in addition to food and clothing expenses. Finally, you’ll need to set some dollars aside to party hard and enjoy the privileges of youth.
Given all these outlays, the last thing you want to do is overpay for auto insurance. However, you shouldn’t settle for cheap low-quality coverage either. That’s why we decided to help you find the right car insurance for college students.
We ranked all the prominent US insurers based on their prices, customer service, and financial strength, as well as a few other important parameters. Furthermore, we got quotes in all the major university cities to determine which are the cheapest insurers. If you’re a student looking for high-quality, affordable coverage, you’ll find all the resources you need right here.
The Best and the Cheapest
Car Insurance for College Students
- The Cheapest Option: Progressive Insurance
- The Best for the Military and Their Families: USAA Insurance
- Another Cheap High-Quality Option: Geico Insurance
- Affordable with Excellent Customer Service: Erie Insurance
- Top Choice for Discounts: State Farm Insurance
The Cheapest Option: Progressive Insurance
If you want dirt-cheap premiums, Progressive should be your go-to option. No insurer can match its prices on a national level. Progressive stays affordable even if you have a couple of citations on your driving record. On top of that, you can decrease your premium even further by utilizing one of Progressive’s many discounts for students.
Nonetheless, some regional insurers, like TX Farm Bureau in Texas or Wawanesa in California, may offer better car insurance for students. Also, Progressive is quite expensive in New York City. Give Geico, Erie, and NYCM insurance a chance if you reside in the Big Apple. Finally, Progressive has average customer service scores in J.D. Power’s 2018 rankings. If you want an affordable insurer that excels in this department, take a look at Erie, Amica, and Auto-Owners.
Choose Progressive for its affordable rates, even for high-risk drivers.
Look elsewhere if you want high-quality customer service or there’s a regional insurer offering even better terms.
Another Cheap High-Quality Option: Geico Insurance
All things considered, Geico is among the best car insurance choices for college students. For starters, the company ranked among the top three cheapest options in each city we checked. Most often, it was beaten for the top spot by Progressive or a regional insurer. Additionally, Geico offers polished and user-friendly online tools, which has been particularly important for younger generations. Finally, the company is in excellent financial health, being a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
On the downside, much like Progressive and other big insurers, Geico scores only average in customer service. It gets three out of five stars in J.D. Power’s 2018 rankings in claims handling and shopping satisfaction. We should also mention that the company doesn’t offer GAP insurance or an Away-at-School student discount on their car insurance.
Choose Geico for affordable rates, no-fuss online tools, and excellent financial strength.
Look elsewhere if you want better customer service or specific optional coverages and discounts.
The Best for the Military and Their Families: USAA Insurance
USAA offers its coverage to active military personnel, employees of the Department of Defense, veterans, and their close families. If you qualify, you’re in for a treat. After all, combining military service and college can be a daunting task. You can at least find consolation in the fact that you have access to the best car insurance companies for college students on the market.
USAA excels in customer service, holding five out of five stars in J.D. Power’s 2018 national and regional rankings. On top of that, the company offers affordable prices, top-notch online tools, and a decent variety of optional coverages and discounts. Finally, as we noted in our USAA review, you can get a substantial premium reduction if you’re deployed away from your car.
Choose USAA for its superior overall performance.
Look elsewhere if you are not a member of the US army or close family.
Affordable with Excellent Customer Service: Erie Insurance
To begin with, it’s the cheapest car insurance for college students in New York City, the place with the highest concentration of students in the US. Additionally, Erie offers some terrific features, like Rate Lock®, which prevents your premium from increasing unless you make a substantial change to the policy or commit a severe violation. Finally, Erie is the highest-rated company in the 2018 J.D. Power rankings, both in claims handling and shopping satisfaction.
The only downside of Erie Auto Insurance is that the company has weak online tools and no mobile app. However, if Erie is available in your state, we urge you to give this insurer a chance.
Choose Erie for low prices and top-of-the-line customer service.
Look elsewhere if you aren’t based in one of 13 states where Erie is available.
Additional Companies Worth Considering
Auto-Owners sells its product in only 26 US states, but it’s among the best insurers we’ve reviewed. In customer service, it always scores near the top, often below Erie. Furthermore, the company has the highest possible A. M. Best financial strength rating, “A++.” This confirms Auto-Owners is capable of paying customers’ claims no matter what happens. Finally, Auto-Owners offers very competitive prices, meaning you don’t have to spend a fortune on high-quality auto insurance.
We should mention that the lack of online quotes and the limited number of optional coverages will disappoint many young customers. Nevertheless, Auto-Owners insurance remains among the best choices for car insurance for students.
Amica Mutual Insurance
Amica is another terrific choice for younger drivers. Its combination of excellent prices and top-of-the-line customer service is hard to ignore. According to our review, Amica is just a tad more expensive than Geico and Progressive, which puts it among the most affordable options in the market. If you are shopping for cheap auto insurance for students, we urge you to give this company a chance.
On top of that, Amica is right there with the very best in customer service, being the only company besides Erie to score a full five stars in J.D. Power’s 2018 claims satisfaction study. As icing on the cake, Amica offers dividend policies, which pay back a part of your premium.
Finally, unlike Auto-Owners, Amica is available nationwide. The only downside of this insurer is that it doesn’t offer as many optional coverages compared to most of the competition.
Car Insurance for College Students
in Major University Cities
According to recent research, more than 27% of US students live in the ten largest university cities. To help them find the optimal coverage, we’ve made a price comparison among six major university cities for three different age demographics. Our quotes included full coverage limits. The vehicle we listed was a 2018 Honda Accord.
Austin is home to many elite higher education facilities such as the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward’s University, Huston-Tillotson University, Austin Community College, and Concordia University.
Those looking for affordable car insurance for college students are spoiled for choice in Texas. State Farm, Progressive, AAA, and Geico all offer affordable premiums and perform excellently in our car insurance rankings. We also highly recommend TX Farm Bureau. As we noted in our review, it offers only basic car insurance options, but for low prices and high-quality customer service, you’ll struggle to do better.
Berkeley is home to the University of California–Berkeley, which is the oldest campus of the California universities. Major universities in nearby cities such as City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Academy of Art University, and Laney College are all just a drive away.
As far as car insurance prices go, Geico and Progressive are the two most affordable options. We couldn’t get Wawanesa’s quote in Berkeley. Nonetheless, if it’s available in your location, it’s among the best car insurance companies for students. Wawanesa offers low prices, first-rate customer service, and we rated it as the best car insurer in our California guide. Finally, if you can stretch your budget a little bit, Ameriprise is an excellent choice, since the company has the highest ratings in customer service out of the Californian companies we tested.
To call Miami a student town would be an understatement. There are 308,348 students attending university in Miami, which isn’t far from the total population of urban Miami (463,347). The most prominent universities are the University of Miami, Florida International University, and Florida Atlantic.
When it comes to car insurance prices, only Geico and Progressive offer affordable car insurance for college students in Miami. That’s splendid news since we ranked Geico as the top insurer in our Florida state guide. We also rated Progressive highly, especially for high-risk drivers.
New York City, New York
NYC has the highest population of students in the US (1,057,288). The major universities in the Big Apple are Columbia, NYU, CUNY, The New School, and Fordham.
Overall, New York is among the most expensive places for student car insurance plans. Nonetheless, Erie, one of the best car insurance companies in the US, also happens to be the cheapest option in New York City. We would add Geico and Progressive to our shortlist, too, since these two insurers are very affordable. Furthermore, we would also check NYCM based on its excellent scores in our New York guide.
Chicago is the third largest university town in the US, with a student population of 502,189. The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are the three most prominent universities.
The good news is that many companies offer cheap car insurance for students in Chicago. Erie is our top pick, since it’s the most affordable and it offers the highest-rated customer service. In addition, Geico, Progressive, and Travelers are all worth your attention. We should also mention that, for some strange reason, American Family prompted us to talk with an agent only regarding a quote for a 21-year-old driver. Check our Illinois state-wide study to find out more about car insurance companies in this state.
Boston and its surroundings are home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. These include Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, and Boston University.
When it comes to auto insurance for students, we had a tough time verifying prices. Liberty Mutual, Farmers, and Amica Mutual all requested that we contact an agent for a quote. Nonetheless, we managed to get quotes from Travelers, Progressive, and Geico, and all these companies offer reasonable prices. Out of these three, Geico would be our top pick. If you are not based in Boston, but some other Massachusetts tows, check our MA car insurance guide.
5 Ways to Save on Auto Insurance
for College Students
For the majority of US students, every dollar matters. To make balancing expenses easier, we decided to list all smart ways for a young driver to save on car insurance.
1. Ask a parent to list you on their policy.
This is one of the best hacks for teens and students alike to get lower car insurance rates. Insuring an inexperienced driver is expensive whichever way you cut it. However, according to a study by insure.com , having a young driver on an older driver’s policy can be twice as cheap as having them on a separate policy. Nonetheless, the seasoned driver should expect to see a 150–160% bill hike.
2. Get the discounts.
The easiest way to pay less for car insurance for college students is to qualify for one of the many discounts available. Here’s a list of the premium reductions students should utilize:
This is one of the most common discounts for younger drivers. Students aged 16 to 25 (depending on the insurer) can get a lower premium if they maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher and deliver proof to their insurance company. The exact discount ranges from 10% to 25%, depending on the insurer.
Student Away at School
A student can get a discount on car insurance if they go to a university that’s far from the place where the car is garaged. The exact minimum distance varies from 80 to 100 miles, depending on the insurer.
Bundle and Multiple Vehicle
Whether you’re buying multiple policies from the same insurer or insuring various vehicles on a single policy, you are bound to pay less. Some insurers will even offer a discount if different family members buy from the same company.
Low Usage Discount
If you don’t use your car often (most insurers require that you drive less than 8,000 miles a year), you can save from 10% to 20% on auto insurance for students.
You can always choose a program like Progressive’s Snapshot to get an even higher premium reduction. If you select to participate in such a program, the insurer will install a device in your car that measures your driving habits. It will track how fast you drive, where and when you drive, your acceleration and braking, and how often you use your vehicle. The better you score, the higher the discount you will get. The premium reduction ranges from 20% to 40%.
However, you should know that some insurers may increase your premiums if your results are subpar, while others, like American Family, will give you the same rate no matter how you score.
3. Complete a certified driving course.
Getting additional drivers’ education is an excellent way to get cheap auto insurance for students. Not only will you immediately get a discount, but you will improve your car-insurance-buying prospects for some time to come. For instance, Erie, MetLife, Allstate, The Hanover, and Liberty Mutual all accept a TeenSmartDriving program certificate, which you can complete on your computer.
4. Shop around.
The prices and the quality of car insurance vary significantly across the market. That’s why a little bit of research can benefit your nerves and your bank account.
Start your search for the best car insurance for college students by reading auto insurance reviews and insurance guides. They will help you understand which companies are the best for you and how much coverage you’ll need.
Once you’re done, make a shortlist of the companies you like the most. It doesn’t have to be long, but we recommend including at least five insurers. Then get a quote from them. An online quote takes anywhere between 8 and 20 minutes to complete. Phone calls with an agent last a little bit longer but not more than an hour. The whole ordeal shouldn’t take more than an afternoon, and you could end up saving a few thousand dollars and get higher-quality insurance.
This is especially the best way to get car insurance for college students in states where price optimization is legal. By shopping around, you demonstrate your willingness to switch to a better deal if there’s a chance. Once your insurance company realizes that, they’ll present their most competitive offer to keep you.
5. Get an older car.
Comprehensive and collision coverages amount to about 30%–60% of your total premium. These two protection plans pay for the damage to your car resulting from a covered accident or a theft and natural disaster.
If you want cheap car insurance for college students, but you do not want to compromise protection for your vehicle, getting an older and less expensive car is the way to go. For instance, if you are insuring a vehicle worth $5,000, instead of a new one that costs $25,000, your premium will be about 50% lower, depending on the state.
What Parents Need to Know
About Car Insurance for Students
1. It’s always wise to add a student to your policy.
As we discussed earlier, the total auto insurance expenses are substantially lower if you list a student on your car insurance policy than if you choose two separate policies. Nonetheless, expect your premium to more than double.
To add a student on the policy, call your insurer and go through all the details such as optional coverages and discounts. We always advise getting the full coverage, even if it means paying a little bit more. Since student car insurance plans are so expensive, shopping around at each renewal is essential to get the lowest prices.
2. If a student gets a ticket, your premiums will rise.
If you list both yourself and your student on the same policy, either driving record can trigger a premium increase. That’s why it’s best to discuss the financial burden a citation carries with the student. It’s also an excellent opportunity to teach a young adult about fiscal responsibility.
3. It’s best if your teen drives an affordable, safe car.
Forget about those high-powered sports cars. The more reliable and safe your teen’s car, the higher number of discounts they can qualify for. On top of that, if they’re getting collision and comprehensive coverage, listing them as the primary driver of an affordable used car can decrease the premium drastically.
Car insurance for college students is quite expensive, since insurance companies consider these drivers inexperienced and risky. Nonetheless, there are a couple tricks to lower your rates without sacrificing the coverage quality. Shopping around by getting quotes from affordable insurers and listing a student on the policy of a more experienced driver are no brainers.
You can decrease your premium even further by dropping coverages you don’t need or increasing your deductible. Nonetheless, we advise caution with this approach. We believe it’s better to pay a little bit more annually for reliable insurance than find yourself in a situation where you have to pay a substantial sum out of your pocket.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much is the average car insurance for a college student?
The average monthly premium is $564 for a college student. We are basing this number on the quotes we obtained from multiple insurers in the five biggest university towns. In our research, we requested full coverage quotes for three different age categories. Our reference vehicle was a 2018 Honda Accord.
2. Can a student get a discount on car insurance?
Yes, in addition to general discounts, there are a few premium reductions designed specifically for college students. For starters, there’s a Good Student Discount, which can be obtained by customers with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Additionally, there’s a discount for students who complete a certified training or who garage their car more than 100 miles away from their university.
3. What is the best way to get car insurance for college students who don’t even drive a car?
The ways to get the lowest rates in this situation are as follows:
- List the student on the policy of a more experienced driver.
- Find an insurer that offers a Student Away at School discount.
4. At what age do car insurance rates go down?
As soon as you get your license, your rate will go down with each renewal. That’s because inexperienced drivers are the most dangerous category. As you pile up miles behind the wheel, the chances of you being involved in a car accident drop drastically. Insurance companies will take that into account and offer you a lower premium.
5. What’s the right car insurance for college students away from home?
The Student Away at School discount is granted to a student listed on the policy who attends a school more than 100 miles from the place where the vehicle is garaged. The premium reduction is usually 25%.