Few milestones in a young person’s life are as significant as becoming a driver. Being behind the wheel imparts a great sense of freedom and responsibility.
However, car insurance for teens and college students can be very expensive. The fact is that drivers with less experience are much more likely to be in an accident and file a claim than those who’ve been driving for years. This increased likelihood is reflected in the insurance rate.
When buying car insurance for young drivers, it’s a good idea to first check with the parents’ insurance company. It’s possible that adding the driver to the parents’ policy will be the least expensive way to get coverage. If shopping around, look for discounts and other programs aimed at providing savings.
Below are our picks for the best car insurance companies for teens and college students.
Best Car Insurance for Teens and College Students of 2021
Best Overall : State Farm
State Farm, one of the country’s best-known insurance brands, offers a compelling combination of price, discounts, and a strong reputation for customer service. It’s our pick for the best overall car insurance for teens and college students.
Variety of discounts for younger drivers
Above-average customer service rankings
Offers rideshare coverage
Available only through agents
Doesn’t offer as many optional coverages as some competitors
State Farm is our choice for the best overall car insurance for teens and college students in 2021. It’s the largest auto insurer in the country and a well-known insurance brand. Our State Farm quote came in at $456 per month. Thus, it was neither the cheapest nor the most expensive car insurance for young drivers in our research.
Rates can be reduced with a variety of discounts aimed at teens and college students. The company offers 25% off for good students (ages 16 to 25 with a 3.0 grade point average), along with discounts for those who’ve completed driver training and college students who are away at school without immediate access to a car.
Aside from the standard coverages you’d expect from a leading insurer, State Farm also offers rideshare insurance. This is essential for anyone driving for a service such as Uber—perhaps appealing to a college student working to make a little extra money. The company also offers 24/7 roadside assistance coverage, giving both parents and young drivers added peace of mind.
State Farm receives an A++ rating from AM Best. This is the highest possible rating and an independent measure of the company’s financial strength and stability.
You can get a State Farm quote online and complete your purchase through one of the company’s 19,000 local agents across the country. The State Farm app is easy to use, including features such as a mobile insurance ID card and functionality for starting claims and requesting roadside assistance.
Read the full State Farm Car Insurance Review.
Best for High School Students : Allstate
Allstate offers a variety of ways for high school students to not only save but also become better drivers. For this reason, it’s our choice for the best car insurance for high school students.
Offers teenSMART driver program
2.7 GPA qualifies for its student discount
Offers Milewise usage-based insurance
Below-average customer service ratings
Saving money on car insurance is great. But an insurance company that also helps drivers improve their skills behind the wheel—during a highly formative time—is really worthy of attention. Allstate does this, and that’s why it’s our choice for the best car insurance for high school students.
At $761 per month, Allstate was one of the more expensive providers of car insurance for young drivers in our study. However, the company offers multiple ways for teens and college students to save. For drivers under age 25, a Smart Student Discount is available. Students can save by maintaining a 2.7 grade point average (the most generous GPA criterion we’ve seen), by attending a school at least 100 miles from where the car is garaged, or by completing the teenSMART driver education program.
This last point is what grabbed our attention. TeenSMART is a successful, computer-based driving skills course that has helped teens reduce their chance of a collision by 28%. Allstate also offers its Milewise usage-based insurance program, and Drivewise, which provides additional financial incentives for good driving behavior. Like some other leading carriers, Allstate offers accident forgiveness, which provides rate stability even after an accident, and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Allstate carries an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best. This is a confirmation of the company’s financial stability and ability to pay claims.
You can quote Allstate online and purchase a policy from any of its more than 10,000 agents across the U.S. The Allstate mobile app enables policyholders to access key policy information and ID cards, make a premium payment, or start a claim.
Read the full Allstate Car Insurance Review.
Best for Full-Time College Students : GEICO
GEICO’s app makes car insurance shopping easy, while its range of discounts—including those for students/alumni at various colleges and universities—helps make it our choice for the best car insurance for full-time college students.
Discounts for collegiate associations
Award-winning mobile app
Coverage Calculator tool
Below-average claims ratings
Limited access to local agents
No auto insurer spends more money on advertising than GEICO. But cut through all that promotional messaging, and the company measures up to be a great choice for full-time college students.
At $174 per month, GEICO was one of the least expensive quotes in our survey. That low rate can be supplemented by up to 16 primary discounts. These include a 15% good student discount (for full-time students carrying a B average or better). The company’s app-based DriveEasy program encourages safe driving habits with the possibility of earning additional policy discounts.
Aside from these primary discounts, GEICO also offers savings for students and alumni of various universities. Its association discounts are available to Greek organizations and alumni associations for dozens of schools.
GEICO is sold online, over the phone, and through a network of local agents. The website is easy to use, while its mobile app was recognized with a 2021 WebAward from the Web Marketing Association.
Read the full GEICO Car Insurance Review.
Best Discounts : Progressive
- Price: $297 per month
- Availability: Direct by phone and online, local independent agents
- Available Discounts: 13
Progressive offers a variety of discounts and ways for young drivers to save money on auto insurance. For that reason, the company is our pick for the best discounts for teens and college students.
Discounts for teens and college students
Additional savings tools
Multiple claims options
Lower customer service ratings than some competitors
Rates can vary by sales channel (agent or website)
Progressive may seem like a relative newcomer to the insurance market. But the company has actually been around since 1937 and is available in all 50 states. It’s our pick for the best discounts for teens and college students.
We like that Progressive offers so many ways for teens and college students to save. Its good student discount saves an average of 10%. The company also offers a teen driver discount and a distant student discount for those away at school (at least 100 miles from home). Customers who choose to have a paperless policy or pay the semi-annual premium in full can qualify for additional discounts.
Young drivers are also encouraged to check out the company’s Snapshot usage-based insurance program. Snapshot saves drivers an average of $146, according to the company’s website.
Aside from discounts, Progressive offers its Name Your Price tool, which helps customers find the best coverage based on a specific budget. And the company’s comparison rate offering promises to make car insurance shopping a little easier. These savings tools are available on the company’s website. Progressive has an average overall customer satisfaction rating according to J.D. Power.
Progressive policies are available at the company’s website, over the phone, or through any of the more than 30,000 local independent agents who represent the company. Be aware that because of the way the company operates, the rate you get through an agent may be different than the rate you get online or over the phone.
Read the full Progressive Car Insurance Review.
Best for Accident Coverage : Amica
Amica is one of the highest-rated companies by J.D. Power when it comes to customer satisfaction. For this reason, it’s our choice for the best accident coverage for teens and college students.
Highly rated claims and customer service
Multiple discounts for teens and college students
No local agents
One of the most expensive in our study
Amica is well known for its customer service. The company ranked second in the most recent J.D. Power auto insurance claims customer satisfaction ratings. It's worth noting, too, that its homeowners insurance topped J.D. Power for 17 years in a row through 2018.
All that means customers are likely to be quite happy with the company’s claims service. And while our $647-per-month quote was among the more expensive in our study, the company does offer multiple discounts to help teens and college students save. These include discounts for those under age 21 who have completed a driver education course, a discount for students ages 15 to 25 who maintain a B average in school, and a discount for college students who are away at school without access to a car. They also offer a loyalty discount for those under age 30 whose parents have been Amica auto policyholders for at least five years.
The company offers policies ranging from state minimum to full coverage, with available extras such as roadside assistance. Amica’s mobile app allows customers to report and track the progress of a claim, pay their premium bills, and access their policy documentation.
Quotes are available on the Amica website or by phone. The company does not use local agents.
Read the full Amica Mutual Insurance Company Review.
Best for Military Students : USAA
USAA serves the insurance and financial needs of the U.S. military and their families. This focus and their positive reputation for customer satisfaction make USAA our choice as the best car insurance for military students.
Focus on serving the U.S. military and their families
Discount if the vehicle is stored on a military base
Higher ratings for customer satisfaction
Fewer student-targeted discounts than competitors
Must have a USAA member number to get a quote
USAA has a long history as a provider of insurance and other financial services to active and retired members of the U.S. military and their families. The company is a great car insurance choice for children of military members or students who are on active duty or in the reserves.
The company’s list of teen and college student discounts is not quite as extensive as some competitors’ lists. However, they do offer a discount for good students and for new drivers who have completed basic driver training. And, with their family discount, children of USAA members can save an additional 10%. USAA also offers flexible payment plans, making it a little easier for teens and college students on a budget to pay their premiums.
J.D. Power does not rank USAA on its surveys due to the company’s membership requirement. However, the company’s J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating would place it at the top of all major U.S. auto insurers.
Quotes are available at the company’s website or by phone. Note that you need to be a USAA member or have an eligible relative’s member number handy to complete a quote. The company does not use local agents.
Read the full USAA Car Insurance Review.
Best for Budget-Friendly Policies : Mile Auto
Mile Auto offers pay-per-mile car insurance. It can help those who drive their cars well below the average number of miles save dramatically on coverage. For that reason, it’s our pick as the best company for budget-friendly policies for teens and college students.
Low-mileage drivers can really save money
Tracks mileage without a black box installed in the car
Full coverage policies are available
Available in six states
May not be a good option for those who drive a lot
Website lacks information
Mile Auto’s pay-per-mile coverage is part of a new trend in car insurance. For teens or college students who drive well below the average number of miles—perhaps because they leave their cars parked for long periods—it’s a trend that can potentially save them a lot of money.
With pay-per-mile insurance, Mile Auto charges customers a monthly base rate. The company then notes the number of miles driven each month (the customer simply sends a photo of the car’s odometer) and charges a per-mile fee of a few cents. Mile Auto claims this approach saves customers an average of 30% to 40% off a traditional rate.
In our research, Mile Auto quoted a $94 monthly base rate plus $0.11 per mile. Assuming a car is driven an average of 100 miles per week, the total monthly premium comes out to $142. That’s well below the rates offered by most of the traditional car insurers we studied.
Mile Auto policy offerings include liability-only, or “full coverage” including comprehensive and collision. Their website is sparse when it comes to information about discounts and other details. But, we learned from an email exchange with a company representative that Mile Auto offers a handful of discounts, including for insuring multiple cars.
Car insurance for teens and college students can be expensive, and perhaps confusing to buy. The good news is that many insurance companies offer discounts and other ways to help young people save while getting the coverage they need.
Offering a compelling overall package of price, opportunities to save, ease of use, and financial stability, State Farm is our choice for the best overall car insurance for teens and college students. The company offers teens and college students a good student discount, a driver training discount, and a discount for being away at college.
Compare the Best Car Insurance for Teens and College Students
|Company||Price||Available Discounts (#)||Purchasing Options (online, phone, local agent)||File a Claim|
|$456 per month||13||Local agent||Website, mobile app, phone|
Best for High School Students
|$761 per month||11||Online, phone, local agent||Website, mobile app, phone|
Best for Full-Time College Students
|$174 per month||16||Online, phone, local agent||Website, mobile app, phone|
|$297 per month||13||Online, phone, local agent||Website, mobile app, phone|
Best for Accident Coverage
|$647 per month||18||Online, phone||Website, mobile app, phone|
Best for Military Students
|N/A||11||Online, phone||Website, mobile app, phone|
Best for Budget-Friendly Policies
|$94.64 + $0.11 per mile per month||4||Online||Phone only|
Guide for Choosing the Best Car Insurance for Teens and College Students
Who Needs Car Insurance for Young Drivers?
Anyone who drives, regardless of age, should get car insurance. Every state has laws making a driver financially responsible for property damage and bodily injuries caused by an accident; nearly every state thus requires drivers to carry insurance.
In most cases, adding a teen or college student to the parents’ policy will be the least expensive way to get insured. In some cases, parents may believe that they limit their liability if their child has their own policy, but insurance experts advise this may not be the case.
Comparing Car Insurance for Teens and College Students
When shopping for car insurance for teens and college students, consider the following factors:
- Price: Insuring a teen or college student can be expensive, but rates vary among companies. Shop around to get the best price.
- Discounts: Many companies offer discounts on insurance for teens and college students. These often include discounts for having at least a B average in school, for completing driver training, or for being away at school full time.
- Coverage: Liability coverage is mandatory in most states, while comprehensive, collision, and gap coverage may be required by the bank for a vehicle with a loan or lease. Be sure the insurance company offers these basics.
- Options: Roadside assistance is commonly offered by insurance companies and can provide teens and college students (and their parents) with added peace of mind.
- Claims service: A car insurance policy’s “moment of truth” happens when a claim is filed. Look for companies that rate highly in J.D. Power surveys, AM Best ratings, and other independent studies.
- User-friendliness: An insurance company should make it easy for teens and college students to get a quote, buy a policy, access policy documents, pay a bill, and file a claim. Most offer sophisticated websites and mobile apps that allow this functionality.
How Teens and College Students Can Buy Car Insurance Coverage
There are multiple ways for a teen or college student to obtain car insurance coverage.
- Through an agent: An agent can provide personal service and advice tailored to the insurance needs of teens and college students. Independent agents represent multiple companies and can shop around on their customer’s behalf to find the best combination of coverage, price, and discounts.
- Online: Many major insurers offer online quoting and policy sales. While this option is available 24/7, a drawback is that it provides little to no guidance on coverages and discounts.
- By phone: Still another option is for teens and college students to contact an insurance company directly by phone. Many have toll-free numbers connecting to company representatives who can help with the policy quote and purchase.
Request quotes from at least three insurance companies. Chances are that rates among these companies will vary by hundreds of dollars. Remember to mention anything that might help earn a discount, including completion of driver training, good grades, or attendance at a college away from home.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who Is Considered a Teen or Young Driver?
“Teen” is pretty straightforward as a term, but the insurance industry’s definition of “young driver” typically includes people ages 16 to 24. For each year of experience you gain as a young driver, your insurance rates may improve if you don’t have accidents or violations.
How Much Does Car Insurance for Teens and College Students Cost?
Car insurance for teens and college students is typically quite expensive. In our survey of companies, the average cost for insurance from large national carriers was $467 per month.
The good news is that most of the companies we researched offer multiple discounts targeted to teens and college students, along with programs such as usage-based insurance that can help drivers save. Adding the driver to the parents’ policy may be the least expensive way to be insured.
What Does Car Insurance for Teens and College Students Cover?
A car insurance policy for teens and college students ought to include the following essential coverages:
- Liability: This provides coverage if the driver causes an accident that injures another person or damages their property. Liability is mandatory in most states.
- Uninsured motorist: This provides coverage if the driver is in an accident with someone who is not insured.
- Collision and comprehensive: These cover the cost of repairs to the driver’s vehicle after an accident or other event (for example, a tree falls on their parked car).
Car insurance will not cover the cost of maintenance or repairs related to wear and tear. An insurer may, however, offer optional roadside assistance coverage, which can help a driver in an emergency such as having a flat tire or dead battery.
Who Can Purchase Car Insurance for Teens and College Students?
Car insurance for teens and college students can be purchased by most licensed drivers. Specific age ranges vary by insurance company. Some of the companies in our study required a driver to be 18 to purchase coverage, others required a driver to be only 16.
How To Get Car Insurance for Your Teen or as a Young Driver
Requesting quotes from at least three different insurance companies is a good way to find a policy that offers the best value for your needs. Collecting online quotes is a good idea, but you may also want to speak with a local independent agent. These agents are familiar with multiple insurers, including smaller, regional options, and they may be able to make recommendations as well as help you compare coverages so you can choose a policy that’s the best fit for you as a young driver. Remember to mention any factors that might help you qualify for discounts, like whether you’ve taken driver training, if you’re planning to attend college away from home, and if your grades are good.
When reviewing car insurance options, choose a company with a payment plan that you can manage. Being canceled for non-payment can put you in a high-risk insurance group, which will increase your premiums and can make it harder for you to buy car insurance in the future.
To select the best car insurance companies for teens and college students, we first looked at the top 10 national auto insurance carriers, along with several select regional carriers and startups. We narrowed the field based on factors such as available discounts, ease of use, and independent ratings for claims and customer satisfaction. We then obtained quotes from each of our remaining companies, using a persona of a 16-year-old driver seeking to insure a 2015 Toyota Camry (we changed the age to 18 for GEICO, due to their quoting requirements). Based on this information we narrowed our list to these top car insurance companies for teens and college students.