We found that car insurance for 18-year-old drivers costs $4,621 per year, on average. That’s $3,366 per year more than the national average for drivers of all ages.

Why is car insurance so expensive for 18-year-olds? The main reason is insurers consider 18-year-olds and other teens to be high-risk drivers because of their lack of experience behind the wheel.

You can still get cheap car insurance as an 18-year-old male or female, though. What you pay for auto coverage depends on several rate factors, like where you live and where you buy your policy. Also, you might be able to save money on car insurance as an 18-year-old if you can get on a parent’s policy rather than buy your own. Discounts may help lower your rate, too.

This article will cover the above in detail, as well as:

How much is car insurance for an 18-year-old?

The average cost of car insurance for an 18-year-old is $385 per month, based on our research.

This figure is for both male and female drivers, and across numerous insurance companies. You will likely pay more than the average cost of $385 per month for auto insurance if you are an 18-year-old male, and you will likely pay less than that amount if you are an 18-year-old female, as you’ll learn below.

What is the average car insurance cost for 18-year-old males?

Car insurance for 18-year-old males costs an average of $5,124 per year, according to our data. That breaks down to $427 per month.

You might pay more or less than $427 per month for auto insurance as an 18-year-old male driver depending on where you buy coverage and many other rate factors, though.

For example, if you buy auto insurance from Erie, your rate may be as low as $205 per month — as was the case for our sample driver. If you get coverage from Mercury, though, your rate may be as high as $902 per month — the most expensive of the companies we surveyed.

What is the average car insurance cost for 18-year-old females?

Car insurance for 18-year-old females costs an average of $4,118 per year, according to our data. That equals $343 per month — or $84 per month less than the average rate for 18-year-old male drivers.

Why do 18-year-old females pay less for car insurance than males of the same age? The main reason is that insurance companies see females, including teen females, as safer drivers than their male counterparts. Because of this, they tend to charge women less for car insurance than they do men.

What are the best car insurance companies for 18-year-olds?

Based on our research, Erie, State Farm and USAA are the best car insurance companies for 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest car insurance companies for 18-year-old drivers
Company Average monthly rate
Erie $190
State Farm $220
USAA $227
Auto-Owners $326
Travelers $357
GEICO $406
American Family $414
Allstate $450
Nationwide $464
Progressive $507
Mercury $790
Average $385
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.

Erie offers the best and cheapest car insurance for 18-year-old drivers, our data shows, with an average rate of $190 per month.

State Farm and USAA also offer cheap car insurance for 18-year-olds, with average rates of $220 per month and $227 per month, respectively.

Mercury offered the highest rates for 18-year-old drivers of all the companies we surveyed, at $790 per month.

Get quotes from top insurance companies for 18-year-old drivers.

If you are a male driver, you might pay more than these average amounts for car insurance. And if you’re a female, you might pay less, as the graph below shows.

Average monthly car insurance rates for 18-year-old males and females, by company
Company 18-year-old male 18-year-old female % difference
Allstate $497 $402 24%
American Family $486 $342 42%
Auto-Owners $367 $285 29%
Erie $205 $175 17%
GEICO $452 $360 26%
Mercury $902 $678 33%
Nationwide $503 $424 19%
Progressive $537 $477 13%
State Farm $245 $195 26%
Travelers $389 $324 20%
USAA $234 $221 6%
Average $427 $343 24%
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.

On average, 18-year-old males pay 24% more for car insurance than 18-year-old females.

The difference in car insurance rates between 18-year-old males and females is much smaller if you buy coverage at USAA, which only charges young male drivers 6% more than what it charges female drivers.

If you’re an 18-year-old male and you buy auto insurance coverage at American Family, though, you might pay as much as 42% more than a female would.

How much does it cost to add an 18-year-old to a car insurance policy?

It costs an average of $2,581 per year to add an 18-year-old male to a parent’s car insurance policy, according to our survey data. And it costs an average of $1,919 per year to add an 18-year-old female to a parent’s car insurance policy.

That may sound like a lot, but it’s far cheaper than if the 18-year-old and parent bought separate car insurance policies. Our research found that when an 18-year-old and their 50-year-old parent bought separate car insurance policies, they paid a total of $6,277 per year, on average. When that same 18-year-old and 50-year-old parent bought a car insurance policy that covered them both, though, they paid $3,577 per year. That’s a savings of $2,700 per year.

Given that, if you’re 18 years old and a parent can — and is willing to — add you as a driver to their car insurance policy, take them up on the offer. It is the easiest and best way to save money on car insurance as an 18-year-old.

How can I get cheap car insurance at age 18?

Although car insurance is expensive for 18-year-olds, there are things you can do to lower your rates and save money on coverage.

Staying on your parents’ car insurance policy, or getting added to it, is one example. Shopping around and comparing quotes from several insurance companies is another.

Discounts can help you get cheap car insurance as an 18-year-old, too. Here are some popular insurance discounts available to teen drivers:

  • Good student discount. If you're a student at a university, college or high school and you have decent grades, you may be eligible for savings. You'll need to provide proof of good grades, though — usually a B average or better.
  • Defensive driving discount. Graduating from an accredited defensive driving course can save you money, too. Why? It proves to insurers that you care about safety on the road.
  • Resident student discount. Some insurance companies offer discounts to students who attend school more than 100 miles from home.

Do car insurance rates go down at age 18?

If you are 18 years old and you have been driving for a couple of years, your car insurance rates may start to go down. That said, you can expect more noticeable drops in car insurance rates at age 20, and especially at age 25.

Most people see their car insurance rates steadily decrease from age 16 to 25 for every year they keep their driving records clean.

Methodology

This article uses average rates that are based on thousands of quotes for full-coverage auto insurance in random national ZIP codes. These quotes are for 18-year-old male and female drivers in most cases, and for 50-year-old male and female drivers when talking about parent auto insurance policies. All of these sample drivers have clean driving records and excellent credit. Also, they own a 2012 Honda Accord LX and drive it 16,000 miles per year.

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