Car insurance for teens is expensive. Teenagers pay an average of $397 a month for an individual car insurance policy, while parents who add a teen driver to their policy can expect to pay an extra $187 a month for to add a teen to their own policy.

Average cost of teenage car insurance

In most cases, it is cheapest for parents to add a teenage driver to their policy. According to our data, separate polices for a 50-year old driver and a teen driver cost $508 a month combined, while a joint policy costs $298 a year on average.

 

Age and gender are large car insurance rate factors among young drivers, meaning they affect the cost of insurance substantially. For example, adding an 18-year-old female to a parent’s car insurance policy costs an additional $1,919 a year, while adding an 18-year-old male adds $2,581 to the existing policy.

 

On average, adding a teenage male to an auto insurance policy costs about 20% more than adding a teenage female. The cost of insuring a teen driver may be high, but its an important that teenagers get the coverage they need. If a teenager drives a vehicle regularly, they need insurance.

Get the cheapest auto insurance for you and your teenager when you compare quotes

Cheap car insurance for teens

Because finding the cheapest car insurance for a teenage driver depends so much on age and gender, we analyzed more than 41,000 quotes from 12 of the top companies in the U.S. to find the cheapest company for you.

Our data shows that Progressive is the cheapest auto insurance company for a parent and their teen driver. Erie, State Farm and USAA also provide affordable rates for teen drivers.

Cheapest car insurance companies for parents and teenage drivers
Company Parent and 16-year-old Parent and 17-year-old Parent and 18-year-old Parent and 19-year-old
Progressive $1,640 $1,640 $1,640 $1,640
Erie $2,030 $1,940 $1,805 $1,686
State Farm $2,647 $2,370 $2,162 $1,990
USAA $3,053 $2,953 $2,850 $2,676
Average $3,758 $3,738 $3,577 $3,248
American Family $3,765 $3,765 $3,765 $3,098
Nationwide $3,819 $3,743 $3,631 $3,313
GEICO $4,185 $4,094 $3,858 $3,559
Travelers $4,584 $3,949 $4,030 $3,792
Mercury $4,804 $4,784 $4,311 $3,615
Auto-Owners $4,839 $4,325 $3,787 $3,435
Allstate $5,607 $7,165 $6,985 $6,415
*USAA auto insurance is only available to military service members, veterans and their families

We also recommend some of the cheapest companies for teen drivers in our rankings of the best auto insurance companies.

Compare rates from the top insurance companies in the U.S.

Why is car insurance for teens so expensive?

Teen car insurance is so expensive because teenage drivers pose a big risk to insurance companies.

For example, young people between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 6.5% of the U.S. population in 2017. But according to the CDC, those same teens caused over $13 billion in total costs of motor vehicle injuries. That was about 8% of all injury costs that year.

There are many reasons why teens tend to be dangerous behind the wheel — and why they tend to pay a lot for car insurance:

Inexperience

Teens are new to driving. They are more likely to make mistakes behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of serious accidents involving teens are due to “critical errors.”

Inexperience leads to mistakes, and mistakes lead to accidents. Teen drivers get into a lot of accidents — 14% of all police reported accidents involve a teenage driver, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Crash severity

Not only do teenagers crash more often than older drivers their accidents are also more serious. In 2017, an average of six teenagers died every day due to car accidents. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal car accident than those over the age of 20.

Frequent citations

Teens rack up tickets and citations. In California, for example, the citation rate for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 is 2.1 times higher than it is for all other age groups.

Distraction

A 2015 AAA study of 1,700 teen driver accidents found that distraction was a factor in 58% of accidents. Whether it’s phone use, fiddling with the radio or chatting with a passenger, teens are simply more vulnerable to distractions while driving.

When do car insurance rates go down for young drivers?

Drivers typically benefit from big insurance discounts when they turn 25. Insurance companies find that drivers ages 25 and up are statistically better drivers than younger people. They are less likely to cause accidents and violations, and their insurance rates reflect that.

While a rate decrease is typical around age 25, it's not a guarantee. If you have a bad driving record, you may still pay high insurance premiums.

How can I get cheaper teen car insurance?

Teen auto insurance is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar for it. Here’s how to get the cheapest car insurance for teens.

Driving courses

People who complete certain driving courses and programs often earn great car insurance discounts. Defensive driving courses could net you a 10% rate discount. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs may help you save money, too. Plus, a GDL helps ensure that a teenager is a safer driver.

Good grades

Most insurance companies offer discounts to student drivers with good grades. Check with your insurer to see if you qualify for one of these good student discounts.

Safety features

You may qualify for big discounts if your car has safety features or enhancements. Some of the vehicle add-ons that can save you money:

  • Anti-theft devices
  • Blind-spot detection systems
  • Electronic stability control
  • Monitoring devices

Buy a safe car

Insurance companies determine your rates in part by your car make and model. This is even more important when insuring a young driver. Teens can get big discounts when they drive a safe vehicle.

Best cars for teen drivers

With so many makes and models available, picking a first car for a teen is no easy feat. One car feature that matters no matter what make or model you choose, though, is safety. Driving a safe car as a teen is vital for two reasons:

It costs less to insure a safer vehicle. That's especially true for teen drivers.

Teenagers get in more fatal car accidents than any other age group. A safe car can be the difference between life and death.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published a study of the best car make and models for teenagers. These rankings are based on four parameters:

Cars with less power are safer for teens. There are no flashy sports cars with high horsepower on this list.

Bigger and heavier vehicles are safer, too. They accelerate slower, and they protect the driver more in the event of a crash.

Electronic stability control, or ESC, helps drivers control the car on curves and poor terrain.

Safety ratings are crucial. This list contains only vehicles with a minimum four-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Most teenagers drive used vehicles, so we set a $10,000 price limit for the table below. Listed prices are based on Kelley Blue Book valuation. Using this data and qualifiers, we selected the following 10 best cars and SUVs for teen drivers:

Best cars for teen drivers
Make Model Year Price
Ford Flex 2011 and newer $8,700
Ford Fusion 2013 and newer $8,100
Ford Taurus 2013 and newer $10,000
Honda Accord (coupe) 2013 and newer $8,900
Honda Accord (sedan) 2013 and newer $9,400
Mazda 6 2014 and newer $9,000
Subaru Legacy 2013 and newer $8,300
Volkswagen Jetta 2015 and newer $8,900
Volkswagen Passat 2013 and newer $6,600
Volvo S60 2011 and newer $7,900

What kinds of car insurance coverage do teens need?

There are many different types of car insurance coverage. Use the following information to decide which kind and how much you need as a teen driver.

Liability

Every teen's car insurance policy must include liability coverage. Liability coverage pays for damages to other people and their property.

Skimping on liability car insurance is a common mistake. If you or your teen cause an accident involving another person, though, you're going to be on the hook for that person’s damages. Without liability coverage, those costs could wreck your financial future. If you can afford it, buy more than your state's minimum level of liability coverage.

Buying state-minimum coverage is tempting because it saves money. But it opens the door for lawsuits and bankruptcy if you cause an accident. That's why experts recommend you buy at least $50,000 in property damage liability and $100,000/$300,000 in bodily injury liability.

Comprehensive and collision

These two coverages work together to pay for damage to your car. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from non-collision damage like natural disasters, theft and vandalism. Collision coverage reimburses you for vehicle damage caused by an accident.

These coverages are usually required for financed cars. If you drive an older used car that isn't worth much, consider skipping collision and comprehensive. Why? Let’s say your car is worth $2,500. If you pay $500 a year for collision insurance, that equals 20% of your car’s value.

Uninsured and underinsured

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you when a driver without insurance — or without enough insurance — hits you and can't pay your bills.

If you have collision insurance, it will help cover your car's damages. That's a possible reason to skip out on uninsured and underinsured coverage.

Since this coverage depends on other drivers, it's not vital for teens like liability insurance. If you can afford it, though, it's a great added layer of protection.

Methodology

We aggregated 41,580 quotes from the following 11 companies: Allstate, American Family, Auto-Owners, Erie, GEICO, Mercury, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers and USAA. Our sample parent was a 50-year-old with a clean driving record and good credit.

The quotes we collected were from every ZIP code in Illinois and Oregon. These states were chosen because they are representative of the national car insurance marketplace and typically have average rates around the nationwide average.

We used a full coverage policy for a 2015 Toyota Camry LE, with policy coverage limits as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability: 25/50
  • Property damage liability: $20,000
  • Comprehensive and collision deductible: $500
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): $1,000
  • Uninsured motorist property damage liability: 25/50
  • MedPay: $1,000

Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.

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