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Icon CheckLast updated: December 20, 2023

Best College Student Auto Insurance in 2023

Best for College Students Taking a Car to School
Allstate Logo 2023

Full Coverage Averages
• Annual Premium: $2,233
• Monthly Premium: $186

Read our Allstate review.
Mileage-based plan available
Three ways to earn a student discount
X Higher-than-average rates for traditional unlimited mileage

Best for Younger College Students
State Farm Logo

Full Coverage Averages
• Annual Premium: $1,468
• Monthly Premium: $122

Read our State Farm review.
Safe driving discount specifically for young drivers
Student-away-from-home discount
X No student discount for part-time students

Best for Students With an Old Car
Geico Logo

Full Coverage Averages
• Annual Premium: $1,114
• Monthly Premium: $93

Read our GEICO review.
Cheap rates
Affiliation discount includes some Greek life organizations
X Subpar bundling discount may not be right for families

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With tuition on top of room and board, college can be expensive. You or your parents may be searching for ways to cut costs, including on auto insurance.

Insurance for college students tends to be more expensive than for older drivers because companies consider young people to be risky due to their relative lack of driving experience. But many providers also offer some serious student discounts, as long as you know where to look. Below, we dive into the car insurance providers that provide the best value for college student drivers.

Car and cell phoneOur Top Picks: Best Car Insurance for College Students

  1. Allstate – Best Insurance for College Students Taking a Car to School
    Allstate’s flexible student discount, combined with its pay-per-mile option, makes it a good choice for students who take their vehicle to school but don’t drive frequently.
  2. State Farm – Best Insurance for Younger College Students
    With low rates, a seamless mobile app, and strong customer satisfaction ratings, State Farm is a solid choice for any college student. Its rates are particularly good for 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds.
  3. GEICO – Best Insurance for College Students on Their Own Policy
    GEICO has the cheapest, most widely available insurance on the market and is a good choice for drivers buying a separate policy from their parents.

What to Consider When Buying Car Insurance for College Students

Comprehensive and Collision

If you drive an older vehicle, you might not need to purchase comprehensive and collision — typically two of the most expensive coverages. These coverages pay out the cash value of the car, minus your deductible. For example, if you’re paying an extra $1,000 annually for full coverage with a $1,000 deductible, and your car is worth less than $2,000, it’s not worth it to purchase the extra coverage.

Mileage-Based Plans

Campuses are often more walkable and better connected by public transit. If you’re using your car only occasionally, a mileage-based plan could save you money. Allstate, Nationwide, and Metromile are examples of companies that offer auto insurance programs where you pay a base rate plus a per-mile rate. These companies usually cap your daily mileage at 250, so you won’t pay a lot if you do go on a road trip.

Family vs. Individual Policy

Most often, staying on your parent’s policy will be cheaper than buying your own policy. There are some exceptions; for example, if your parents live in a particularly expensive area for car insurance or members of your household have a history of accidents or violations on their record. Note that if you want to stay on your parents’ policy, their names must be on the vehicle title.

Summary of the Best Auto Insurance for College Students

  1. 1.

    Best Auto Insurance for College Students Taking a Car to School: : Allstate

  2. 2.

    Best Auto Insurance for Younger College Students: State Farm

  3. 3.

    Best Auto Insurance for College Students on Their Own Policy: Geico

  4. 4.

    Best Auto Insurance for ROTC/Military College Students: USAA

  5. 5.

    Best Auto Insurance for High-Risk College Students: Direct Auto

Comparison of the Best Auto Insurance for College Students

Company Average annual full coverage cost for college students on a family policy Average annual full coverage cost for college students on an individual policy Student discount grade requirement Full time required for student discount Maximum age for student discount Marital requirement for student discount Other relevant discounts available
Allstate $2,233 $4,998 2.7 GPA (B-minus average) with other options to get discount No 25 Single Multi-car, student away from home, mileage-based, TeenSMART (Allstate-specific driver education)
State Farm $1,468 $4,223 3.0 GPA,

(B average),

top 20% of class, or

dean’s list/honor roll

Yes 25 None Multi-car, student away from home, driver education, Steer Clear (State Farm-specific driver education)
GEICO $1,114 $3,799 B average (3.0 GPA) Yes 25 Not stated Multi-car, driver education, membership affiliation (including some Greek life organizations)
USAA $825 $3,079 3.0 GPA,

B average,

honor roll/dean’s list, or top 20% of class

Yes 25 None Multi-car, driver education
Direct Auto $2,892 $5,572 Honor student, dean’s list,

B average, or

top 20% of class

Yes None Single Multi-car, driver education

Detailed List of the Best Auto Insurance for College Students

1. Best Auto Insurance for College Students Taking a Car to School: - Allstate

What We Like Most:

  • Three ways to earn a student discount
  • Pay-per-mile option for drivers with low mileage
  • No waiting period to purchase accident forgiveness

Between Allstate’s flexible student discount and its pay-per-mile option, it’s a good choice for students who need to take their vehicle to school. Because attending school away from home is just one way to earn its student discount, you won’t miss out on a specific away-from-home discount. And its pay-per-mile option can save occasional drivers who still need their car at school a lot of money.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Students who take their car to school
  • pro
    People who drive fewer than 10,000 miles each year
  • pro
    Students with a GPA of 2.7 or higher
  • pro
    Part-time students
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Students who want a traditional unlimited-mileage policy
  • con
    Married students

Smart Student Discount

Many companies offer student discounts, but Allstate stands out for offering several paths to earning the discount.

If you are under 25 and unmarried, you can qualify for Allstate’s Smart Student Discount if you meet any one of these three conditions:

  • You have a GPA of at least 2.7 as a full-time student (most companies require a 3.0 GPA)
  • You complete Allstate’s TeenSMART safe driving course (available in all states except Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Vermont)
  • You attend school more than 100 miles away from where your parents house the car. (Note: Your car’s title must be in the name of your parent or guardian.)

Because of its flexible nature, the Smart Student Discount can provide significant savings for many types of students. If you are a part-time student, you can still save by completing a safe driving program. If you live close to home, you can still save by getting good grades.

Such diverse options make Allstate’s student discount more compelling than other insurance providers’ offerings. Older or married students are disqualified from receiving this deal, though older, married people receive lower rates than teens in general.1

Pay-Per-Mile Insurance Coverage

Some students do not use their car on a regular basis. Perhaps you drive home a few times a semester, but you don’t need to drive to class every single day. In that case, Allstate’s pay-per-mile insurance, Milewise, may be the most affordable student option.

With Milewise, you pay a daily base rate as well as a per-mile rate instead of a preset monthly or annual premium. For instance, if your daily rate is $1.50 and you pay $.06 per mile, here’s what you might pay for insurance per month:

Average Daily Miles Driven Total Monthly Cost
5 $55.80
10 $65.10
25 $93

Allstate caps its mileage charge at 250 miles per day, so you won’t pay extra for driving a longer distance in a single day. And if you’re still on your family policy, Allstate lets you choose which vehicles are classified as pay per mile, so your parents can keep their regular policy.

For certain low-mileage students, this option can save up to 72 percent annually. Be sure to calculate how many miles you drive during your daily life as a student, on average, before you choose this plan.

Milewise is available in the following states: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C.

TIP:

If Allstate does not offer Milewise in your state, Nationwide is another major provider that has a mileage-based insurance program.

Accident Forgiveness Add-on

Part of the reason the cost of auto insurance is so high for young drivers is that they are more likely to get into an accident. According to the National Safety Council, drivers age 16 to 19 account for nearly 10 percent of drivers in crashes, despite making up only 3.6 percent of total licensed drivers. Similarly, drivers age 20 to 24 account for 13.5 percent of drivers in crashes, while representing only 7.5 percent of total licensed drivers.2

Age range Proportion of total licensed drivers Proportion of licensed drivers involved in accidents
16 to 19 3.6% 9.3%
20 to 24 7.5% 13.5%
25 to 34 17.5% 22.6%
35 to 44 17.0% 17.5%
45 to 54 16.1% 14.2%
55 to 64 17.0% 12.0%
65 to 74 13.3% 7.1%
75+ 8.0% 3.4%

After an at-fault accident, auto insurance costs typically rise by 40 to 50 percent. When you purchase accident forgiveness, your rates won’t increase after an accident, even if it was your fault.

Allstate lets you purchase this coverage right off the bat, and protection kicks in the day you sign up. Many companies require drivers to have an accident-free record for three to five years before they can purchase accident forgiveness, which may not be possible for college students, who have had their license for only a few years.

Accidents happen to even the safest of drivers, which is why we generally recommend college students and their families purchase this coverage.

2. Best Auto Insurance for Younger College Students - State Farm

What We Like Most:

  • Multiple discounts for safe driving, including one specifically for young drivers
  • Local agents
  • Discounts for multiple cars

State Farm is the nation’s largest insurance provider and has particularly good rates for students in their early college years. We like it for its easy claims process, high-quality mobile app, and multiple discounts for safe drivers.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    18- to 20-year-old college students
  • pro
    Students with safe driving habits
  • pro
    Students not taking a vehicle to school
  • pro
    Students with good grades
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Part-time students
  • con
    Students with a GPA below 3.0

Steer Clear Safe Driver Program

State Farm offers a program called Steer Clear to help young adults sharpen their driving skills and save on their premiums. To qualify for Steer Clear, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be under the age of 25.
  • Have a valid driver’s license.
  • Have zero at-fault accidents or moving violations on your record in the past three years.
  • Complete five modules in an app within six months of starting the program.
  • Complete five hours of driving in at least 10 trips.3

Once you complete the program, State Farm automatically sends your certification to your insurance agent, who will then apply a discount to your coverage. This program helps younger students improve their driving and save up to 15 percent on car insurance.

Good Student Discount

State Farm offers a solid discount for high-achieving students, but it is slightly less flexible than Allstate’s version. This discount is available if you are a full-time student under age 25 and meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are in the top 20 percent of your class.
  • You have an average grade of B or higher.
  • You have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • You made the dean’s list or honor roll the preceding semester.

Not only is this option a bit more restrictive than Allstate’s, but the grade requirements are slightly higher. Still, it represents a solid route to savings for young students who get good grades in their full-time programs.

Student Away at School Discount

If your parents list you on their State Farm car insurance policy and you don’t need to use a car while at school, you may qualify for State Farm’s Student Away at School discount. In order to participate in your program, you must meet these criteria:

  • You live at school, more than 100 miles away from home.
  • You drive your car only while visiting home during breaks.
  • You keep your car at home while at school.
  • You are under age 25.

It’s a great option for students who live on walkable campuses and want to avoid the hassle of bringing a car to school.

3. Best Auto Insurance for College Students on Their Own Policy - Geico

What We Like Most:

  • Save money with defensive driving courses
  • Cheapest rates after a speeding ticket
  • Save by installing safety equipment

With the exception of USAA (which requires a military affiliation), GEICO has the lowest rates for college students on our list. It’s a budget-friendly choice for students buying a policy separate from their family.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Students buying their own policy
  • pro
    College students with a car that is 10 years old or older
  • pro
    Students on a budget
  • pro
    Fraternity and sorority members
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Families who want to bundle home and auto insurance
  • con
    Drivers with an at-fault accident

Low Rates for Students on Their Own Policy

Students will pay more for their own policy than they would on a family policy. GEICO is known for its affordability, and its rates for college students are no exception. College students on their own policy will pay an average of $3,799 annually, which is less than the national average of $4,668.

A downside of GEICO is that the company does not underwrite its own home or renters policies, and its bundling discount is not as high as those of some other companies; however, this may be less of a concern to college students who live on campus and don’t need renters insurance.

Good Choice for Students with Old Cars

GEICO is a good choice for those planning to purchase full coverage and minimum coverage alike, though college students who drive an older car will see the biggest savings, as they can sometimes drop collision and comprehensive coverage.

Many students drive used vehicles, which are not only cheaper to insure, but may not be worth insuring with comprehensive and collision. If your car’s value is minimal and you have a high deductible, you may be better off saving the money you would spend on collision and comprehensive premiums. For example, let’s say your car is worth $3,000 and your deductible is $1,000. On average, collision and comprehensive add about $1,000 to $1,500 to your annual premium. If you pay $3,000 for these coverages over two years, then get into an accident and pay a $1,000 deductible, you’ll have shelled out $4,000 in total, which is more than the value of your car.

TIP:

You can find your car’s value online with Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.

If your vehicle is more than 10 years old, has over 100,000 miles, or is worth less than a few thousand dollars, and you have a deductible of $1,000 or more, it’s worth considering the value of comprehensive and collision coverages.

It’s important to note that if you financed your vehicle, your lender may require you to hold collision and comprehensive coverages. And keep in mind that if you drop these coverages and get into an accident or your car is stolen, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Affiliation and Good Student Discounts

GEICO offers discounts to members of over 500 organizations, including fraternities and sororities. If you’re a member of Greek life, you can check GEICO’s website to see whether you’re eligible for a discount.

GEICO’s extensive discount list also includes a 15 percent Good Student Discount for drivers who meet the following criteria:

  • Under age 25
  • Full-time student
  • B average (3.0 GPA) or higher

GEICO does not state marital requirements for the Good Student Discount, though some customers report that female drivers must be unmarried, while male drivers can be married or unmarried to qualify.

4. Best Auto Insurance for ROTC/Military College Students - USAA

What We Like Most:

  • Cheapest rates for teens on a family policy or on their own
  • Special discount for teens transitioning off their parents’ policy
  • Strong customer service and claims process

USAA has the lowest rates for college students, and with high customer and claims satisfaction scores, the company doesn’t compromise on quality of service. The company sells insurance exclusively to military members and their families.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Military or ROTC students
  • pro
    Students from military families
  • pro
    Students whose parents have USAA insurance
  • pro
    Young drivers buying their own policy for the first time
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Non-military students
  • con
    Students with a family member who was dishonorably discharged from the military

Eligibility

USAA is available only to individuals affiliated with the U.S. military and their families. This includes:

  • Active duty, National Guard, and reserve members
  • Veterans
  • Contracted cadets and midshipmen attending a U.S. Service Academy, affiliated academy preparatory school, or advanced ROTC program
  • Officer and warrant officer candidates

If you, your parent, or step-parent falls into any of these categories, you are eligible for USAA membership. If you are not in the military, your parent or step-parent must sign up for USAA before you can become a member.

The following family members are eligible:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses and widows who have not remarried
  • Children and step-children

For example, if your parent is divorced from a military step-parent and isn’t remarried, they likely qualify for USAA membership.

NOTE:

For a child of a deceased military member or veteran to be eligible for USAA, their parent must have joined USAA while still living.

The following groups are not eligible for USAA membership:

  • Siblings of military members
  • Family members of dishonorably discharged military members

Good Student Discount

USAA’s Good Student Discount has similar requirements to those of other providers. To qualify, applicants must meet these conditions:

  • You’re between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • You’re enrolled full time at a college or university.
  • You’re a high-achieving student with one of the following qualifications:
    • Top 20 percent of your class
    • B average or higher
    • GPA of 3.0 or higher
    • Honor roll or dean’s list

Note that this discount does not renew automatically. You will have to reapply each year to prove you are eligible. The discount is not available in Hawaii or North Carolina.

Family Discount for Your First Insurance Policy

If your family has had a USAA insurance policy for at least three years, you can get a legacy discount of up to 10 percent on your first individual auto insurance policy. To qualify, you must be under age 25 and have had a cleaning driving record for at least three years.

USAA’s family discount is a great value for students moving away from home who are off their family’s policy for the first time.

5. Best Auto Insurance for High-Risk College Students - Direct Auto
Direct Auto Logo

What We Like Most:

  • Low rates for high-risk drivers
  • Can pay in cash locally
  • Save money by bundling with life insurance

Insurance companies already consider young drivers risky to insure, and if you also have a DUI or another major violation, standard insurance companies may turn you down. Direct Auto specializes in high-risk auto insurance and is a good choice for college students who have trouble finding coverage elsewhere.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    College students with a DUI
  • pro
    Drivers who need an SR-22
  • pro
    Students living in one of Direct Auto’s covered states:
    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Louisiana
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Virginia
    • Washington
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Students with a good driving history
  • con
    Part-time students

Good Student Discount

Direct Auto’s Good Student Discount provides up to 10 percent off your car insurance if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You are unmarried.
  • You are a full-time student.
  • You are an honor student, are on the dean’s list, have a B average or higher (3.0 GPA), or are in the top 20 percent of your class.
  • You live in a state where Direct Auto offers the Good Student Discount: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or Washington.4

While it may be slightly less flexible than other companies’ student savings offerings, Direct Auto’s Good Student Discount is unique in that it is available for nontraditional adult students. If you are headed back to school for a career change or a master’s program, you may qualify for savings even if you are over the age of 25.

Flexible Payment Options

Direct Auto offers some of the most customizable payment options in the industry, which is helpful for college students strapped for cash or those with nontraditional income streams. The company lets you choose the day of each month on which you’d like to make your payment, helping you align it with payday.

Another way to reduce monthly costs is to elect to pay more upfront as a down payment, which could be a good option if you have the cash from a graduation gift or a paid summer internship.

Additionally, Direct Auto provides some of the most flexible ways to pay your premium. You can auto-pay online with a credit or debit card, pay by e-check, or even pay with cash at a local Direct Auto or partner location — options that can benefit students, who often have cash-based income.

Multi-Car Discount

If you plan to stay on your parents’ insurance while at school, Direct Auto’s multi-car discount can help you save up to 25 percent on your premium. The typical multi-car discount is 10 to 25 percent, placing Direct Auto’s at the top of the range. Just make sure that each vehicle on the plan is registered in the same household and to the same policyholder. And parents, learn how to add your teen to your policy.

FAQ

What is the average price of car insurance for college students?

The average annual cost of adding a college student to a family policy is $1,643, while the average cost for college students who purchase their own policy is $3,972. The amount you pay for car insurance varies depending on many factors, including your age, gender, location, and car.

Should I stay on my parents’ policy as a college student?

If your parents’ names are on your vehicle title and you share a permanent address (even if you live at school during the semester), it is likely a good idea to stay on their insurance. This can give you access to multi-car and multi-policy discounts to keep rates low if you keep your car at home during the school year. Additionally, you may benefit from your parents’ older ages or good credit scores, which tend to lower auto insurance rates.

What happens if you lie about your GPA to an insurance company?

Intentionally lying to an insurance company constitutes fraud and can result in fines, community service requirements, or even jail time. If you haven’t truly achieved the required grades, lying to achieve a good student discount is not worth the possible penalties. Instead, consider an insurance company with lower grade thresholds and multiple paths to a student discount, like Allstate, or one that doesn’t factor grades into your discount at all, like Erie. If you have achieved the required grades but are concerned about your parents viewing your transcript, you can send your transcript directly to your insurance agent.

Can I remove my child from my car insurance when they go to college?

Most car insurance providers allow you to remove a child from your plan when they leave for college as long as they are attending school at least 100 miles away. This is known as a “student away from home” discount. If your child is attending a school closer than 100 miles, insurers deem them likely to return home frequently and use the car.

Citations

  1. Auto insurance for teen drivers. Insurance Information Institute. (2023).
    https://www.iii.org/article/auto-insurance-teen-drivers

  2. Age of Driver. National Safety Council. (2023).
    https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/overview/age-of-driver/

  3. Enroll and enjoy Steer Clear® insurance savings. State Farm. (2023).
    https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/auto/discounts/steer-clear

  4. Learn About Good Student Discounts or Get a Quote. Direct Auto Insurance. (2023).
    https://www.directauto.com/why-direct/get-discounts/good-student-discount