UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Are you a student driver? Or, more likely, are you a parent who is trying to find affordable coverage for your child (who is both a student, and a newly-licensed driver)?
Regardless of which category you fall into, finding an affordable rate for your policy may be a bit of a challenge. But if you know how to navigate the complicated pitfalls of insuring a young driver, you can get some significant discounts.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about insuring a student driver, and how to get the best rates. Just enter your zip code into our FREE quote tool now!
How to Get a Better Deal on Car Insurance for a High School Student
States started passing graduated driver’s license laws (often referred to as GDL laws) in the late 1990s, and the laws eventually spread throughout the country during the early 2000s.
Previously, all a young driver had to do was get a learner’s permit, keep it in good standing for at least 6 months, and then they would automatically be eligible for a full license once they turned 16.
Things are definitely not the case anymore. Between the ages of 14 and 15, depending on what state you live in, a young driver can get their learner’s permit.
During the first six months or up to a full year (again, depending on the state they live in), they have to complete a set number of supervised driving hours with a parent, guardian, or another responsible family member in the vehicle with them before moving to the next stage.
They cannot drive alone. After completing the supervised driving hours without any incidents, they can apply for an intermediate stage permit.
Intermediate stage permit restrictions and requirements vary from state-to-state. Many of them have restricted driving hours, limiting young drivers to only driving during the day, most likely on their way to/from school and, if applicable, an after-school job.
Driving at night and on the weekends is highly restricted. In most states, young drivers will not get a full license until they turn 18, or until they have had their intermediate license for at least one year without incident.
As confusing and inconvenient as some people think these laws are, they are working. Teenage driving accidents dropped by nearly 50 percent in the first year alone.
And, as far as car insurance goes, the fact that these laws make young drivers safer behind the wheel has resulted and a noticeable drop and their car insurance premiums.
But it’s not enough to just passively rely on the safer driving conditions (thanks to GDL laws) to get a better rate on student car insurance. You, as a parent trying to insure a young driver, can be proactive and sign them up for driver’s education courses.
Some programs may teach them how to pass a written test, some may do real-world instruction behind the wheel, but the more reputable organizations will do both.
And once you let your insurance company know that your young driver has passed their driver’s education course, they will likely offer you a discount.
Another way to show your insurance company that your young driver will be responsible behind the wheel is to show them a transcript of their grades. Statistics show that good students who work hard and stay on top of their education generally get into fewer accidents than those who don’t.
And since auto insurance companies like covering drivers with the lowest potential risk of filing a claim, they’re much more likely to offer a discount for good grades as well.
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How to Get a Better Deal on Car Insurance for a College Student
During the middle and late years of their high school experience, young drivers can get better rates on their auto insurance premiums through honoring GDL laws, taking a driver’s education course, and getting the best possible grades they can.
But what happens when a young driver is ready to go off to college? Well, this lends some flexibility to the situation. When it comes to pursuing higher education, there are many factors that, if you take advantage of them properly, can help you get a better rate.
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We’ll go over a few of the most popular ones here.
If you are a parent whose young college student is still on your policy, you may be eligible for a few different discounts: resident student driver discounts, permissive driver discounts, and reduced mileage discounts.
If your child attends a college that is more than a hundred miles away from your home and they leave their vehicle behind, as long as they are on your family insurance policy, you could qualify for a resident student driver discount.
Likewise, you should also ask your insurance agent about a reduced mileage discount for the vehicle they usually drive which is covered under your insurance policy. If they are living far away and relying upon other forms of transportation to get around, that vehicle will be much less likely to get into an accident.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be charged as much to carry insurance on it.
A permissive driver status isn’t so much as a discount, but a change to who is covered on your policy. Your young driver can be considered a “permissive driver” as long as a) they are not explicitly listed on your family policy, and b) they do not drive the vehicle for any longer than 30 days.
This is technically legal because, according to most state laws, the insurance mandate applies to the vehicle, and not necessarily the driver.
But if you’re young driver takes legal possession of the vehicle, takes it with them to college, or drives it for more than 30 days (such as on a summer break), then they either have to get their own insurance policy or be added back onto yours.
Otherwise, they are considered to be driving illegally without coverage.
Factors to Keep in Mind When Searching for a Good Deal on Student Car Insurance
Below are some factors that you need to keep in mind when searching for the best price on auto insurance coverage for someone under the age of 25.
Regardless of whether they are still in high school, on their way to college, pursuing an associate’s degree, or taking some time off to get real world experience in the job market, there are some important issues you will need to navigate in order to not just get the best deal but also make sure the young driver is driving legally.
- Car ownership does matter. If it’s a parents’ car, all drivers should be under the same policy. Co-ownership gives more flexibility and potentially gives your young driver the chance to build up their own credit with an individual policy, but it will likely cost them a pretty penny. If the student driver is 18 and over and owns the car outright, they must be on their own policy; they can no longer be on the same policy as their parents.
- Young drivers are more likely to get into an accident. This is not only an unfortunate fact of life, but the main reason why auto insurance for motorists under the age of 25 is so frighteningly expensive. Unfortunately, teenagers are more likely to fall victim to driving distractions. Furthermore, their lack of experience behind the wheel means that they may not always follow the rules of the road that are designed to keep them safe, or they may make the wrong decision if they only have a split second to react to a potentially dangerous situation. Furthermore, teenagers tend to be more impulsive and more likely to intentionally make bad decisions such as speeding, drinking and driving, or texting-while-driving behind the wheel.
- Save money by getting your student driver the right car. Try to stay away from the extremes. What do we mean by that? Well, if you are particularly affluent, resist the urge to buy your student driver a brand new, shiny, flashy, expensive car. Since they are more likely to damage or destroy such a vehicle, claims will be much more expensive for your insurance company to honor – and they will charge you higher rates as a result. On the other hand, giving your student an old junker could be more costly, too. Since these vehicles are more likely to break down and don’t have as many safety features as a newer one, injuries and accidents can be more detrimental. You also may end up exhausting roadside assistance options in a short amount of time. So what’s the best car for young driver? A gently used, popular, affordably priced vehicle with a high safety rating. All of these factors can help make your young driver’s insurance rates that much more affordable.
- How much coverage do you need? That depends on a few different factors. If you have a young driver on your family policy, then you may want to increase your coverage limits, especially when it comes to liability coverage. If the young driver is on their own, separate policy, the state minimum is mandatory, of course. But higher coverage limits, along with more coverage options, are recommended if they’re worried about getting into a very expensive accident and don’t want to be sued in court. Of course, young drivers own their own policy will have to balance the coverage they want with how much they can actually afford. This can put a huge strain on the financial budget of anyone under the age of 25 who is paying for their own insurance coverage.
- Who is cheaper to insure: boys, or girls? These days, most insurance companies hardly charge much of a difference between male and female drivers – unless the driver is under the age of 25, that is. Statistics show that male teenage drivers are much more likely to drive aggressively, overestimate their abilities as a driver, and take unnecessary risks behind the wheel. Some insurance companies may be so worried about insuring a male teenage driver that they can up their premiums by as much as 15% compared to their female peers.
No matter what, getting auto insurance for your young driver (or getting an affordable policy if you are on your own and under the age of 25) is going to be significantly more expensive.
But following the advice we just giving you can help you get some pretty good deals on your premium.
You can also search among local providers near you for the best deal by comparing quotes right now – we can virtually guarantee that you’ll find a better price then what you’ve already been paying.