Best and cheapest auto insurance for college students in 2022

GEICO is the cheapest auto insurance for most college students, but you can also get affordable coverage from other companies depending on your needs.

Logan SachonAndrew Hurst

By

Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Senior Managing Editor, News & Research

Logan Sachon is the senior managing editor of news and research at Policygenius, where she oversees our insurance and financial news, surveys, and data studies. Previously, she co-founded The Billfold, a groundbreaking personal finance site for millennials named one of TIME's 25 best blogs of the year.

&Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Updated|6 min read

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The younger you are, the more you’ll pay for car insurance, which is why it can be hard for many college students to find affordable coverage. But there are a few companies that offer cheap auto coverage to younger drivers.

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We found that USAA had the cheapest car insurance rates for college students, but since it’s only open to members of the military and their families, GEICO is our pick for the cheapest company for most college students.

All our picks for the cheapest car insurance for college students are:

How we chose the best cheap car insurance for college students

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Policygenius found the best and cheapest auto insurance for college students using rates from 130 companies. We analyzed rates from every ZIP code in the country, provided by Quadrant Information Services. These rates reflect the combined mean cost of full-coverage car insurance for drivers ages 18 and 21, with the following limits:

  • Bodily injury liability: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $50,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible
  • Collision: $500 deductible

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

We determined the best companies by considering price, along with customer service quality and coverage options. To judge customer service, we used each company’s J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Study score and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ complaint index.

Cheapest auto insurance for college students

Our cost analysis found that GEICO is the cheapest auto insurance company for most college students, since it’s so widely available. While USAA is the overall cheapest auto insurance for college students, only military families qualify for coverage, so it’s not an option for most people.

With GEICO, car insurance for college students is $201 per month (or $2,160 per year), which is 43% less than average. Young drivers can also find cheap rates from Erie and COUNTRY, though these companies aren’t available in every state.

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There are a few companies that offer college students cheap auto insurance, but rates can be very expensive with other providers. We found that the most expensive companies charged $612 per month more than the cheapest option, which is a lot on a student budget. 

This is why it’s important to compare the cost of car insurance from multiple companies before buying. Here’s what college-aged drivers pay for coverage at 25 of the top car insurance companies:

RankCompanyMonthly cost
1USAA$180
2COUNTRY Financial$187
3Erie$193
4GEICO$201
5State Farm$210
6NJ Manufacturers$221
7American Family$223
8Auto-Owners Insurance$223
9Farm Bureau$233
10Travelers$266
11MAPFRE$267
12Kemper$285
13Nationwide$304
14Shelter Insurance$316
15The Hartford$350
16Allstate$350
17National General$370
18Amica$396
19CSAA$415
20Progressive$434
21Farmers$446
22Auto Club Group$447
23Sentry Insurance$547
24Mercury Insurance$619
25Hanover$792

Monthly costs of car insurance for college-age drivers, ages 18 and 21.

What are the best cheap college student car insurance companies?

Depending on what you’re looking for in an insurance provider, the best car insurance company for you may be different than the best pick for another driver. This is why we found a few of the best (and most affordable) companies for different types of college students.

Choose a company from the list to skip ahead and learn more about it. 

Cheapest car insurance for most college students: GEICO

GEICO

4.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

GEICO logo

Cheapest insurance for most college students

Thanks to its national availability, GEICO is the best cheap car insurance for most college students — though it’s not the absolute cheapest.

Since it’s available in every state and the District of Columbia, GEICO is our pick for the cheapest car insurance for most college students. The cost of coverage from GEICO is $201 per month, which is 37% less than average.

GEICO’s cheap rates for college students means young drivers can add on additional coverage options, like rental car reimbursement and emergency roadside assistance coverage, or mechanical breakdown protection for expensive repairs.

Along with low rates for college students, GEICO also has respectable customer service. J.D. Power rated GEICO’s claims satisfaction above  industry average. [1] And the company receives few complaints for service quality, according to the NAIC. [2]

Cheapest car insurance for college students looking for discounts: American Family

American Family Insurance

4.2

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

American Family Insurance logo

Best for students who want discounts

American Family has cheaper-than-average rates and a long list of discounts that students can use to get even cheaper auto insurance.

American Family has the most useful discounts of any of the cheapest car insurance companies for college students. Without any discounts, insurance for college students from American Family is still 30% cheaper than average.

There are five useful discounts that American Family offers to college students and their families, along with a dozen other discounts. Savings specifically for students and their families include:

  • Remaining a good student

  • Completing the TeenSafeDriver driving course

  • Living away from home while attending college (without a car)

  • Volunteering at least 40 hours per year

  • Having parents who are also American Family policyholders

Another reason why American Family is one of the best companies for college students is the company’s high-quality customer service. American Family receives very few complaints from its customers, and J.D. Power ranks it highly compared to competitors.

Cheapest car insurance for college students who don’t drive often: Nationwide

Nationwide

4.1

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Nationwide logo

Best for infrequent drivers

Nationwide’s SmartMiles program makes the company the best choice for college students who don’t drive very much.

College students looking for cheap car insurance should consider Nationwide, especially if they don’t drive often. With Nationwide’s SmartMiles per-mile car insurance, college students can pay for every mile they drive instead of a regular monthly rate. This could mean significantly lower rates for infrequent drivers.

Nationwide also allows drivers who sign up for SmartMiles to save up to 10% on the cost of car insurance when they renew their policy — as long as they weren’t in any accidents during the last policy’s term. SmartMiles drivers can also get a road-trip exception and avoid paying for trips longer than 250 miles.

Even for drivers who drive more frequently, Nationwide remains a good choice for cheap car insurance for college students. We found that Nationwide’s auto insurance rates for a typical college student were still 5% less than average.

Cheapest car insurance for college students in the military: USAA

USAA

4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

USAA logo

Best for students in the military

Auto insurance rates with USAA were 43% lower than average, but coverage is only available to members of the military and their families.

USAA is the best cheap car insurance for college students who have a military connection. USAA’s average rates for college-aged drivers are just $180 a month which makes it the cheapest auto insurance option college students, as long as they qualify.

Tech-savvy college students who are good drivers can save even more with USAA’s SafePilot discount. When you download the SafePilot app, your driving is electronically monitored for a short period, and you can receive a discount of up to 30% if you drive safely during this time.

Unlike other companies, USAA doesn’t offer many ways to upgrade a basic policy besides adding rental reimbursement and roadside assistance coverages. However, for its low rates and affiliate discounts on retail, travel, and car care products, USAA is still a great choice for students in the military or who are part of military families.

Cheapest car insurance for college students in every state

USAA is the cheapest car insurance for college students in 18 states (but, as we mentioned, only military families are eligible). GEICO, our pick for the overall best car insurance for college students is the cheapest option in 12 states.

Your location is one of the most important factors that determine your rates.We found that USAA has the cheapest average rates in the U.S., at $180 a month for coverage for college-aged students. But the cheapest company in your state could be less (or more) depending on where you live.

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StateCheapest companyMonthly cost
AlabamaGEICO$146
AlaskaUSAA$151
ArizonaGIECO$124
ArkansasUSAA$161
CaliforniaWawanesa$140
ColoradoAmerican National$130
ConnecticutGEICO$177
DelawareUSAA$202
District of ColumbiaUSAA$189
FloridaGEICO$264
GeorgiaUSAA$170
HawaiiGEICO$70
IdahoAmerican National$88
IllinoisPekin$134
IndianaUSAA$105
IowaState Farm$125
KansasUSAA$169
KentuckyGEICO$191
LouisianaUSAA$221
MaineAuto-Owners Insurance$111
MarylandUSAA$144
MassachusettsUSAA$170
MichiganGEICO$160
MinnesotaFarm Bureau$149
MississippiUSAA$135
MissouriUSAA$112
MontanaUSAA$162
NebraskaFarmers Mutual of Nebraska$176
NevadaGEICO$162
New HampshireAuto-Owners Insurance$121
New JerseyGIECO$171
New MexicoUSAA$137
New YorkAmerican Family$167
North CarolinaGEICO$95
North DakotaUSAA$153
OhioUSAA$117
OklahomaAmerican Farmers and Ranchers$152
OregonCOUNTRY Financial$130
PennsylvaniaGEICO$172
Rhode IslandState Farm$184
South CarolinaAmerican National$114
South DakotaKemper$175
TennesseeGEICO$139
TexasFarm Bureau$134
UtahGEICO$147
VermontAuto-Owners Insurance$127
VirginiaGEICO$139
WashingtonPEMCO$211
West VirginiaUSAA$164
WisconsinUSAA$109
WyomingAmerican National$161

Monthly costs of car insurance for college-age drivers, ages 18 and 21.

Cost of car insurance for college students

The average cost of car insurance for college students is $318 per month, or $3,820 per year. Auto insurance for college students costs $181 more each month than the average driver pays. But it’s far cheaper to add a student to an existing policy than it is for them to get separate coverage.

The most expensive state for car insurance for college students is Louisiana, where drivers pay an average $583 each month for coverage. Hawaii has the cheapest auto insurance for college students, where coverage costs just $105 each month.

This is thanks to Hawaii’s restrictions on insurance companies using a driver’s age to set their rates, which means younger drivers don’t pay significantly more than older ones.

StateMonthly costAnnual cost
Alabama$366$4,397
Alaska$252$3,020
Arizona$318$3,811
Arkansas$337$4,047
California$308$3,698
Colorado$325$3,905
Connecticut$389$4,669
Delaware$426$5,112
District of Columbia$374$4,490
Florida$524$6,290
Georgia$351$4,213
Hawaii$105$1,263
Idaho$234$2,812
Illinois$278$3,341
Indiana$213$2,557
Iowa$193$2,320
Kansas$290$3,476
Kentucky$412$4,941
Louisiana$583$7,001
Maine$232$2,786
Maryland$372$4,469
Massachusetts$373$4,477
Michigan$448$5,374
Minnesota$236$2,833
Mississippi$320$3,843
Missouri$294$3,526
Montana$374$4,492
Nebraska$288$3,460
Nevada$420$5,038
New Hampshire$262$3,148
New Jersey$472$5,661
New Mexico$276$3,311
New York$379$4,546
North Carolina$142$1,702
North Dakota$264$3,163
Ohio$208$2,497
Oklahoma$371$4,449
Oregon$281$3,374
Pennsylvania$326$3,916
Rhode Island$422$5,067
South Carolina$337$4,044
South Dakota$277$3,319
Tennessee$278$3,331
Texas$358$4,301
Utah$316$3,797
Vermont$224$2,684
Virginia$268$3,221
Washington$326$3,913
West Virginia$332$3,986
Wisconsin$219$2,623
Wyoming$268$3,221

Monthly costs of car insurance for college-age drivers, ages 18 and 21.

College student car insurance discounts

Most companies — and all of the 10 cheapest providers — offer a few special car insurance discounts for college students. The most common ways that college students can use discounts to lower their car insurance costs are by:

  • Keeping up a GPA of a “B” or higher

  • Living at least 100 miles away from home while at college (without a car)

  • Completing a teen safety course or monitored telematics course

Many companies also offer more general discounts for young drivers. For example, Erie offers drivers a discount just for being a younger driver without any accidents, while American Family offers a discount for college students who volunteer at least 40 hours a year.

CompanyGood studentYoung driverAway-from-homeTeen safety courseVolunteer
American FamilyYesYesYesYesYes
Auto-Owners InsuranceYes YesYes
COUNTRY FinancialYes Yes
Erie YesYes
GEICOYes Yes
Farm BureauYes Yes
TravelersYes Yes
USAAYes
State Farm Yes
NJ ManufacturersYes

Cheapest overall auto insurance companies for college students, ordered by number of discounts. Availability of discounts may vary in your area.

How college students can save on car insurance

The best way that college students can save on car insurance is by joining their parents’ existing policies. The average cost of auto insurance for college students who get their own policies is $318 per month but adding a younger driver to an existing policy is usually much cheaper.

Besides staying on your parents’ policy and looking for discounts for  college-age drivers, you could also do the following to save money:

  • Sign up for usage-based insurance: Most insurance companies offer safe drivers the chance to save money with usage-based or telematics programs, like Drivewise, Snapshot and SmartRide. When you sign up, your driving behavior is monitored for a few weeks and then you can earn a discount for safe driving habits. Usually these types of discounts are among the most substantial that companies have.

  • Bundle your auto and renters insurance: If you have your own place off-campus, bundle your auto and renters insurance with the same company to save on both.

  • Shop around before buying: Because the cost of auto insurance for college students can vary so much by company and state (and even by city), you should compare quotes from different companies in your area before buying. This way, you can be sure you found the best price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who has the best car insurance for college students?

GEICO is the best car insurance for most college students thanks to its cheap rates, coverage options, and national availability. Depending on what you’re looking for, we also recommend USAA, American Family, and Nationwide to college students.

Can college students get discounts on car insurance?

Yes, many car insurance companies offer discounts to college students. Drivers can get lower rates by keeping a high GPA, living away from home at college and not driving, and by completing safety courses for young drivers.

Can college students stay on their parents' car insurance?

Yes, if you’re a college student you can stay on your parents’ car insurance policy as long as you’re living at your parent’s house. When you move to your own apartment or house and have your own car, you’ll have to get your own car insurance policy.