Being a college student often means your life is a balance of classes, studying, and working to pay your bills. Finding ways to save money and live inexpensively can help you stretch your monthly income with less stress about how you’ll pay for food, rent, tuition, and car insurance. 

If your parents covered your car insurance costs before you went off to college, the new expense of auto insurance could be tough to work into your new college lifestyle. Life hacks like finding ways to get more free online gift cards can buy your next meal, but you can’t pay for auto insurance with an Amazon gift card. How can college students find the best car insurance without overspending? 

Keep reading through our recommendations for car insurance to fit your needs while in college!

Know What You Need

Before comparing coverage quotes or buying a car insurance policy, ask yourself this question: how much car insurance do I need?

If you own a car or drive a car that your parents own while you’re at school, you need at least minimal car insurance coverage. Depending on how much you drive while at school and your driving record, your coverage options and pricing can vary widely. However, if you don’t often drive during school, find a policy that suits your driving habits and low mileage. 

When you know what you need, you can request car insurance quotes from different companies to compare prices on the same types of coverage. 

Common Types of Coverage

Most insurance policies fall into a few categories of coverage. Check with your state requirements to make sure you have enough coverage for the legal operation of your vehicle while in college. Also, see if your school has insurance requirements for student cars on campus. 

  • Minimum liability. This kind of policy is often the bare minimum coverage level. It helps you stay legal on the road and will be some of the least expensive policies. However, you could pay more out of pocket after an accident than if you have a plan with more coverage. 
  • Uninsured and underinsured coverage. This type of coverage protects you if the other driver involved in your accident doesn’t have any (or adequate) insurance. 
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage. If you cause an accident, a collision policy helps pay for repairs to your car. If your vehicle sustains damage from a storm or another non-collision event, comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle. 

If you haven’t yet paid off your car, most lenders require collision insurance until you make your last loan payment. Some states might also require drivers to carry a Personal Injury Protection policy. That provides coverage for passengers if they receive an injury during an accident while riding in your vehicle. 

With that information in mind, it’s time to shop around for the lowest cost policy with the best coverage for college students! 

Bundle And Save: Allstate

If you’re comparing only driving policies, Allstate might not be the most competitively priced insurance policy for a college student. However, if you combine an auto policy with renters insurance, college students can see significant savings with a multi-policy discount through Allstate.

Every college student who rents a dorm room or an apartment needs rental insurance. Allstate created a savings bundle to address this need!

Allstate can also help college students save more money and earn perks through their Drivewise rewards program. Driving safely at the correct speeds and staying off of your phone earns rewards points through an app that tracks these behaviors. Redeem points for gift cards, travel expenses, and merchandise.

If you aren’t a frequent driver while on campus, take advantage of Allstate’s Milewise program. It’s a pay-as-you-go policy that can help college students save money by paying a daily rate and per-mile rate only for the days that you drive your car. If your car stays parked in your dorm parking lot most of the week, you don’t overpay for coverage. 

Discount Offers: State Farm

State Farm is known for personalized service with dedicated agents behind each auto insurance policy. This insurer also offers some of the best discounts to help college students take advantage of savings. 

  • Making good grades while in school can earn you a 25% discount on your policy
  • When you turn 21 years old, take a driving course and maintain an accident-free record for additional savings
  • Add a renters insurance policy to your auto policy and receive a multi-policy discount

For parents still paying for their student’s car insurance, consider the “student away” savings program. If your student doesn’t take their car to campus, you pay less for the insurance covering that vehicle. Your student can still drive the car while at home for vacations or holidays and maintain the policy. 

Choosing State Farm is an excellent option for top-rated coverage and customer service. It can be helpful (and comforting) to know you have a dedicated agent if you need to file a claim while at college away from home. 

Cheapest: GEICO

Without the rewards incentives that Allstate offers, GEICO comes in with some of the most cost-saving policy options for college students. Saving money with them won’t require you to sacrifice quality or coverage for your vehicle while in school. 

GEICO also caters to the college crowd with discounts for members of different alumni associations, fraternities, and sororities. Provide proof of your membership to receive a discount through your college social associations. Students can also receive discounts for accident-free driving, wearing your seatbelt, and maintaining high grades through your college courses. 

You’ll also enjoy a user-friendly online experience when choosing GEICO. From requesting a quote through their website to filing a claim or showing your proof of insurance through the app, GEICO works well for mobile-friendly college students on the go. 

User-Friendly: Esurance

The “e” in Esurance could stand for “easy to use.” From requesting an online quote to reviewing your policy and making payments, college students can enjoy the simplicity of Esurance.

The company also offers a 10% “good student” discount for maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA while taking full-time classes (if the student is under 25). In addition to collision and comprehensive coverages, Esurance also offers roadside assistance. If your car breaks down while you’re away at college, you have easy access to roadside help through your insurance policy. 

Esurance will also help you find the right policy, whether you take your car with you to school or leave it home while you spend your semesters away from home. When requesting your quote, check into all of the Esurance options and discounts for college students!

Pay-As-You-Go: Metromile

Similar to Allstate’s Milewise program, Metromile offers a way to pay only for the auto insurance coverage you need. The only policies they offer are pay-as-you-drive policies that adjust according to how much (or how little) you drive while away at college. 

Metromile also makes it easy to file a claim through their mobile app or your online account. The app pairs with a secure device from Metromile and helps you track your mileage or plan and budget for a trip. The Metromile in-car device can also help police recover your car if it’s stolen. 

If you don’t want to keep track of discounts (or your grades don’t qualify for a “good student” discount), Metromile offers a straightforward way to choose your policy options and pay for only the coverage that best suits your driving habits. 

Should You Stay On Your Parent’s Policy?

Many insurance companies make it possible for parents to keep college students on their auto insurance policies until age 21 or 25. That can be a cost-effective way to maintain your insurance while focusing on your studies at college.

Make sure your parents ask about the discounts or different coverage options we mentioned above when working through the best ways to keep your car covered while you’re away at school. As the policyholder, a parent’s good driving record can often result in lower rates when compared to a separate policy for you as a college student. 

However, your driving record can affect your parents’ policy rates if you remain on their policy. An accident or ticket while you drive at school can increase the total amount your parents pay to cover all of the family vehicles. 

Compare Car Insurance Prices and Policies

Don’t stop at comparing only the prices when reviewing car insurance quotes. Sometimes cheapest isn’t best if you sacrifice the coverage you need or choose a company that doesn’t work well for college students during a claim. 

Choose a policy that provides the right type and amount of coverage at the best price for your college driving needs! Then, find more ways to save money while in school. Click here to learn about getting financial aid for online courses.