Is car insurance more expensive for college students?

The cost of car insurance for college students is usually more than for older adults, primarily because insurers view those between the ages of 18 and 22 as riskier to insure. That’s one of the reasons most parents keep their college-aged students on their car insurance policy after they leave home.

Is it ever more affordable for a college student to have their own car insurance?

Sometimes. If the vehicle is kept in a more affordable ZIP code, you could potentially save more with two separate policies. Also, students over 24 with a clean driving record may be better off with their own policy if their parents have tickets or accidents on their records.

For students: Advantages of staying on a parent’s policy

  1. More savings

    Sharing one policy is usually more affordable, as you split the cost of certain coverages.

  2. You can share cars

    You're all covered when driving each other's cars. No need to let the insurance company know who's driving what or when.

  3. Convenience

    It’s easier to manage a single policy rather than two. Plus, you’re covered when you come back home for the summer or spring break.

What if I only drive when I’m home?

You should still stay on your parents’ policy, especially if you come home on weekends or school vacations and drive their cars. In fact, at Progressive, we require parents to include children on their policy who are away at school and occasionally drive their cars. If you never drive your parents’ cars, they should feel free to take you off their insurance to potentially save money.

You should stay on your parent’s policy, especially if you come home on weekends or during vacations.

Parents: What you should do with a new college student on your car insurance

Parents who choose to keep their child on their car insurance should notify their insurance company as soon as possible. You want to verify that your home is still listed as their primary address, as well as confirm that your student will be covered.

Having a student on your policy could affect your rate, usually based on their driving record and the ZIP code where the university is located. Fortunately, many car insurance companies offer discounts for college students, in addition to policy changes you can make to lower your cost:

  • Good student discount: Many insurers offer discounts for young drivers on a policy who are also good students. In most states, you'll get a discount on your Progressive auto policy if your child is a full-time student, under the age of 23, and has a B average or better.*
  • Distant college student discount: Some insurers also offer car insurance discounts for students who go away from home for college and don’t have a car at school. Depending on the state, you'll get a discount for any full-time college students on your Progressive auto policy if they're 22 or younger and enrolled at an educational institution over 100 miles from home.*
  • Usage-based insurance: In most states, Progressive offers personalized rates based on how safely you drive using Snapshot®, a mobile app or device that plugs into your car. A key component of safe driving is the time you spend behind the wheel. So, if your child's car typically sits in your driveway or a school parking lot, you could score big savings for the infrequent driving category. Not ready to switch to Progressive? Sign up for the Snapshot Road Test and see what you could save with us without having to leave your current insurer.
  • Double-check your coverage needs: One easy way to save with a college student on your auto insurance policy is to drop collision coverage on their vehicle if it’s of minimal value and not being financed. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to repair or replace the car out of pocket if it’s damaged or totaled.

*To qualify for the good student and distant college student discounts, you cannot be the primary named insured (PNI) on your policy or the spouse of the PNI. Additionally, students must be enrolled at an educational institution located where they reside in order to qualify for the distant college student discount. You may also be asked to provide proof that your college student meets the above eligibility requirements.

Pro tips for college students with cars insured by their parents

Where you should put your car while going to college

If you’re going to have your car on campus, you should always follow your university’s parking rules. Many schools have limited space available for parking, and some even prohibit freshman from having cars on campus. Parking illegally or without a permit can lead to costly fines, including towing fees. You could also land in hot water with your school’s judicial review board.

If you’re living in off-campus housing, try to keep your car off the street. Keeping it in a driveway or an apartment complex parking lot could lower the chances of it being hit.

Make sure you’re still covered if you’re going out of state

Most states allow out-of-state college students to stay on their parents’ car insurance as long as your primary address is still their residence. However, there are some states that require you to get your own policy instead. Your auto insurer will ask about the ZIP code where you’ll primarily keep your vehicle and can tell you if you’ll need a separate policy before leaving for college.

If you’re living off-campus and maintaining a regular residence year-round separate from your parents, you’ll need your own policy, regardless of the state you're in and whether you live two miles from them or 2,000.

Questions? Just give us a call at 1-866-749-7436; we'll make sure you're compliant.

How auto insurance coverages work with college students

Here are a few scenarios that show how coverages apply when sharing a policy:

Damages car Hits someone else
Student driving parent’s car Damages car Covered, minus your policy’s deductible, if comprehensive and collision included Hits someone else Typically covered by bodily injury & property damage liability up to your policy’s limits
Parent driving student’s car Damages car Covered, minus any deductible, if comprehensive and collision included Hits someone else Typically covered by bodily injury & property damage liability up to your policy’s limits

How to keep (or add) a college student on your policy

Current Progressive customers

Call us at 1-866-749-7436 or . We'll need some information about whether they're going to have a car at college, their new address, etc. Then we'll show how this changes your rate right away.

New Progressive customers

Just get a car insurance quote online or call 1-866-749-7436, and we'll ask the right questions to properly insure your college student.

Are you a college student looking for your own auto insurance? Get a quote online to find the right coverage options for you.