College students have a lot on their plate- including a strict budget, high tuition, and fluctuating living expenses.

What is the best car insurance for college students?

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There are policies available- specifically for college students

Such coverage is designed to be affordable, easy to access, and providing appropriate coverage against the risks you might face while on the road.

College Student Auto Insurance

College students have a lot on their plate- including a strict budget, high tuition, and fluctuating living expenses. Having a car while in school can be a convenient option as you move around daily. However, paying for insurance coverage is another cost factor to consider.

Being young, and having a limited driving record, often causes college students to spend more on car insurance. This means that you may find yourself struggling to pay high premiums with a limited income. The good news is that there are policies available- specifically for college students. Such coverage is designed to be affordable, easy to access, and providing appropriate coverage against the risks you might face while on the road.

What college students look for in auto insurance

As a college student, you may be wondering what you should look for in an auto insurance policy. Indeed, cost isn’t the only factor that matters, as you may also be looking for extended coverage, long-term discounts, and convenience when making a claim. And if you use your car infrequently, you may be looking for a policy that doesn’t overcharge for barely driving your vehicle on campus.

Here are 4 essential components that your insurance policy should include:

  1. Affordable costs

Insurance coverage can easily cost young drivers thousands of dollars every year. This is why saving as much as possible is a top priority for any college student. Your policy should offer competitive premiums for college-aged drivers, along with coverage options that help limit liability.

Companies that offer competitive premiums to students will consider many other factors in addition to age. For example, if your school is located in a rural (or low population) area, the level of risk will be lower (which will help you may save on premiums). Similarly, if your vehicle is an older model, you may be able to save on collision or comprehensive coverage.

Also, look for policies that reduce your monthly premium amounts in exchange for higher deductibles. You may be able to save as much as 30% on premiums by increasing your deductible from $200-$500.

  1. Lucrative discounts

Everyone loves a good deal, especially college students. Many auto insurers offer lucrative discounts that can significantly reduce the cost of coverage. For example, there are discounts for good grades, safe driving, distance from home, and much more.

State Farm offers a “Good Student” discount of up to 25% a year for students with a GPA of 3.0 and above. The company also provides discounts to students who attend a college that's over 100miles from where they live.

GEICO offers discounts for select fraternities, sororities, and alumni associations. With different discount options available to students, you can save on premiums by signing up for the right package from your insurance company.

  1. Customized policies

The needs of college students vary significantly by state, personal preferences, year in school, and program of study. For example, some students drive only once in a while (to and from their permanent homes), while others drive daily (for example, off-campus students).

If you’re an infrequent driver, you may be looking for a policy that helps you save on unnecessary coverage. Some auto insurance companies offer discounts for low mileage driving. For example, Metromile charges a discounted rate for drivers who travel less than 12,000 miles per year. Consider looking for a customized policy that is tailored towards your specific needs.

  1. Easy accessibility and control 

College students love a policy that's flexible and convenient to manage. Whether you need to make changes to coverage options online, or initiate a claim via a quick phone call, you'll find that easy accessibility makes policy management easier.

In response, many auto insurers now have mobile apps and interactive websites that save you time when you need assistance. You should also look for policies that provide round the clock resources for drivers to access.  Allstate has an app that allows users to optimize their trip routes in real-time. Other insurance companies also have agents available after hours in case you need immediate assistance.

Tips for finding the best policy as a student

Because insurance coverage for college students can be expensive, taking time to find the best coverage available is critical for you as a young driver. But how can you begin navigating this broad market to locate a needle in the haystack? Here are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Shop around and compare quotes

Perhaps the best advice is to shop around before making a decision. Compare 3-5 quotes from different companies and determine the best fit for you. For example, if you’re an infrequent driver and you own an older vehicle, you may be able to save by looking for distant-based discounts and lower coverage limits.

Some insurers also offer low premiums if you have good credit. Because many different factors go into calculating premiums, comparing multiple quotes is the way to go.

  1. Set a higher deductible

As previously mentioned, setting a high deductible will allow you to save on premiums. You may consider keeping aside a fixed amount to use for your deductible so you can remain prepared in case of an accident. In the meantime, determine how much you can save at different deductible amounts.

  1. Don’t pay for coverage you don’t need

Many college students end up overpaying for insurance because they select too many coverage options. For example, if your vehicle is old and on its last legs, do you really need comprehensive coverage? Liability might be enough in such situations. When shopping around, examine your policy to set just the right amount of coverage that you’ll need while on the road.

  1. Maintain a clean driving record

Having a clean driving history is one of the best ways to save on auto insurance costs as a student. Having tickets, DUI convictions, and other violations may cause insurers to view you as a high-risk driver, which in turn causes your premiums to increase.

In addition to maintaining a clean record, consider taking a safe driving course. Such courses may lead to the expunging of tickets from your driving history.

Some useful insurance companies to consider

As you begin your search for the best policies available, here’s a cheat sheet to get you started.

Geico: best for low premiums offered to students ($650 annual average premiums for students).

Allstate: best for customizable options and mobile accessibility

Metromile: best for infrequent drivers

State Farm: best discounts available to students

Farmers: best discounts for students with high grades

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