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Best car insurance discounts for students

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Younger drivers face some of the most expensive car insurance rates, largely due to fewer years of driving experience compared to adults. This cost, coupled with other costly expenses, such as college tuition, can make budgeting seem difficult for students. Luckily, many car insurance companies offer discounts tailored specifically for students. The initial premium might seem high at first, but these discount opportunities may help give students budget some relief until they gain more experience behind the wheel.

Average cost of car insurance without discounts

The cost of a car insurance policy for young drivers and college students is generally higher compared to other age demographics, especially without discounts. As shown in the table below, 18-year-old drivers on their own policy tend to pay the most in car insurance premiums. However, with time and more driving experience, the average cost of car insurance for full coverage should trend down, especially if a clean driving record is maintained.

18-year-old 19-year-old 20-year-old 21-year-old 22-year-old
Male $5,650 $4,487 $4,098 $3,166 $2,913
Female $4,844 $3,807 $3,492 $2,769 $2,578
Total $5,247 $4,146 $3,795 $2,967 $2,745

Educational discounts for students

Nearly all major car insurance companies offer some form of discount for students. The discount options may vary depending on if the student has their own policy or is listed on someone else’s policy; however, student discounts can help reduce insurance expenses for inexperienced drivers.

Good student insurance discount

Auto insurers typically offer cheaper car insurance for students with good grades by applying a good student discount to the policy. This discount can apply to students within a certain age limit who have their own insurance policy or are listed as a driver on someone else’s policy. To qualify for a good student discount, those eligible typically need to provide a current copy of their school transcripts showing a grade point average of at least 3.0 or a B or better letter grade. Eligible drivers usually have to be less than 25 years old and a full-time student. However, discount requirements can vary by the auto insurer, so it’s best to check with your carrier to understand the eligibility criteria.

Drivers earning a good student discount may need to periodically provide proof of their grades to their insurance company to retain the discount, but the small effort might be worth it. Based on our assessment from rates analyzed through Quadrant Information Services, students on their own policy can earn significant savings by having good grades. For example, an 18-year-old driver on their own policy can save about $260 per year, on average, with this discount, based on our data. However, the discount savings can drop over time, since premiums typically decrease as drivers gain experience.

Average annual full coverage premiums with good student discount

18-year-old 19-year-old 20-year-old 21-year-old 22-year-old
Male $5,343 $4,261 $3,905 $3,019 $2,791
Female $4,631 $3,657 $3,364 $2,767 $2,497
Total $4,987 $3,959 $3,635 $2,893 $2,644

Average annual minimum coverage premium with good student discount

18-year-old 19-year-old 20-year-old 21-year-old 22-year-old
Male $1,644 $1,255 $1,125 $863 $792
Female $1,473 $1,123 $1,014 $834 $740
Total $1,559 $1,189 $1,070 $849 $766

Average annual full coverage premiums with good student discount by state

State 18-year-old 19-year-old 20-year-old 21-year-old 22-year-old
Alabama $5,771 $4,491 $4,026 $3,003 $2,766
Alaska $4,517 $3,649 $3,386 $2,726 $2,514
Arizona $4,510 $3,783 $3,203 $2,668 $2,450
Arkansas $5,480 $4,448 $4,157 $3,265 $2,937
California $5,919 $4,164 $3,893 $3,421 $3,164
Colorado $6,417 $4,715 $4,317 $3,329 $3,055
Connecticut $6,356 $4,592 $4,223 $2,984 $2,644
Delaware $6,132 $4,542 $4,143 $2,979 $2,732
Florida $7,306 $5,526 $5,227 $4,318 $3,766
Georgia $6,147 $5,192 $4,663 $3,561 $3,379
Hawaii $1,294 $1,294 $1,294 $1,272 $1,272
Idaho $3,361 $2,720 $2,508 $1,970 $1,798
Illinois $4,617 $4,026 $3,509 $2,748 $2,480
Indiana $3,747 $3,053 $2,839 $2,367 $2,136
Iowa $3,111 $2,676 $2,502 $2,070 $1,886
Kansas $4,588 $3,836 $3,579 $2,875 $2,590
Kentucky $6,592 $5,462 $5,097 $3,912 $3,587
Louisiana $7,975 $6,230 $5,738 $4,739 $4,261
Maine $2,636 $2,341 $2,228 $1,506 $1,387
Maryland $5,251 $4,362 $4,078 $3,074 $2,769
Massachusetts $5,024 $3,335 $3,049 $2,635 $1,718
Michigan $7,790 $6,271 $5,611 $4,438 $4,077
Minnesota $3,949 $3,471 $3,181 $2,770 $2,513
Mississippi $4,881 $3,829 $3,581 $2,833 $2,599
Missouri $4,830 $4,080 $3,791 $2,916 $2,702
Montana $5,125 $4,179 $4,010 $3,095 $2,845
Nebraska $4,101 $3,350 $3,190 $2,490 $2,240
Nevada $6,586 $5,214 $4,703 $3,826 $3,554
New Hampshire $3,713 $2,890 $2,664 $2,126 $1,904
New Jersey $6,586 $4,526 $4,095 $3,297 $2,949
New Mexico $3,978 $3,074 $2,835 $2,404 $2,204
New York $6,858 $5,033 $4,600 $3,661 $3,374
North Carolina $2,946 $1,694 $1,656 $1,577 $1,559
North Dakota $3,476 $2,620 $2,473 $2,071 $1,881
Ohio $3,430 $2,699 $2,540 $2,035 $1,881
Oklahoma $5,131 $3,804 $3,557 $3,011 $2,706
Oregon $3,866 $3,173 $2,773 $2,320 $2,062
Pennsylvania $4,753 $3,983 $3,719 $2,876 $2,683
Rhode Island $5,681 $4,347 $4,025 $3,203 $2,893
South Carolina $5,203 $3,976 $3,634 $2,613 $2,450
South Dakota $4,299 $3,263 $3,091 $2,580 $2,439
Tennessee $4,282 $3,428 $3,108 $2,505 $2,281
Texas $5,571 $4,672 $4,326 $3,288 $3,047
Utah $4,199 $3,298 $3,031 $2,334 $2,110
Vermont $3,820 $3,424 $3,280 $2,039 $1,850
Virginia $4,147 $3,415 $3,088 $2,351 $2,148
Washington $3,994 $3,030 $2,823 $2,153 $1,905
Washington, D.C. $5,208 $3,899 $3,479 $3,051 $2,716
West Virginia $4,579 $3,619 $3,338 $2,681 $2,398
Wisconsin $3,452 $2,748 $2,488 $2,038 $1,841
Wyoming $3,801 $3,063 $2,746 $2,483 $2,207

Average annual full coverage premium by carrier with good student discount

18-year-old 19-year-old 20 -year-old 21-year-old 22-year-old
State Farm $3,551 $2,820 $2,556 $2,318 $2,064
American Family $4,272 $3,161 $3,038 $2,543 $2,397
Geico $3,517 $2,879 $2,612 $2,172 $1,993
Progressive $6,294 $3,758 $3,344 $2,640 $2,378
Allstate $5,974 $5,185 $4,859 $3,529 $3,321
Auto-Owners $3,512 $2,992 $2,728 $2,398 $2,210
USAA $3,181 $2,517 $2,325 $1,886 $1,760
Farmers $6,106 $3,926 $3,577 $2,912 $2,669
Nationwide $3,896 $3,277 $2,953 $2,288 $2,080
Travelers $4,807 $3,639 $3,377 $2,394 $2,231
Amica $4,974 $3,579 $3,196 $2,849 $2,253
Erie $2,950 $2,601 $2,422 $2,085 $1,902

Distant student discount

Car insurance for college students could also come with a discount, depending on where the student is living and if they have access to a vehicle. Students away at college without their vehicle may earn a distant student discount, considering that their risk of an accident is likely much lower without regular access to a car. Sometimes also known as a “student away at school” discount, the discount comes with slightly different eligibility criteria with different insurers. However, many carriers will not offer the distant student discount unless the student is insured on someone else’s policy, at least 100 miles away at school and without regular access to a vehicle.

Driver’s training discount

Many students take a driver’s training course while in school, usually before earning their driver’s license. If that is the case, students who completed driver’s training might want to mention it to their auto insurer, as some offer a driver’s training discount.

Affiliation discounts for students

While students away at school, good students and drivers training discounts are the most common types of student discounts, there may be other ways current (and former) students might be able to save money on car insurance premiums. An affiliation discount is usually negotiated by a college, business or organization on behalf of its members or employees. Affiliation discounts are typically exclusive and include savings with insurance discounts as well as special insurance features and perks.

University and alumni

Many larger organizations, including universities, have their own discount with select insurance carriers. Some insurance companies may even offer affiliate discounts to alumni associations, faculty and enrolled students. Check with your university to see what partnerships and student discounts they may have with car insurance companies.

Sorority, fraternity and honors societies

Larger sororities, fraternities or societies sometimes have their own negotiated discounts. While Liberty Mutual, Geico and Travelers insurance seems to offer the most discounts, the carrier may depend on your area.

Military

Students who are also in the military may earn additional discounts. Some auto insurers recognize military members by offering a military discount on their car insurance. Even if the military discount is not offered, reduced coverage and additional savings might be available for vehicles in storage while military members are away from home for extended periods.

Policy and vehicle discounts

In addition to student-related discounts, students may find further savings by looking at a broader range of discounts offered by most insurance companies. These might allow even more savings on car insurance for students. Some of the most popular policy and vehicle discounts available are:

  • Bundling: Having both car and renters or homeowners insurance with the same insurer typically offers a multi-policy discount off of both policies.
  • Safe driver: Avoid accidents and moving violations to qualify as a low-risk, claims-free driver.
  • Safety equipment: Newer vehicles with airbags, driver’s assistance and crash prevention systems are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Usage-based: This type of car insurance discount is based on tracking driving habits through a telematics device. Vehicles garaged for extended periods of time, drivers who do not commute regularly or safe drivers might consider exploring this option.

Frequently asked questions

What grade do I need to qualify for a good student discount?

Most car insurance companies will require at least a B letter grade or a 3.0 average GPA at the end of the most recent school term to earn a good student discount. You may be asked for a copy of your school transcripts or report card to qualify, and you may need to provide updated proof of your grades every year to maintain the discount.

Why is car insurance so expensive for younger drivers?

Car insurance is typically more expensive for younger drivers because of their lack of experience behind the wheel. However, many auto insurance companies believe that students who are doing well in school are generally less risky drivers. Insurance for college students often takes this into account, which is why students may earn significant savings if you take advantage of the good student discount.

What should I look for when shopping for car insurance?

If you are purchasing a policy for the first time, it can help to know some basics of car insurance to better understand how it works. Liability, which protects the other party if you cause an accident, has a minimum required limit in most states. Other coverage types like comprehensive, collision and medical payments can protect you, your passengers and your vehicle in the event of an accident. The state you reside in and your vehicle type are important factors that insurance companies consider when determining rates. Your age, driving history, selected coverage and vehicle usage are also variables insurers consider. Because each carrier assesses risk differently, it may be best to obtain quotes from multiple insurers to find the best rate for you with the right coverage that fits your needs.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a student male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

Rates were calculated for a non-married student with the indicated discounts on parents’ plan with 40-year-old drivers with good credit.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Written by
June Sham
Insurance Writer
June Sham is an insurance writer for Bankrate. Before joining the team, she worked for nearly three years as a licensed producer writing auto, property, umbrella and earthquake policies.
Edited by
Managing Editor