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Best cheap car insurance for college students (2022)

Car insurance is more expensive for college students, but whether they’re joining an existing policy or getting their own, young drivers can find cheap rates by comparing quotes.

Andrew Hurst

By

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|7 min read

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Our cost analysis found that GEICO is the cheapest car insurance company for most college students who are added to their family’s policy. COUNTRY Financial has the cheapest car insurance for college students who get their own coverage.

Geico Logo

Best for adding a college student to a family policy

  • Rating: 4.6/5 ★

  • Average cost: $116/month

  • Cheapest runner-up: NJM

COUNTRY Financial logo

Best for college students who get their own policy

  • Rating: 4.3/5 ★

  • Average cost: $182/month

  • Cheapest runner-up: Erie

The younger you are, the more your auto insurance will cost. That’s why it’s important for college students to compare car insurance quotes as they shop for coverage. Otherwise you could pay hundreds of dollars more each month for car insurance than you need to.

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How we found the cheapest car insurance for college students

Policygenius found the best and cheapest auto insurance for college students using rates from 130 companies. We analyzed rates, provided by Quadrant Information Services, from every ZIP code in the country for full-coverage car insurance 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.

Our picks for the cheapest college student car insurance companies are based on average rates for drivers ages 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.

We found the cost of adding a driver to an existing policy by calculating the average annual rate of decay for drivers who were 18 through 22 years old. Then, we applied these rates of change to the cost to insure a driver one year younger for each company in every state.

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.

Do college students need their own car insurance?

College students can get their own car insurance, but they don’t all have to. Car insurance for college students is $1,744 cheaper per year for drivers who stay on their family’s existing policy instead of getting their own.

You can stay on your parents’ policy while you’re away at school as long as their home is still your primary residence. You can even stay on your family’s car insurance if you bring your own vehicle to college. But when you fully move out of your parents’ home and have a new permanent address, you’ll have to get your own car insurance.

Best for college students who stay on their family’s car insurance: 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

Best for students who stay on their family’s insurance

Monthly cost of full-coverage

$116 per month

When it comes to major companies, GEICO has the cheapest car insurance for college students who are on their family’s policy. Besides its cheap rates, GEICO also is known for receiving fewer customer complaints than competitors.

The best cheap auto insurance for most college students who remain on their family’s policy is GEICO. On average, the cost of car insurance for a college student on a family plan with GEICO is $116 per month. That’s $873 cheaper than average.

In addition to having low car insurance rates for young drivers, GEICO also has a solid reputation for high-quality customer service. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, GEICO receives about one quarter fewer complaints for its service, price, and claims process than expected. [1]

A bar graph showing the cost of car insurance for college students among the cheapest companies.

While GEICO has the cheapest student car insurance quotes of any national carrier, NJM has the cheapest overall rates — but it’s only available to drivers who live in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. It’s still one of the best companies in the country, so it’s worth considering if you’re in NJM’s coverage area.

Best for college students who get their own car insurance: COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial

4.3

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.

COUNTRY Financial logo

Best for students who get their own policy

Monthly cost of full-coverage

$182 per month

COUNTRY has the best and cheapest car insurance for college students who get their own policy. COUNTRY also offers extra coverage add-ons that might be useful for students, like protection for personal belongings and roadside assistance.

College students who don’t (or can’t) remain on their family’s plan while they’re in school will pay more for car insurance, but COUNTRY’s low rates can help keep costs down. We found that car insurance from COUNTRY Financial costs college students $1,212 less than average each year.

One of the most useful add-ons COUNTRY offers is up to $800 of personal belongings coverage. This covers any property that’s stolen from your car, including laptops, cellphones, or luggage.

COUNTRY also offers up to $1,000 of roadside assistance coverage for lockout service, fuel delivery, repairs, and towing. College students can also get up to $800 for a rental car, transportation, and lodging if they’re stranded.

Bar graph showing the cost of car insurance for college students who get their own insurance.

Best 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 students who are infrequent drivers

Monthly cost of full-coverage

Depends on miles driven

Nationwide has the best per-mile insurance program (SmartMiles) of any company its size. Students can get cheaper auto insurance while at college by signing up for SmartMiles and keeping their monthly mileage low.

College students may be able to get cheap car insurance with Nationwide’s SmartMiles. Since SmartMiles is a per-mile program, your rates are based on how often you drive each month instead of a flat rate. 

If you have to get your own car insurance at college, it’s worth looking into SmartMiles, especially if you only drive your car a few times a month.

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

Best for top-rated customer service: State Farm

State Farm

3.8

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.

State Farm logo

Best for students who want highly-rated customer service

Monthly cost of full-coverage

$202/month

State Farm receives few complaints for its claims service and price, and has a large network of reps for in-person access. These features make it a good choice for college students interested in excellent customer service.

State Farm has the best customer service of any of our cheapest companies for college students. The NAIC shows that State Farm has received about 30% fewer complaints than average every year since 2019. J.D. Power’s annual claims satisfaction survey also rates State Farm’s claims process higher than its competitors. [2]

State Farm also has some of the cheapest car insurance for college students. We found that it costs $202 per month for college students to get their own policy with State Farm — that’s $967 less than average per year. Coverage costs about average for students who stay on a family policy, at $185 per month.

Cheapest car insurance for college students in every state

Along with your age, your location is one of the most important factors in determining your car insurance rates. The cheapest insurance company for college students varies by state (and even ZIP code).

State

Cheapest for adding a driver

Cheapest for their own policy

Alabama

USAA

COUNTRY

Alaska

USAA

USAA

Arizona

GEICO

GEICO

Arkansas

Farm Bureau

USAA

California

Wawanesa

Wawanesa

Colorado

National General

American National

Connecticut

General Electric Insurance

GEICO

Delaware

USAA

State Farm

District of Columbia

GEICO

Erie

Florida

UAIC

GEICO

Georgia

USAA

Auto-Owners

Hawaii

USAA

GEICO

Idaho

American National

American National

Illinois

Pekin

Pekin

Indiana

Allstate

USAA

Iowa

IMT

State Farm

Kansas

USAA

USAA

Kentucky

GEICO

GEICO

Louisiana

Farm Bureau

USAA

Maine

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners

Maryland

USAA

USAA

Massachusetts

USAA

USAA

Michigan

Farm Bureau

GEICO

Minnesota

Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau

Mississippi

USAA

USAA

Missouri

USAA

USAA

Montana

USAA

State Farm

Nebraska

Farm Bureau

Farmers Mutual of Nebraska

Nevada

GEICO

COUNTRY

New Hampshire

MMG

Auto-Owners

New Jersey

GEICO

GEICO

New Mexico

USAA

USAA

New York

GEICO

American Family

North Carolina

State Farm

GEICO

North Dakota

USAA

American Family

Ohio

Grange

USAA

Oklahoma

American Farmers and Ranchers

American Farmers and Ranchers

Oregon

USAA

COUNTRY

Pennsylvania

Nationwide

GEICO

Rhode Island

GEICO

USAA

South Carolina

State Auto

American National

South Dakota

USAA

State Farm

Tennessee

USAA

State Farm

Texas

Redpoint

Farm Bureau

Utah

Farm Bureau

GEICO

Vermont

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners

Virginia

USAA

GEICO

Washington

PEMCO

State Farm

West Virginia

GEICO

State Farm

Wisconsin

West Bend

USAA

Wyoming

USAA

USAA

Cost of full-coverage car insurance for college students, ages 18 to 22.

The best way to ensure that you’re finding your cheapest rates is by comparing quotes from more than one company. This way, you’ll be able to easily see who has the lowest rates for drivers like you — and you won’t have to worry about overpaying for coverage.

How much is car insurance for college students?

The average cost of college student car insurance for drivers who stay on their family’s car insurance policy is $189 per month, or $2,264 per year. 

Car Insurance is more expensive for students who get their own policy. We found that the cost of a separate car insurance policy for a college student with a clean driving record is $283 per month, or $3,396 per year.

Car insurance for college-aged drivers tends to get cheaper as they age — as long as they avoid accidents and tickets. We found that average rates for college students on a family policy decreased by 19% as age increased year over year, while rates for young drivers who got their own policy go down by 17% each year.

Age range of college student

Cost when staying on a family policy

Cost when getting a separate policy

18 to 19

$239

$365

19 to 20

$212

$296

20 to 21

$171

$249

21 to 22

$134

$207

Cost of full-coverage car insurance for college students, ages 18 to 22.

The reason that auto insurance for college students is so much more expensive than average is because of their relative lack of experience behind the wheel. Since students have been licensed for less time, they’re more likely to get into an accident and make a claim than older drivers.

Car insurance for college-aged drivers tends to cost less and less over time until age 25, which is when young drivers age out of the highest-risk (and most expensive) age group and start seeing normal auto insurance rates.

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Car insurance discounts for college students

The best way for college students to save on car insurance is by joining their parents’ existing policies, but most companies offer at least a few discounts specifically for full time students (which you can get whether you’re on a family policy or have your own). 

Some of the most common discounts for college students include:

Good student discount

Most car insurance companies offer this discount, and full time students can usually save on car insurance as long as they keep at least a “B” average, earn a spot on the honor roll, or score well on standardized tests. We found that college students pay $475 less per year if they qualify for a good student discount.

Companies that offer good student discounts include:

  • Allstate

  • American Family

  • COUNTRY

  • Farmers

  • GEICO

  • Liberty Mutual

  • Nationwide

  • Progressive

  • Travelers

  • USAA

Discounts for completing a defensive driving course

College students might be able to get a discount on their car insurance by completing a defensive driving course. To get this discount, drivers just usually have to take a course that’s sanctioned by their state’s DMV.

Companies that offer defensive driving course discounts include:

  • Allstate

  • American Family

  • Erie

  • GEICO

  • Liberty Mutual

  • Progressive

  • State Farm

  • Travelers

  • USAA

Usage-based discount

Most insurance companies offer significant discounts through usage-based or telematics programs (also called UBI). Usage based programs track your driving behavior for a few weeks, then award discounts for safe driving habits. College students who are cautious behind the wheel may be able to earn significant savings by opting-in to a usage based car insurance program.

Companies that offer usage-based discounts include:

  • Allstate: Drivewise

  • American Family: KnowYourDrive

  • Farmers: Signal

  • GEICO: DriveEasy

  • Liberty Mutual: RightTrack

  • Nationwide: SmartRide

  • Progressive: Snapshot

  • State Farm: Drive Safe and Save

  • Travelers: IntelliDrive

  • USAA: SafePilot

Bundling discount

If you have your own place off-campus and you have your own car insurance policy, consider bundling it with your renters insurance to save on both.

Companies that offer bundling discounts include:

  • Allstate

  • American Family

  • COUNTRY

  • Erie

  • Farmers

  • GEICO

  • Liberty Mutual

  • Nationwide

  • Progressive

  • State Farm

  • Travelers

  • USAA

Students away-from-home discount

If there’s a college student on your policy who attends school that’s at least 100 miles away and doesn’t have a car with them, you could earn a special discount since they’ll be driving less.

Companies that offer student away-from-home or distant student discounts include:

  • American Family

  • Erie

  • Farmers

  • Liberty Mutual

  • Progressive

  • Travelers

Car insurance for college graduates

Car insurance for college graduates is basically the same as car insurance for any adult — but it will probably be cheaper than car insurance for college students simply because of age, since drivers under 25 pay much higher rates.

When you sign up for car insurance, you may have to enter your education level or highest degree (along with all the other information you share). 

But things like your education and employment won’t have much of an effect on your car insurance rates, and a handful of states actually ban companies from considering drivers’ education level when setting prices. 

College graduates may qualify for some discounts that can mean cheaper car insurance, including:

  • Having a college degree: A few companies, including COUNTRY Financial, offer discounts for graduating college and holding either bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

  • Having a graduate degree: Drivers who hold a master’s degree or higher can sometimes qualify for even lower rates than someone with a two or four-year degree. It won’t affect your rates by much, though.

  • Being an alumni of certain schools: If you’re a part of an alumni network, you may be able to get an affinity discount on car insurance. There are a lot of different schools that qualify for these discounts, so there’s a good chance yours will be included.

  • Being a member of a Greek organization: Graduates who were a part of a fraternity or sorority during their college years may qualify for affinity discounts from some insurance companies.

  • Being part of a professional organization: Being a member of certain professional groups, like the American Bar Association, can earn you affinity discounts with partnering insurance companies.

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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 average rates, coverage options, and national availability. Depending on what you’re looking for, we also recommend USAA, American Family, and Nationwide to college students.

Why is car insurance so expensive for college students?

College students pay more for car insurance because they’ve often been licensed for a shorter period of time than their older counterparts. This means they’re more likely to get into accidents and make claims than other 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.

Can you insure your child’s car if they don’t live with you?

Parents can insure their child’s car as long as the student is a part of their parents’ household. Once they’re no longer a part of their parents’ household, they have to get their own policy.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    . "

    Complaint Index

    ." Accessed September 22, 2022.

  2. J.D. Power

    . "

    Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Study

    ." Accessed September 22, 2022.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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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.

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