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How College Students Can Save Money on Car Insurance

Car insurance can be expensive, especially to a college student. Here are some ways to save money on your car insurance while you're in school.

College is a time of life that’s full of important decisions. Some decisions are exciting, like choosing your major or picking out the perfect outfit to wear to a weekend party. Other decisions, like learning to budget and finding ways to reduce your expenses, aren’t always so fun. Nonetheless, learning how to use your money wisely is an important part of adulthood. One way to potentially shave a few bucks off your monthly budget during college is to find ways to keep your auto insurance rate as low as possible.

Keep reading for some tips on how college students can save money on car insurance premiums. If you’re a parent who is covering your student’s insurance bill to make life a little easier while they’re in college, the following advice may help you find ways to save as well.

Related: 6 Tips for Bringing Your Car to College

Work with your age

When it comes to auto insurance rates, being young doesn’t work in your favor. It’s a well-known fact that auto premiums typically cost the most during your early driving years. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to save money and even score discounts on your auto insurance rate that might help offset this “age penalty.” Check out the following five smart saving ideas you might want to try for yourself.

Make the dean’s list

Getting good grades at college doesn’t just buy you bragging rights with your family; those A’s and B’s you worked so hard to earn could help you to save money too. Student Loan Hero reports that you might be able to score an auto insurance premium discount of up to 25%, depending on your insurance provider, if you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Leave your car at home

Although the freedom to hop in your car and drive wherever and whenever you like can certainly be enticing, you might fare better financially if you leave your car at home when you’re at college. If you do opt to go carless while at school, you won’t be alone. According to U.S. News & World Report, less than half the students at the 214 national universities surveyed brought their cars to campus.

If you choose this option and your college is more than 100 miles away from home, be sure to call your insurer to give them a heads up. You might qualify for a discount on your premium—sometimes as high as 20%.

Related: Does It Make Financial Sense to Start Driving in College?

Stay on your parents’ insurance plan

Staying on your parents’ insurance is a great way to potentially save money on your auto insurance while you’re in college. As long as your permanent address is still the same as your mom and dad’s, most insurers will allow it.

Of course, while being on your family’s insurance policy may save you money (even if you’re reimbursing your parents for the cost of coverage), be aware that your family is taking on some added risk. If you’re in an accident while on the family insurance policy, it could cause a rate increase for everyone, not just you.

Take a defensive driving class

Adding another class to your busy college schedule might not sound very enticing, but a defensive driving course might save you money on your auto insurance premium. Some insurance providers may offer discounts if you complete an approved course too. Just be sure to check with your insurance company before you sign up to get the details.

Shop for the best deal

Likely the best way to save money on auto insurance—whether you’re a college student or a new retiree—is to shop around for the best rate. Don’t be afraid to ask different issuers about available discounts as well. By comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies, you have a better chance of finding the best deal available for your situation.

Non-owner car insurance

As mentioned earlier, a lot of students don’t bring their vehicles to college. In fact, many don’t own a vehicle at all. But just because you don’t have a vehicle in your name doesn’t mean you’ll never be driving. That begs the question: Do you need car insurance if you don’t actually own a car? If you plan to borrow or rent a car, you might.

Non-owner car insurance is designed for licensed drivers who, as the name suggests, don’t actually own a vehicle. It’s a type of policy that can provide you a degree of coverage in case you ever cause an accident while driving. Essentially, it’s liability coverage that may pay for the damages you cause to others but not damages to the vehicle you’re driving or to you personally.

Non-owner coverage is often purchased by people who:

  • Borrow vehicles often
  • Regularly use car-sharing services (Zipcar, Enterprise CarShare, BMW ReachNow, etc.)
  • Rent vehicles frequently
  • Want to avoid a lapse in auto insurance coverage

Just like any other type of insurance, if you’re considering a non-owner policy, it’s smart to compare what’s available from different providers first.

Related: Pros and Cons of Owning a Car in College: On Campus vs. Off Campus

The bottom line

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to picking the best (and the most affordable) car insurance while you’re in college. Insurance companies consider a variety of factors when pricing premiums, and the perfect policy for you might not be so perfect for the next college student.

Your best bet is to do your homework and take time to compare policies and pricing from different insurance providers. If you follow this advice, you should be able to find the auto insurance policy that offers you the coverage you need at an affordable price.

You can also save money in college with scholarships! Find some today with our Scholarship Search tool.

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About Michelle Lambright Black

Michelle Lambright Black

Michelle Lambright Black, founder of CreditWriter.com and HerCreditMatters.com, is a leading credit expert with over 15 years of experience in the credit industry. She’s an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, identity theft, budgeting, and debt eradication. Michelle is also an experienced personal finance and travel writer. You can connect with her on Twitter @MichelleLBlack and Instagram @CreditWriter.


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