Car insurance isn’t something you can decide to skip out on: you have to get it if you drive a vehicle. In 49 out of 50 states, it’s required by law.
And, as you probably already know well, it can be prohibitively expensive, especially for a student. Car insurance can cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000 a year. That’s because you’re a fairly inexperienced driver – so, companies want to cover their bases with you.
But you don’t have to take the first insurance option you find right off the bat – or even the cheapest one after you shop around. Instead, it’s a good idea to look into how your student status can help you pay less.
Here are five perks for students looking to get their car insured that will help you save some of your hard-earned money.
Get Good Grades to Get a Discount
Yes, not just your parents and teachers care about your grades. Insurance companies do, too – so much that many of them have “good student” discount programs!
As a general rule, if you score a “B” or 3.0 average or better, you’ll get between 10% and 25% off your car insurance premium. Read the fine print carefully, though: some companies provide this type of discount only in selected states.
In case you’re this close to getting a “B” average this term, it’s never too late to make an extra effort to improve your academic performance. You can always find a way to study better with essay writing service EssayPro, for example. As you can see, there’s a good financial incentive to ace your grades!
You can also stumble upon these or similar eligibility criteria for a good student discount.
- Be among the top 20% of your class.
- Be on the Dean’s List, Honor Roll, or a similar list.
- Be among the top 20% of those who took the SAT or another national standardized test.
Leverage Your Memberships
Are you a member of a fraternity or sorority? That can actually matter when you apply for car insurance! If your organization has an agreement with an insurance provider, that can qualify you for another discount.
For example, GEICO offers discounts to members of 64 fraternities and sororities. Plus, this provider offers perks to members of 16 honor societies. And GEICO isn’t the only one with this kind of policy, by far.
What’s more, you can bring down your costs if you’re a part of alumni associations and student organizations. And if your alma mater is on the list of partner educational institutions, you can count on getting a discount, too.
To find out which insurers can offer you a membership-based deal, look for the lists of those select organizations and establishments on their websites. Alternatively, you can talk to someone from your organization or alma mater and ask them about this type of discount.
Consider Finishing a Driver Training Program
Being a student is synonymous with a chronic lack of time, but hear this out. If you make time for finishing a driver training program, this investment will pay itself off in the form of lower premiums.
This offer is typically open only to young drivers (under the age of 21). That’s why you should think about it while you’re still a student.
Why do insurers bother with this? In their mind, if you learned how to drive safely, you’ll be more responsible behind the wheel, and you’ll be less likely to end up in an accident.
Pay attention to the insurer’s policy, though. Most companies have a list of approved courses and their providers, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen the right program at the right place. Plus, ask insurance companies’ representatives about the discount rate and do a cost-benefit analysis to make sure it won’t be a waste of time and money.
Negotiate Staying on Your Parents’ Car Insurance
Premiums usually don’t start going down until you hit 25, no matter how immaculate your driving record is. So, if your parents – and their insurance company – don’t mind, staying on their plan is always going to be a more affordable option.
However, it’s trickier than it sounds. On the one hand, you don’t have an age limit: you can stay on your parents’ policy even if you’re 30. On the other hand, there are these two requirements.
- You can’t be the sole owner of the vehicle: it has to be owned or co-owned by at least one of your parents;
- Your residential address has to remain the same as your parents’ (it can be the case even if your university is in another city or state).
So, if you’ve officially moved out or your vehicle is registered only in your name, you won’t be able to take advantage of this scheme.
Cut Your Costs if You Drive Only When at Home
Do you have a car that stays in your hometown while you’re on campus? There’s no reason to pay the full premium in this case. There are usually two conditions, though:
- you should still be on your parent’s insurance policy;
- the vehicle title should be in this parent’s name (with or without yours).
This type of discount is called “student away at school” or “distant college student.” Depending on the insurer, there can also be an age limit and distance requirement. Progressive, for example, provides a distant college student discount only if
- the college is more than 100 miles away;
- the student is under 23 (i.e., 22 or younger).
3 Other Ways to Bring Down Premium Costs
As you can see, being a student comes with plenty of perks that can reduce your premiums. However, those discounts aren’t the only way to make your car insurance more affordable.
Here are three more things you can do to pay less for car insurance, whether you’re a student or not.
- Keep your driving record squeaky clean. As a general rule, if you spend five years without a single accident, you can have most of your coverages reduced by as much as 20-25%.
- Stay with the same insurance company. Most providers reward their clients’ loyalty with a multi-policy discount. So, if you’re already a client at a certain insurance company, it can make sense to get your car insured there, too.
- Invest in an anti-theft system. If you do, your premium’s comprehensive portion can go down by 20-25% with many providers!
How much you’ll have to spend on car insurance every year depends on many things. Where you have your residential address matters, and so does your age. Your driving history can bring the costs up or down, too.
But, most importantly, different providers offer hugely varying discounts and policies. A policy at one company can cost you twice as much per year as at another one! So, make sure to shop around and compare policies and discounts to get the best deal possible.
Unfortunately, most insurers also don’t make it easy to understand how much exactly your car insurance can cost you or how much you can save. So, always read the fine print. And don’t hesitate to reach out to companies’ representatives if the information online isn’t clear or sufficient, either.