Whether you're taking a car to college or not, it's good to know ways to save money on car insurance when you're a student.

In general, it's cheaper to stay on a parent's policy rather than getting your own. Here are other important things to know about car insurance for college students.

If you're not taking a car to college:

  • Have your parents ask their car insurance agent about a price break, since you won't be home most of the year to drive the family's cars. This price break is typically available if you're going 100 miles or more away to school.
  • Aim for a good student discount, if your insurer offers one. They're usually for full-time students with Bs or better.

If you are taking a car to college:

  • If your insurer offers a good student discount, try to keep your grades up in order to qualify.
  • Don't let friends at school drive your car. If they crash, the accident can affect your policy's rates.
  • If your school is in an urban or high-crime area, make sure you have good insurance coverage on the car. For example, comprehensive car insurance pays for car theft and vandalism, among other things. Collision coverage pays for damage to your own car if you hit other cars, parking meters, signs and other objects.
  • If you're buying a car to drive to college, look at small SUVs. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape are among the cheapest cars to insure. Avoid sports cars.

Here's a look at student car insurance price breaks from large insurers. Ask your insurance agent how a move to college could affect your own rates, and what special discounts are available.

Companies with discounts for student car insurance

American Family
  • Good student discount
  • "Away at school" discount if you're more than 100 miles away from home
  • The "Teen Safe Driver" program gives a discount if your teen uses an app that scores each ride for one year or 3,000 miles.
  • Good student discount
  • Discount if student attends school at least 100 miles away from home
  • Discount if a teen completes the teenSMART driving program
Farmers Insurance
  • Good student discount if you're under 25
  • Good student discount
  • Good driver discount if you haven't had an accident in five years
  • Discounts for membership in certain fraternities and sororities, honor societies and other student organizations
Liberty Mutual
  • Good student discount if you're under 25
  • "Student away at school" discount if you're more than 100 miles away from home and drive only occasionally
Nationwide Insurance
  • Good student discount if you're under 25
Progressive Insurance
  • Good student discount
  • Discount for students 100 miles or more away at college who drive only occasionally and are under age 23
State Farm
  • Good student discount up to 25%, up to age 25
  • "Student away at school" discount if you only drive when you're home on school vacations, up to age 25

Don't be swayed by long lists of car insurance discounts, though. They don't necessarily lead to the lowest price. Compare multiple quotes and judge by the bottom line.

Home and renters insurance considerations

Car insurance may be top of mind when you're heading off to college, but don't forget about insurance for your belongings:

  • If you live in a dorm room, your parents' renters or home insurance will extend to your belongings. This means you can make insurance claims if your possessions are stolen or destroyed by fire or other problems covered by the policy.
  • If you live in an off-campus apartment you need your own renters insurance policy in order to have proper insurance for your possessions.