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Car insurance for college students

Here’s what you need to know about car insurance for college students, including what types of coverage are necessary, how much you can expect to pay and which companies sell policies to college kids.

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Our rates are based on public rate filings obtained by analytics company First Interpreter. While we may partner with some of the carriers you see on our site, we maintain editorial independence and it does not affect the rates you see. Read more about our rating methodology or see our rigorous editorial policy. 

Written by Alyssa DiCrasto

Reviewed by Rob Deming

Last updated: February 26th, 2024

Best car insurance for college students

If you’re getting ready to start college, and you’re bringing a car to campus, it’s important to get your car insurance in order before the semester starts. College students have different car insurance needs, especially if you’re going to school out-of-state.

What type of insurance is for young adults?

Young adults who are entering college with a registered vehicle are legally required to carry car insurance. Whether you need a car to drive to campus every day, or only need a car on weekends, a minimum amount of car insurance is required in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia. 

In most states, college students must carry personal liability insurance, which covers bodily injury and property damage. Personal liability insurance applies when you cause an accident and the other driver suffers losses, like medical bills or vehicle damage. Liability insurance does not provide any protection for you or your vehicle after a collision.

In addition to liability insurance, college students can often benefit from other types of coverage. Here are some additional car insurance policies that college students might consider for some extra protection and peace of mind:

  • Collision insurance: Collision insurance pays for your own vehicle’s repairs after an accident that you are responsible for. Most collision policies provide a payout for the cost of repairs, up to your car’s actual cash value (ACV), minus a deductible.
  • Comprehensive insurance: Comprehensive insurance pays for your vehicle’s repairs after a non-collision event, such as theft, vandalism, flooding or hail damage. Comprehensive insurance also often covers the cost of repairs based on your car’s ACV, less your deductible.
  • Medical payments insurance: Along with collision and comprehensive insurance, medical payments insurance is included with a full coverage policy. It pays for your and your passenger’s medical bills if you sustain injuries in a collision. Medical payments insurance applies regardless of which driver was responsible for the crash.
  • Gap insurance: Gap insurance is beneficial (and sometimes required) if you bring a leased or financed car to college. If the car is totaled before it’s paid off, this policy covers the difference between the car’s diminished value and what you still owe.
  • Personal injury protection: There are 12 states that are considered “no-fault” states. In no-fault states, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their minimum coverage policy. PIP pays for your and your passenger’s medical bills after an accident, regardless of which driver was responsible. You can sometimes get PIP as an endorsement in states that don’t require this policy.

What is the best insurance for a college student?

The best insurance for a college student is different for every driver. Some drivers want the extra protection of a full coverage policy, while others can settle for a minimum coverage policy. In addition, every driver has their own criteria for what they want in an insurance company. Some drivers want the lowest rates, some want the best customer service, and others are looking for the best discounts. 

To find the best car insurance for college students, take our quick start quiz. Answer just five questions to get matched with several top providers in your area who are likely to give you the best rates. Click “get a quote” or call to get started and find an insurance provider that meets your unique needs.

For a deeper look into car insurance for college students, visit one of the guides below to see data, insights, and recommendations specific to the age you’re most interested in:

Average cost of car insurance for college students

The cost of car insurance for college students depends on a variety of factors, but one of the biggest is age. Because college students are still newly licensed in the eyes of an insurance company, they pose more risk than older drivers. Due to the increased chance of an accident, college students often pay high rates for car insurance.

In addition to age, some of the other factors that can impact the cost of car insurance for college students include:

  • Location
  • Driving record
  • Type of policy
  • Coverage limits
  • Vehicle make and model

Below are the average rates for a 21-year-old male policyholder  in each state.

Annual rates for a male driving a 2023 RAV4, estimated using public rate filings sourced from First Interpreter. Rates do not represent actual quotes. Accurate as of January 2024. 

Of course, prices will vary by provider as well. These are the average prices for the same driver at some of the most popular insurance companies in the United States. 

Company Average Annual Premium
USAA 2,642
Nationwide 3,139
Auto-Owners Insurance 3,383
Geico 3,816
State Farm 4,057
Travelers 4,058
Progressive 4,078
Farmers 5,813
Allstate 5,977

Annual rates for a male driving a 2023 RAV4, estimated using public rate filings sourced from First Interpreter. Rates do not represent actual quotes. Accurate as of January 2024. 

Cheap car insurance for college students

Companies that sell car insurance to college students

Most car insurance companies sell policies to college students between the ages of 18 and 24. Well known carriers, like State Farm, Allstate, USAA, Progressive, Geico and Farmers will insure a college student, and many insurers offer special discounts aimed at student drivers. However, not all young adults are able to get their own car insurance policy.

In many cases, newly licensed drivers get added to their parent’s car insurance policy because 16-year-olds are usually ineligible for their own coverage. College students who attend school in-state can typically stay on their parent’s policy, but students who change their address to attend school out-of-state might have to purchase their own car insurance.

You can check with your current car insurance company to see what your options are for getting coverage while in college, particularly if you are traveling far away from home.

How having a Bachelor's degree impacts your car insurance rates

Some car insurance companies use education level as a rating factor when determining their car insurance rates while others offer discounts for students and graduates. 

According to our data, having your Bachelors degree does not have an impact on your car insurance rates in these states: California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Additionally, the impact your education has on your car insurance rates seems to decrease with age. This means that the difference between the price a 25-year-old will pay with a Bachelors degree vs without is larger than the difference between a 35-year-old will pay with a degree vs without. 

Below are the average annual rates for a 35-year-old driver with a Bachelor’s degree and without a Bachelor’s degree.

Annual rates for a male driving a 2023 RAV4, estimated using public rate filings sourced from First Interpreter. Rates do not represent actual quotes. Accurate as of January 2024. 

How to get affordable car insurance for college students

To get more affordable car insurance for teens, it’s a good idea to see what discounts are available from your insurance company. For example, many car insurance companies offer savings for college students who get good grades in school or maintain a minimum GPA (usually a B average). There are also discounts for young adults who attend college more than 100 miles away from home and don’t bring a car to campus.

Common types of car insurance discounts for college students include:

Car insurance FAQs for college students

Why shop for car insurance once you enter college?

It’s generally recommended to shop around for new car insurance quotes after a major life event, such as entering college.

If you are attending school out-of-state, your car insurance premium could increase or decrease, depending on the average price in the new location. Additionally, your coverage needs might change. For example, if you’re only planning to use your car a few times per month in college, you may feel comfortable dropping certain policies that aren’t required by your state. 

Another reason to shop around for car insurance quotes after starting college is because you might qualify for new discounts. Also, keep in mind that many car insurance companies provide a special discount to college students who leave their car at home and attend college more than 100 miles away. If a car is not essential on your campus, this is a good option to consider.

Why do college students pay more for car insurance?

Most college students pay more for car insurance because, at their age, they pose a greater risk to their insurance company. Newly licensed drivers lack experience behind the wheel and are statistically more likely to get into accidents than older drivers. To offset the increased chance of a claim, insurance companies charge young drivers (and their parents) higher rates.

However, car insurance premiums start to decrease around age 25, barring any other issues with the driver’s record or accident history. In addition, many college students can take advantage of discounts to get a lower premium. To get affordable car insurance for college students, look for savings for good students, policy bundling, paying in full, taking a defensive driver course and driving under a certain annual mileage.

How to get cheap car insurance for college students?

There are a few things students can do to get cheaper car insurance. One is to stay on their parent’s policy if they are eligible. Another is to shop around and compare rates from different companies. Lastly, practicing safe driving and taking advantage of available discounts is also a good idea. 

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Rate Retriever rates are based on public rate filings obtained by analytics company First Interpreter. This data comes from the rating plans insurance carriers submit to each state’s department of insurance. Rating plans detail how each carrier calculates premiums using factors such as location, age, gender, and driving record, and they ensure that insurance premiums are both fair and competitive.  

For the data on this page, we made the following assumptions: a single male with a clean driving record and Good credit score, driving a 2023 RAV4. We adjusted this profile by age to determine the rates you see on this page. 

These rates are not actual quotes and should be used only for comparative purposes. Your rates can vary significantly based on your unique driver profile. 

About Rate Retriever

At Rate Retriever, our mission is to make the way you shop for insurance transparent and fair through user-friendly tools that respect your privacy and deliver reliable, comprehensive results 

So we took everything we hated about comparing insurance quotes online – the spam, the long questionnaires, the limited choices, the inaccuracy of quote prices – and threw it out the window, favoring a short form that more accurately estimates what you’ll pay at each of the top insurance providers near you. 

Rate Retriever is an independent company that is not owned by an insurance provider, nor do we provide insurance ourselves. This independence allows us to be your free and impartial insurance research tool, helping you make the best decisions for your insurance needs.  

We may earn a commission when you click one of the links or call one of the providers listed on our site; however, we do not allow our partnerships to influence which information we provide.