auto insurance for college students

There’s always trepidation among parents when it comes to sending their kids off on the road alone. And when that road leads to multiple months away at college? The hair starts to turn gray a little bit quicker. Dealing with young drivers is complicated by the increased propensity of new drivers to get into accidents and their general inexperience with the laws of the road. They’re more likely to be involved in crashes, more likely to speed, and, consequently, more likely than you are to damage your vehicle and the vehicles of other motorists.1 Deciding what car is best to buy for your kids is one thing, figuring out what insurance policy to protect them (and your wallet) with is entirely another.

Car insurance for college kids is one of the most important pieces of protection you can equip them with before allowing them to drive off to school. It protects them from sticky situations of financial liability, protects you if that liability ends up in your mailbox, and generally gives you the peace of mind that, if something does happen, you’ll be covered.

Should college students purchase car insurance?

Some parents may decide that it’s simpler to have their college student buy their own policy rather than stay on the family policy. There are a couple of reasons to do this. One is a basic matter of finances – your policy becomes more expensive if it covers a driver who is under the age of 25, as most undergraduate students tend to be.2 You might also save money if your child is attending college more than 100 miles from your home. Different zip codes may have different average insurance rates, particularly if that zip code is in a different state, so take your child’s home away from home into consideration.3

While some will go the separate policy route, this isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. If your child commutes to college from home or attends college within 100 miles of home, then keeping them on your policy may be best since they will not benefit from different regional insurance rates. Other advantages include additional coverage your plan can provide them if they’re in an accident where someone else is driving and the potential for discounts on your rate if your student gets good grades or simply remains on the policy long enough to qualify for other benefits.4

Types of car coverage for college students

Regardless of whether they’re on your policy or their own, choosing the right kinds of student car insurance is crucial. Collision coverage is always a good idea for any young driver, and college students are no exception. This coverage helps pay for damages to your student’s vehicle if it’s involved in any sort of accident. You can also add property damage liability to protect yourself against the costs of damages inflicted upon other vehicles and property. In a similar vein, bodily injury liability coverage will protect you from paying for the medical bills and lost income of anyone injured in the accident. If your child drives an older car that has had technical troubles in the past, it may also be a good idea to get towing and labor coverage. This will pay to have the car towed off for service.5

Ultimately, the best car insurance for college kids depends upon the individual student being insured. Consider the kind of driver your child is, the type of car they drive, and the type of place (rural, urban, etc.) they’ll be going to school before deciding which coverages they’ll need. Discover more information on how to find affordable coverage that fits your child’s needs.

How college students can save money on car insurance

Most parents would love to find cheap car insurance for college kids, but they’re rarely willing to sacrifice the quality of the coverage to do so. Fortunately, college students can become eligible for a variety of discounts that will make their coverage more affordable.

The Good Student Discount – If a student gets high grades, the cost of covering them gets lower! Nationwide’s Good Student Discount includes students ages 16-24 with proof of academic achievement.6

Driver’s Education Discount – If a driver is better educated on safe driving, they’re less of a risk on the road – it’s that simple! Some insurance companies offer this discount to students who have completed an approved driver training program.7

SmartMiles® Discount – If a student lives close to campus and does not have to drive much, they can get a discount for the reduced risk of being on the road less.8

SmartRide® Discount – If a student is a safe-driver, they can get a discount the reduced risk for driving safely on the road.8

Multi-Policy DiscountRenters insurance is important for any college student who lives in a rented home or apartment, and not just for peace of mind! Bundling that renters insurance together with auto insurance can save an average of $646.9

Learn more about specific auto insurance discounts offered by Nationwide.

You never know what can happen out there on the road, so be sure to take the time and find the right coverage for your child before they leave for school. Get a free auto insurance quote today and learn what coverage options best suit their needs.


The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are services marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. 2022 Nationwide.