Cheap Car Insurance for College Students

Car insurance student discounts and good driving habits can help you save some cash, but the best way to save is to be included in a parent's or guardian’s policy.
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Written by Isabel Contreras
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Edited by Ben Moore
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Nerdy takeaways
  • The average cost of adding an 18-year-old college student to a two-adult car insurance policy is $2,333.

  • Adding a college student to a household auto insurance policy will likely be cheaper than getting a new stand-alone policy.

  • Car insurance student discounts can make paying for college student car insurance more affordable.

Congratulations! You’ve graduated from high school and are heading off to college. With new courses to take, a campus to explore, plus tuition and student loans to deal with, car insurance probably isn’t top of mind.

But auto insurance is an important consideration for students taking a car to college, or hoping to drive their family car back home. While car insurance for college students can be expensive, there are ways to lower rates and find a cheap policy.

Collision insurance

Pays for your car repairs or replacement costs after a car accident.

Comprehensive insurance

Pays for your car repairs or replacement costs from things beyond your control, like flooding, falling objects or theft.

Liability insurance

Pays others if you injure them or damage their car or property in an accident you cause.

Full coverage insurance

Typically refers to a combination of comprehensive, collision and liability coverage.

High risk driver

Insurers vary on what drivers are considered high-risk, but may include drivers that have at-fault accidents, tickets, DUIs, poor credit or a lapse in coverage.

NerdWallet analyzed car insurance rate estimates from the largest auto insurers in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. We analyzed rates for hypothetical male and female students ages 18 through 22 with no tickets or traffic violations who were added to car insurance policies held by either one or two adult drivers. For single-parent or guardian families, we used a 50-year-old male driver. For two-parent or guardian families, we used a 50-year-old male driver and a 45-year-old female driver.

Rates were analyzed for the below scenarios:

  • A student driving a 2010 Toyota Camry L with minimum coverage. 

  • A student driving a parent or guardian’s car. We chose a 2020 Toyota Camry L with full coverage that the student only drives 20% of the time, since they spend a majority of their time away at college.

Full coverage insurance policies in our analyses include comprehensive and collision coverage, as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and increased liability limits. Minimum coverage policies include state-mandated coverage only. Data analysis was done in January 2024.

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How much is car insurance for college students?

Our analysis found that adding a college student to a policy almost doubles the cost of auto insurance. The average cost of adding a college student to a car insurance policy is $2,333 per year, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of full coverage rates for 18-year-old college students driving an older car and included on a two-parent or guardian policy.

Car insurance costs for a college student in a two-adult household

Below are the average car insurance rates for policies with two older adults and a college student driver, ages 18 through 22.


Average annual rate, college student drives an older car

Average annual rate, college student shares a family car
















For comparison, the average cost to insure two adults is $2,711, according to our analysis of full coverage rates for a 50-year-old male driver and 45-year-old female driver sharing one policy.

Car insurance costs for a college student in a one-adult household

Below are the average car insurance rates for policies with one older adult and a college student driver ages 18 through 22.


Average annual rate, college student drives an older car

Average annual rate, college student shares a family car
















For comparison, the average cost to insure one adult is $1,794 per year, according to our analysis of full coverage rates for a 50-year-old male driver.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Rates for college students can be high, but will decrease as you get older and practice safe driving. If you do plan to purchase your own insurance policy, don’t pick the first company you come across — shop around and compare quotes to ensure you get the cheapest rate available.

Should you stay on a parent or guardian’s policy?

In most cases, staying on a parent or guardian’s car insurance policy will yield the cheapest rates. Rates for young adults tend to be high because they have shorter driving histories and greater probability of getting into an accident than older drivers. By remaining on your parents' policy instead of getting your own, you can take advantage of their established driving history and get a lower rate.

As a college student, insurers will likely allow you to stay on your parents’ policy as long as your permanent address is the same as theirs. But if you plan to live near campus year-round, you may need to get your own coverage.

Since insurers consider ZIP codes to set rates, a stand-alone policy could be cheaper if your parents live in a city and your college is in a rural or suburban area.

Male college students pay more than females

Female college students can pay a lot for car insurance, but in general, male college students will pay higher rates. That’s because male young drivers are seen as riskier to insure because this demographic tends to get into more accidents than their female counterparts.

Cost of car insurance for a college student in a two-adult household, by gender



















As college students age, the gap between what males and females pay for car insurance shrinks. For example, rates for an 18-year-old male student are 14% more, on average, than for a female student of the same age. That difference goes down to just 8% between 22-year-old male and female students.

In this article, NerdWallet uses the term “gender.” We recognize that this is different from sex. Gender is how you identify within society, while sex refers to certain biological attributes.

Some insurers don’t recognize this distinction and use the terms interchangeably. This means that when you apply for car insurance, they may ask for your gender when they really mean sex.

They may also ask for identification that doesn’t reflect your gender accurately. For instance, a company may want the gender you list on your insurance application to match the sex listed on your driver’s license.

How to save on car insurance as a college student

Reconsider collision and comprehensive coverage

If you’re planning on driving an old car to college, make sure to not overinsure it with collision and comprehensive coverage you don’t need. These types of coverage pay out only up to the cash value of the car, minus the deductible. If your car’s value is $1,000 and you also have a $1,000 deductible, you’re better off dropping collision and comprehensive insurance.

Try usage-based car insurance

College campuses offer a lot of conveniences that may reduce your need for a car, which means usage-based insurance could save you money.

With this kind of insurance, you pay only for the miles you drive, and some of these insurers — like Metromile and Nationwide’s SmartMiles — don’t charge extra after 250 miles per day, so you can take day trips without paying more.

Some insurance companies, like Geico and Progressive, offer programs that price rates based on your driving habits, such as speeding and hard braking, monitored by a mobile app or tracking device in your car’s diagnostic port. These programs typically result in a discounted rate, but if you’re an aggressive driver, your rate could increase.

Ask about car insurance discounts for students

Depending on your state and insurance company, you could be eligible for a variety of discounts while you’re off at school. Here are some common college student car insurance discounts.

Good student. If you’re a full-time student who gets good grades (typically a B average or higher), has high standardized test scores or are on your school’s dean’s list or honor roll, many insurers offer discounts. You’ll need to provide school transcripts or test scores and be within the age requirements.

Student away from home. If your college is more than 100 miles away, consider leaving the car at home. Some insurers offer discounts to college students who drive the family car only when they’re home for breaks or holidays. Plus, by leaving the car behind, you’ll reduce your risk of getting tickets or causing accidents that increase your premiums, which can keep your insurance costs down in the long run.

Fraternity, sorority and honor society. If you’re a member of a qualified fraternity, sorority or honor society, you may be eligible for a discount.

Military. If you’re part of an ROTC program, you could get a discount on car insurance.

Student and alumni organizations. Discounts may be available to members of college organizations, such as the American Medical Student Association, or alumni associations.

Safe driving. While this discount won’t take effect until you’ve proven yourself a safe driver for at least three to five years, avoiding traffic violations and car accidents could mean a discount.

Young driver training. If you complete an educational program to improve your driving skills and are within an allowed age range, some insurers will provide a discount.

Young volunteer. You could qualify for a discount if you complete a required number of volunteer hours and are within the age requirements.

College student discounts from the 10 largest car insurance companies are in the table below.

College student discount

Which of the 10 largest car insurers offer it

Good student

Allstate, American Family, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers and USAA*

Student away from home

Allstate, American Family, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, State Farm and Travelers

Fraternity and sorority



Geico, Liberty Mutual and USAA*

Student organizations


Safe driving

American Family, Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, State Farm and Travelers

Young driver training

Allstate, Geico, Travelers and USAA*

Young volunteer

American Family

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

Frequently asked questions

The average cost of adding an 18-year-old college student driving their own older car to a policy for a two-parent household is $2,333, according to NerdWallet’s analysis.

If you’re going to a college out of state, tell your insurance company. State laws vary, and the new state may require college students to have their own insurance policy.

It’s best to maintain continuous coverage to avoid letting your car insurance end, even if you’re not bringing a car to school. If your car insurance does lapse and you need a policy again, insurers might consider you a high-risk driver and charge a lot more, so stay on your parents’ policy if you can. If that’s not an option, consider purchasing a nonowner insurance policy, which will insure you at your state’s minimum liability limits if you drive someone else’s car.


NerdWallet analyzed rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. We examined rates for men and women for all ZIP codes in all of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our rates analysis due to a lack of publicly available information.

All rates we analyzed pertained to “good drivers,” meaning they had no moving violations on record. Our “good” and “poor” credit rates are based on credit score approximations and do not account for proprietary scoring criteria used by insurance providers.

In our analysis, “college student” profiles include drivers ages 18 to 22 who are currently attending college, whether that be in or out of state. We worked under the assumption that the drivers for these college student profiles would have no credit history. Some profiles we analyzed had good student and student out of state discounts.

For a single-parent household, we used a 50-year-old male “good driver” with good credit driving a 2020 Toyota Camry L with full coverage as the parent or guardian profile.

For a two-parent household, we used a 50-year-old male “good driver” with good credit driving a 2020 Toyota Camry L with full coverage and a 45-year-old female “good driver” with good credit driving a 2017 Toyota RAV4 with full coverage as the parent or guardian profiles.

When a student drives their own car or an “older car,” we used a 2010 Toyota Camry L insured up to the driver’s state’s minimum coverage requirements.

When a student shares a family car, the student is driving one of the parents’ cars, with the assumption that the student only has access to the car up to 20% of the time, and the primary driver is a parent or guardian.

These are median rates, and your rate will vary based on your personal details, state and insurance provider.

Sample drivers with “full coverage” policies had the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.

  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.

  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.

  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.

  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.

  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.

  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added.

For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect only the minimum coverage required by law in the state.

These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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