Car insurance discounts for students

Car insurance discounts are offered directly by the car insurance company to students who can demonstrate that they pose less risk.

Zack Sigel

Zack Sigel

Published June 29, 2018

Car insurance can be pricey, but you have to have it: every state but two requires drivers to have at least the minimum amount of car insurance. In return, you get financial protection from the risk that you’ll injure a person with your car, damage their car or other property, or that your own car will be damaged or stolen.

Car insurance may be especially pricey if you’re a student. That’s because new and young drivers are charged higher rates than older and more experienced drivers. Auto insurance companies have done the math and realized that drivers with less experience are more likely to get into an accident and file a car insurance claim.

Luckily, students can get discounts on their car insurance premiums. These are offered directly by the car insurance company to students who can demonstrate that they pose less risk. Such discounts can reduce your premiums or lower your deductible, which could net you a higher payout when you file a claim. An independent broker can help students and parents compare companies and find the best savings.

Read on to learn more about what car insurance discounts for students are available.

Car insurance for college students

College students in particular may be difficult to shop for because they're in a grey area of being independent and still relying on their parents for things like insurance.

If you're a college student shopping for car insurance (or a parent shopping for a college student) it's important to know what type of insurance you need before you even start thinking about discounts.

See our guide on the best car insurance for college students to learn when a college student needs their own insurance, when they should stay on their parents' car insurance, and how to save (even more) money.

Good student discount

Every major car insurer offers a good student discount. This discount is for around 10% to 15% off your premiums, and is given to student drivers who can demonstrate that they do well in school. Both high schoolers and college students below age 25 are eligible. It helps car insurance companies know that you’re a responsible person and thus less likely to get into an accident.

You’ll need to show proof of your achievements to get the discount. Car insurance companies consider you a good student if you can show one of the following:

  • Good grades. Maintain a grade average of B or a GPA of 3.0.
  • Good standardized test scores. You’ll have to show the insurer your test scores on the SAT, ACT, or PSAT.
  • A letter signed by an administrator testifying to your academic achievements.
  • Have a class ranking in the top 20% of your class.
  • Associate degree.
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Dean’s list or honor roll.

The good student discount can often be stacked with other discounts, like the family-plan discount, to get even deeper savings.

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Good driver discount

The good driver discount applies not only to students but to all drivers who can show that they drive safely. Car insurers will look back between three to five years into your driving history to check for accidents and claims against you.

If you’re just starting out as a driver, that means you won’t be eligible, but if you can demonstrate throughout your late teens and early 20s that you’re a safe driver then you can apply as soon as you’re old enough, even if you’re still a student.

The good driver discount often doesn’t mean lower premiums for you. But it could result in a lower deductible, which is the amount you have to pay before the insurer picks up the rest of the bill. If you have a claim for $1,000 worth of damage, but a $500 deductible, the insurer is only obligated to pay for the remaining $500.

With the good driver discount, you might be able to score a lower deductible and receive more in return from a claim.

Driver’s education and training programs discount

Taking a driver’s education class can help reduce your premiums. Check with your high school or other participating organizations to see how to sign up for classes.

Many insurers, like State Farm and Geico, offer their own driver training programs. State Farm’s is called “Steer Clear” and is offered to students under age 25.

Family- and multiple-plan discount

Depending on the insurer, students may be able to get a discount on their car insurance if their parents purchase family plans from the insurer. Such multiple-plan discounts lower premium costs across the board for anyone in the family you purchase policies for, including not only students and children and your spouse but also any aunts, uncles, or cousins, and so on.

This discount can sometimes be stacked with the good student discount for additional savings.

Sorority, fraternity, and honors society discounts

Some insurers, like Geico, offer discounts to members of certain fraternities, sororities, and honors societies. Geico lists dozens of such organizations as eligible for the discount. Check with your carrier to see if they also offer a discount, and your respective frat or sorority may have additional information.

University and alumni discounts

In addition to discounts for belonging to a sorority, fraternity, or honors society, you may get a discount simply for going to certain universities or for being an alumni of one. Not every university participates in this program, but check with your insurer or university administrative office for more information.

Military discount

Some insurers offer discounts to active and reserve members of the military. Many of the armed forces go into higher education after serving, and you may be eligible for car insurance discounts once you come back from deployment. If you’re deployed now, you may be able to get lower rates simply because you’re not driving your usual car.

Ask your insurer to reduce your coverage to comprehensive coverage only, which will protect your car from theft, vandalism, and the elements. But be sure to switch it back to your normal coverage before you get behind the wheel again.

Safety equipment discount

Car insurance discounts for students are available to those who install certain safety features on their car. You can get a discount simply for having one of the following:

  • Airbags.
  • Anti-theft systems.
  • Daytime running lights.
  • Anti-lock brake systems.

Distant college student discount

If you shipped off to college so far that there’s little chance you’ll ever drive your parents’ car, you can get a discount on your car insurance. This is called the distant college student discount or the student away from school discount. It applies when you’re at a college or university at least 100 miles away from home and only likely to drive the car when you’re home for the holidays or other school breaks.

Whether you can claim the distant college student discount may depend on your age. Progressive limits the discount to students aged 22 and younger, but other insurance companies may be more lenient.

How students can keep their rates low

These discounts are not available in every case or from every insurer. If you’re a student, be prepared to higher rates than adults until you get more driving experience. Car insurance rates stay high until around age 25, after which they start dropping.

The best way to make sure you benefit from those rate drops – and get the good driver discount – is to practice safe driving while you’re young. Drive slowly when you’re younger, and always wear a seat belt, which could net you a discount in itself. Don’t drive an expensive car that you don’t particularly care about showing off. You’ll want to show the car insurance company that you’re a safe, responsible driver, and expensive cars are often more expensive and difficult to insure.