Cheap Insurance for College Students

If you’ve got a teen driver in the family, you’re probably well versed in the costs that come along with having a newbie behind the wheel. Insurance is one of the biggest changes that teen drivers bring, so let’s take a look at the best ways to get a good price.

Who has the cheapest insurance for teen drivers?

As in many other circumstances, USAA offers the cheapest insurance for teens, but it’s important to remember that the company focuses on current and former members of the military and their families. Beyond them, the best choices for families with teens are Esurance, Nationwide, and Shelter.

We sampled information from a number of sources to determine a range of prices for teen drivers, both male and female. We then took it a level deeper by examining the different coverage levels that may be available for teen drivers, whether it be full- or minimum-coverage.

It’s also important to note that we focused only on the least expensive insurance options, a metric which in no way indicates the quality of coverage, customer service, or availability.

Insurance rates can vary wildly from state to state as well, and even more so if there has been an accident.

DISCLAIMER: There are many other factors that can impact the price you’ll pay for teen driver insurance.

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Who has the best cheap teen driver insurance?

  • Cheapest Large Insurance Carrier: Esurance - The Allstate subsidiary appears to have the best rates for teen drivers, both male and female. The national average is $766 for female drivers and $786 for male drivers for six-month policies. The only company that offers a better rate is USAA, which isn’t as widely available to people outside of the military, but even then the rates are higher for males than those offered by Esurance.
  • Best Overall: Esurance - The company’s rates for females is slightly more than USAA, but the rates for male drivers are significantly lower.
  • Best Insurance in All 50 States: If you’re not eligible for USAA insurance, Esurance appears to have the best rates, no matter where you live.

How much does teen driver insurance cost?

We researched a wide variety of policies and insurance companies from around the country, but some don’t openly advertise their rates for teen drivers without an in-depth quote or an existing policy held by a parent. The rates you see below have been averaged out between male and female drivers for six-month policy.

Rates we found
USAA$791
Esurance$776
Nationwide$1,167
GEICO$1,237.50

Who are the nation’s best teen driver insurers?

  • Nationwide - Nationwide sometimes gets swept aside when compared to giants like Progressive and GEICO, but the company offers some of the best accident forgiveness and pricing plans for teen drivers. Policies include 24/7 roadside assistance, vanishing deductible options, and total loss deductible waivers. The accident forgiveness program is one of the only in the country available for drivers under the age of 18, and save a significant amount of cash for parents if there has been a slip-up behind the wheel.

  • Allstate - As an enormous insurance company, Allstate has some tricks up its sleeve that some smaller insurers might not. The company offers a long list of discount options for college students, has an excellent mobile app, and offers coverage in all 50 states. The downside is that it’s far from the cheapest option for teen drivers.

  • Erie Insurance - You can’t get it everywhere, but if you live in an area that Erie services, the company has great coverage options for teen drivers. They offer discounts geared toward drivers under 21, and include a variety of add-ons that don’t cost more but add a ton in peace of mind. Many Erie policies come with pet insurance for injuries during an auto accident, personal item coverage for lost, stolen or damaged property, glass coverage, roadside assistance, and locksmith services.

  • State Farm - The company with some of the best commercials in the insurance business also happens to offer some of the best coverage in the business as well. State Farm offers a variety of discounts and programs targeted at teen drivers and their families. One of the biggest negatives to going with them is that there’s significant pressure to work with a local agent, which may not be as attractive as an online-only experience for some people.

How can you get teen driver insurance discounts?

Like ordinary car insurance, there are a million discounts that you can apply to drop your insurance cost significantly. When we got quotes, we didn’t select any of these, but they were all questions on the quote engine that would impact the overall insurance rate:

  • Drivers Ed - Many states require it to get a learner’s permit, but even if they don’t, taking a driver’s ed course is one of the best ways for your teen to get a discount on their insurance rates. Take a look at our coverage of driver’s ed programs here.

  • Keep up in school - Just like insurers look at adults’ credit scores for an indication of how good they’ll be behind the wheel, they may offer discounts for good grades. If your teen earns a “B” average or higher, it’s an option worth looking into.

  • Newer, safer car - Some people think that teens should get whatever leftover vehicle is sitting in the driveway after the parents are finished with it, but that may not be the best option for a few reasons. Safety is one, and insurance companies realize this, offering discounts and lower rates for drivers of newer vehicles with better safety equipment on board.

  • Talk with your teen - Ok, a frank conversation with your teen driver may not yield an immediate savings on your insurance policy, but setting ground rules and establishing trust around driving can reduce irresponsible behavior and the risk of a crash. Take a look at our Teen Driving Toolkit here.

What are the insurance requirements for a teen driver?

Auto insurance is required in all 50 states and though the penalties for not having it vary from place to place, your teen driver won’t be able to drive legally without it. One thing that may come as a surprise is that some states require that a teen be added to an auto policy as soon as they have a license, with or without a vehicle of their own. This is because teens, in many cases, “latch on” to whatever vehicle is available to them at the time, which could change depending on which parent doesn’t need their ride. It’s important to check your local insurance requirements before turning your teen loose on the roads.

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FAQ

Why is college student car insurance more expensive than standard car insurance?

Besides the fact that young drivers have little to no experience behind the wheel, their brains and ability to process information are not as developed as they are in most adults. Decisions that may take an adult a split second to make can take a young driver longer.

How can I get super cheap teen driver insurance?

You might be able to scrape by with a local insurance policy that undercuts Esurance or even USAA, but do you really want to cheap out on insurance for a kid, who might be operating the family’s most valuable asset alone? Do yourself a favor and shop for the best rates while making sure to find adequate coverage for your vehicle and teen’s abilities.

Can I buy a standalone policy for my college student?

Sure, but it’s awful pricey. It’s almost always cheaper to keep your college student on your policy rather than getting them their own insurance. Note that some states prohibit parents from including their kids on an auto policy that is held primarily out of state. It can also depend on whether you or your kid holds the title to the car. In these cases, you or your teen will have to purchase a standalone policy. Check your local regulations.

When will my college student’s insurance rates go down?

It varies, but in general, you can expect to see your first rate drop when your kid turns 18, so you may see some savings before your kid even starts college depending on the date of their birthday and when your policy renews. Keep in mind that their driving record will have a significant impact on your rates, whether it’s speeding tickets or accidents. There’s also a rate drop when your child turns 21.

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