It’s not easy being young. Say what you want about freedom, exploration, and the invulnerability of youth, but in a country where debts are spiraling, unemployment is on the rise, and opportunities are few, those benefits fade fast.
The problem with youth is that it passes you by fairly quickly. In 21st century America, it often ends with close to $40,000 worth of personal debt, a degree that doesn’t seem to go anywhere, and seemingly endless bills.
One of the biggest expenses that students face is car insurance. Not only is it expensive to buy and run a car, but simply getting the basic state-mandated cover can leave you thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Fortunately, there are some ways to save, including discounts and coverage options targeted specifically toward college students.
The Best Car Insurance Discounts for College Students
Most insurers offer something known as a Good Grades Discount. Students who achieve and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or more could save up to 25% with this discount. Other discounts and options are available, and include:
If you have been added to a parent’s policy and attend a school over 100 miles from home, they could save 35% on their premiums. Good student discounts are also available and are capped at 9%.
Discounts are available to students under the age of 25 who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Under-21s can embark on a Driver Training Program for an additional discount, and reductions are also available for members of many different alumni associations.
A 10% good grade discount is offered to students with a 3.0 GPA and covers most basic forms of car insurance, along with collision coverage.
By completing a simple online course, students can save up to 15% with State Farm. This discount is known as the Steer Clear Safe Driver Program and targets some of the high-risk factors associated with young drivers, including speeding and distracted driving. Discounts of up to 25% are also offered through the insurer’s good grade discount.
To save with Progressive, students need at least a B average. It also offers a discount for drivers studying more than 100 miles from home.
Pay Per Mile Insurance
Another way to save on your car insurance is to opt for pay per mile insurance, also known as pay as you go and usage-based insurance. These providers charge you for the miles that you drive and are ideal for students who don’t spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
Most insurance companies have usage-based programs. They use telematics devices to track everything from your mileage to your braking habits, but for a true mileage-based program, look into Metromile.
How to Save on Car Costs
Student car insurance discounts aren’t the only way you can save. It can cost over $8,000 a year to drive. Not only do you need to buy the car—either as a massive initial expense or ongoing monthly payments—but you also need to think about fuel, maintenance, and insurance.
In many ways, it’s like buying a house. You set your sights on a $150,000 property, save your money, and complete the purchase. After that, though, you’ll be hit with a host of additional expenses that you didn’t anticipate, from taxes and legal fees to appliances and more.
Your first step, therefore, is to make sure you can actually afford to own and run the car. Don’t let Shiny Object Syndrome get the better of you; plan, prepare, calculate.
The following tips could help you to bring those costs down:
- Don’t Buy New: Whether you’re financing or paying upfront, buying new is rarely the best way to go. New cars lose up to 30% of their value in the first year. On a $30,000 vehicle, that’s $9,000 lost through depreciation alone.
- Run Some Basic Maintenance: Learn some basic car maintenance, including oil changes, inflating tires, and replacing air filters. It will keep the car running for longer and prevent any costly repairs.
- Don’t Buy Premium: You don’t need premium gas. Your car will run fine with the regular stuff!
- Think About Fuel Economy: Rather than buying the fastest and most powerful car you can buy, look for something economical. The less fuel it consumes, the less money you will spend over the year.
- Go Independent: Skip the dealership and look for an independent mechanic. Check online reviews, speak with friends, and you’ll get a cheaper and more personal service.
- Check the Costs: Use sites like CarMD to check the cost of repairs before you visit the mechanic or commit to a quote. That way, you can negotiate with them and take your car elsewhere if they continue to quote unreasonable prices.