Teenagers pay an average of $371 a month for an individual car insurance policy, while parents who add a teen driver to their policy can expect to pay an extra $167 a month.
- How much is car insurance for a teenager?
- Cheapest car insurance for teens
- The cheapest states for teen drivers
- Why car insurance is expensive for teenagers
Average cost of car insurance for teens
In most cases, it is cheapest for parents to add a teenage driver to their policy. According to our data, separate policies for a 50-year old driver and a teen driver cost a total of $463 a month, while a joint policy costs an average $351 a year.
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 $2,168 a year, while adding an 18-year-old male adds $2,665 to the existing policy.
On average, adding a teenage male to an auto insurance policy costs about 13% more than adding a teenage female. The cost of insuring a teen driver may be high, but it's 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 58,000 quotes from 12 of the top companies in the U.S. to find the cheapest company for you.
Our data shows that State Farm is the cheapest auto insurance company for a parent and their teen driver. Progressive, USAA and Country Preferred also provide affordable rates for teen drivers.
|Company||Parent and 16-year-old||Parent and 17-year-old||Parent and 18-year-old||Parent and 19-year-old|
|*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.
The cheapest states for teen drivers
Where you live can have a major impact on how much you’re going to pay for car insurance. We found that on average, teenage drivers in Hawaii pay around $1,600 a year, while teens in New York pay $15,000 for the same coverage. Those numbers, however, reflect the cost of insuring a teenage driver on their own. It’s much cheaper to add a young driver to an existing policy.
|State||Yearly cost - minimum coverage||Yearly cost - full coverage|
Why is car insurance for teens so expensive?
Teen car insurance is so expensive because teenage drivers pose a big risk to insurance companies.
Consider this: young people between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 6.5% of the U.S. population in 2017. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those same teens caused over $13 billion in total motor vehicle injury costs. 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.
Teens are new to driving, making them 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.
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.
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.
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?
Auto insurance is expensive for teens, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar for it.
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.
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
Plus, having these precautions in place can potentially decrease your likelihood of being involved in an accident or having your car stolen and never found. In turn, this lowers your chance of needing to file a claim and having your insurance premiums spike.
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 the first car for a teen is no easy feat. One car feature that matters no matter which 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.
Most teenagers drive used vehicles, so we set a $10,000 price limit in the table below. Listed prices are based on Kelley Blue Book valuations. Using this data and qualifiers, we selected the following 10 best cars and SUVs for teen drivers:
|Mazda||3 (sedan or hatchback)||2014 or newer||$8,100|
|Toyota||Prius||2014 or newer||$8,600|
|Subaru||Outback||2013 or newer||$8,700|
|Subaru||Legacy||2013 or newer||$8,800|
|Mazda||CX-5||2014 or newer||$9,300|
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study of the best car makes and models for teenagers bases its rankings 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 more slowly, and they better protect the driver 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.
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.
Every teen's car insurance policy must include liability coverage. Liability coverage pays for damages to other people and their property, and is required by most states in order to legally drive.
Skimping on liability car insurance is a common mistake. If you or your teen cause an accident involving another person, though, you'll 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 to lawsuits and possibly bankruptcy if you cause an accident while lacking sufficient coverage to pay for damages. 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 leased 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. If you get into an accident, you may be spending more for having the protection than if you had just paid out of pocket.
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.
We aggregated nearly 60,000 quotes from the following 11 companies: Allstate, American Family, Country Preferred, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, USAA, Farmers and Standard Fire. Our sample parent was a 50-year-old with a clean driving record.
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 2012 Honda Accord LX, with policy coverage limits as follows:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
- Property damage liability: $20,000
- Comprehensive and collision deductible: $500
- Uninsured motorist property damage liability: $25,000/$50,000
- MedPay: $1,000
Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.
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