Car insurance for college students

By Allstate

Last updated: June 2023

Car insurance premiums for young drivers tend to be higher due to inexperience behind the wheel. Fortunately, many car insurance companies do offer ways to cut down on car insurance premiums for college students – namely, in the form of insurance discounts.

Generally, you may need to meet some qualifications to be eligible for discounts, such as:

  • Being a full-time student
  • Being under the age of 25
  • Not being married
  • Getting good grades
  • Completing driver education programs, like TeenSMART
  • Going to school at least 100 miles away from where the car is garaged

From there, keep driving safe and you might save even more.

Premiums aside, it's also a good idea to find the right coverage to meet your needs. If you need some help getting started, this video answers a few common questions about car insurance for college students:

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Car insurance discounts for college students

If you (or your parents) are looking to save money on your car insurance premium now that you're in college, many insurance companies offer discounts to college students.

Resident student discount

If the car you typically drive is titled in your parent’s/guardian's name and you're leaving it at their house while you live on campus, you may be able to save them a few extra dollars. If your college is at least 100 miles away from home, your parents may qualify for the "resident student" discount because you won't be driving the family car as frequently now that you're away at school.

Good grade discount

Good grade benefits on your car insurance policy don't stop when you graduate high school. Most insurance companies offer a good student discount for unmarried, full-time students up to age 25. Ask your insurer whether you qualify for a discount on your car insurance bill if you continue to get good grades in college.

Multiple policy discount

College students who are renting an apartment and have their own auto insurance policy may qualify for a discount for bundling their car insurance and renters insurance policies. Many insurers offer savings for customers who have multiple policies with the company.

Anti-theft device discount

It's a good idea to research local crime statistics before taking up temporary residence. This may help you select an apartment in a safer neighborhood and help you prepare for life in your new surroundings. If you're going away to college and bringing your car, it may be a good time to purchase an anti-theft device for your vehicle. Doing so may cut back on the likelihood of your stuff being stolen and also land you a discount on your car insurance.

Should college students have their own auto insurance policy?

You may be wondering whether you need your own auto insurance policy now that you're moving away from home. The answer depends on where you'll be living while attending school and who owns the vehicle you'll be driving.

Where will you be living?

If your parent's address is still considered your permanent address while you're attending college, you may be able to keep the vehicle you drive on their car insurance policy (depending on who owns the vehicle).

If you're living on campus or renting an apartment temporarily during the school year, check with your agent to see if you can stay on your parents' policy or if you'll need your own.

Whose name is on the car title?

Who owns the car is one factor in whether a college student needs their own car insurance policy.

  • If the car is titled in your parent's name and you're taking it to school with you, you may be able to stay on the family car insurance policy.
  • If the car is jointly titled — it contains your name and a parent's name — you may be able to stay on your parent's car insurance policy.
  • If your name is on the title, you'll likely need to buy your own car insurance policy in your name.

Can parents keep insurance on a car in another state?

If you're a parent whose child is attending school out of state, you may be able to keep your student listed on your car insurance policy, if you own the vehicle they're taking to school. Otherwise, your student may need to buy their own separate insurance policy.

When to drop your child from your insurance policy

There’s no age requirement that dictates when you’re supposed to remove your child from your auto policy. You can keep them on your policy so long as they’re part of your household and drive a vehicle that you’re financially responsible for. That said, there may be instances where purchasing their own auto insurance makes sense. For example, they may want to purchase their own policy if they’re:

  • Married
  • Have children
  • Own their vehicle
  • Aren’t part of your household

Car insurance coverage considerations for college students

If you or your child are starting college, it's a good idea to review your current insurance policy to make sure it provides the protection you need, whether you're living on campus or commuting.

For example, if a student is taking a car to school, think about where it will be parked. If it's most often parked outside, consider comprehensive coverage. It may help pay to replace the car if it's stolen or repair it if it's damaged by things like hail or vandalism.

Collision coverage may be a good idea if the student will be driving to and from class, for example. It may help pay to repair your car if it's damaged in an accident with another vehicle or object.

If you're leasing or financing a vehicle, collision and comprehensive coverage are usually required by your lender. If the car the student drives is paid off, though, you may be able to drop one or both coverages from your car insurance policy to help save on premiums. Just remember, if your car is damaged and you don't have comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, your policy won't pay to repair your vehicle.

What about car insurance for international students?

Car insurance for college students from other countries coming to school in the U.S. is available from many insurers, but having a valid driver's license is a prerequisite. Depending on the student’s country of origin, their existing driver’s license might be valid, or they may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before getting a car insurance quote.

What if the student only drives when at home?

If a college student only drives when visiting home from college, you’ll still want to keep them on your insurance policy. If they’re found at fault in an accident, for instance, you’d be on the hook for repairs.

If a college student has a vehicle parked at your house that isn’t driven for 30 days or more while they’re away at school, you could remove certain coverages, like collision or liability, since it won’t be on the road. Doing so may help lower your premium in the meantime. You may, however, want to hold onto a coverage like comprehensive, which can step in if the vehicle is vandalized or stolen.

How do I add a college student to my car insurance policy?

Many insurers allow you to update your policy at any time online. That means adding or removing coverages, vehicles and drivers – including your child. To qualify for student-related discounts mentioned above, reach out to your insurer and see if they can be made available for your specific insurance policy.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all car insurance recommendation for college students. It boils down to where they live, whether they’re a full-time student, how often they drive (if at all), whether they own their vehicle and if they’re financially independent. Also note that insurers have different requirements as far as eligible discounts are concerned. Always reach out to your insurer if you have questions about which options are available to you and your college student.