Key Takeaways

  • Teens are charged $254 a month less for car insurance when they are added to their parents' policy.
  • Nationwide offers the cheapest car insurance to families with teen drivers.
  • State Farm and American Family offer the cheapest rates to teens on their own.
  • Young female drivers generally qualify for lower rates than their male peers.

The average cost of car insurance for a teen driver is $532 a month, but teens are charged 48% less when they are added to their parents’ policy. Whether you are a young driver or the parent of one, here are the most important things to know about car insurance for teens.

In this article

Average cost of car insurance for teen drivers

Parents who add a teen driver to their car insurance pay an average of $580 a month for a single policy. While this may seem like a lot, it is actually 44% less than a family’s combined cost of having the parents on one policy and their teen on another, which adds up to $834 a month.

In general, a child can remain on their parents’ car insurance when they reside in their parents’ home and/or a parent is listed on their vehicle’s title. However, there are occasions when it makes more sense for a young driver in either of these situations to get their own car insurance.

For parents, placing a teen on your policy adds an average of $278 a month to your car insurance bill. This is 48% less than the $532-a-month rate a teen pays for a standalone policy.

You may see a smaller increase than this if you shop around and compare auto insurance quotes from several companies.

 

If you are the parent of a young driver, your teen’s gender and specific age go a long way toward determining how much you’ll pay to add them to your car insurance.

For example, it costs an average of $272 a month to add a 19-year-old female to your policy, compared to $390 a month to add a 16-year-old male, a 35% difference.

Added monthly costs of placing teen on parents' car insurance
Age of teen Male teen Female teen
16 $390 $350
17 $346 $307
18 $309 $272
19 $285 $254
Note: Average rates based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services for two 50-year-old parents with a teen driver. Your rates may vary.

Cheap car insurance for teens

Among the most widely available national brands, State Farm, American Family and GEICO offer the cheapest car insurance to teens seeking their own policies. USAA’s rates are cheaper than all three companies, but USAA is only available to members of the military community.

Monthly rates for individual teen car insurance
Company 16-year-old 17-year-old 18-year-old
State Farm $429 $377 $330
American Family $444 $380 $369
GEICO $532 $474 $432
Nationwide $616 $624 $612
Allstate $674 $557 $460
Farmers $716 $632 $582
Progressive $758 $699 $597
Travelers $1,552 $1,217 $957
USAA* $315 $274 $232
Note: Average rates based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services for male drivers. Your rates may vary. *Only available to military families.

While age plays a significant role in determining your rates, car insurance companies also consider other factors, including:

  • Crash and vehicle-theft rates in your community
  • Your vehicle’s market value
  • Safety features your vehicle may have
  • Your vehicle’s risk factors, such as a high-performance engine
  • Your driving record, unless you just got your license
  • Any discounts you may qualify to receive

Since each insurance company weighs each factor differently and offers different discounts, you may qualify for a considerably cheaper rate with one company than you do with others. This is why it’s best to shop around.

Find cheap car insurance for your family

Cost of adding a teen to their parents’ car insurance

The cost of adding teens to their parents’ car insurance can vary significantly by company, and this is why parents should shop around for the best rate when their teen reaches driving age.

Among national brands, Nationwide, American Family and State Farm offer the cheapest car insurance to parents with a teen driver.

Monthly car insurance rates for families with a teen driver
Company Two parents and 16-year-old Two parents and 17-year-old Two parents and 18-year-old Two parents and 19-year-old
Nationwide $374 $366 $366 $352
American Family $410 $378 $357 $327
State Farm $477 $438 $430 $391
GEICO $573 $554 $544 $511
Progressive $542 $546 $554 $564
Average $673 $566 $556 $527
Allstate $1,076 $1,020 $969 $913
Travelers $1,156 $989 $989 $867
Farmers $1,097 $1,044 $1,032 $1,054
USAA* $347 $324 $319 $292
Note: Average rates based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services for two 50-year-old parents with a teen driver. Your rates may vary. *Only available to military families.

Costs of teen car insurance per state

At the state level, the average cost of standalone car insurance for teen drivers ranges from $126 a month in Hawaii to $884 a month in Connecticut.

On average, young females are charged 11% less for car insurance than young males, because male teenagers have higher crash rates than their female peers.

However, seven states prohibit car insurance companies from using gender as a rate factor. In California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, a teenage male’s gender cannot be the sole basis for charging him a higher rate than a female with the same rate qualifications.

Monthly car insurance rates for teen drivers by state
State Male drivers Female drivers
Alabama $604 $532
Alaska $368 $313
Arizona $662 $611
Arkansas $443 $389
California $371 $371
Colorado $601 $542
Connecticut $957 $811
Delaware $696 $614
Florida $814 $755
Georgia $557 $440
Hawaii $126 $126
Idaho $257 $221
Illinois $450 $396
Indiana $241 $220
Iowa $282 $222
Kansas $420 $375
Kentucky $661 $576
Louisiana $688 $688
Maine $240 $206
Maryland $504 $419
Massachusetts $406 $406
Michigan $680 $680
Minnesota $422 $365
Mississippi $410 $365
Missouri $373 $317
Montana $282 $282
Nebraska $348 $301
Nevada $693 $620
New Hampshire $397 $342
New Jersey $607 $574
New Mexico $432 $334
New York $758 $758
North Carolina $141 $141
North Dakota $307 $257
Ohio $295 $262
Oklahoma $419 $361
Oregon $470 $434
Pennsylvania $531 $531
Rhode Island $788 $687
South Carolina $553 $480
South Dakota $280 $230
Tennessee $346 $294
Texas $484 $427
Utah $486 $428
Vermont $239 $200
Virginia $337 $280
Washington $375 $337
Washington DC $465 $394
West Virginia $290 $274
Wisconsin $312 $272
Wyoming $277 $200
Note: Average rates based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services for leading insurance companies in each state.

Why is car insurance for teens so expensive?

Teen drivers have the highest crash rates among all age groups, and this is one of the main reasons why car insurance is so expensive for young drivers.

Accidents cost insurance companies money in the form of claims payouts. Insurance companies pass these costs along in the form of higher rates for drivers considered more likely to be involved in an accident.

Statistically, teens, particularly male teens, are more likely to be involved in an accident than those in other age groups. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports:

  • The crash rate for teen drivers is nearly four times higher than it is for those in their 20s or older.
  • Based on vehicle-miles driven, 16- and 17-year-olds are involved in nearly three times as many fatal crashes as drivers aged 20 and up.
  • The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers in their teens was more than twice as high as it was for female teenagers in 2019.

Excessive speeds, distracted driving, and drug or alcohol consumption are among the leading factors that contribute to the high crash rates for teen drivers. Teens need to understand that driving is serious business and avoid these risks when they get behind the wheel.

By virtue of their age, teens have also not yet had enough time to establish a clean driving record and good credit, which are among the factors that often help bring down insurance rates for older drivers.

Discounts for teen drivers

Auto insurance is expensive for teens, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar for it. Here are some of the most common discounts available to teen drivers.

Good grades

Many insurance companies offer a good-student discount to teens who maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better in high school or college. You usually have to provide a copy of the teen’s school transcripts to qualify.

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.

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:

  • Blind-spot detection systems
  • Electronic stability control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Anti-theft 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's make and model, and teens can often get discounts by choosing a safe vehicle.

Safest cars for teen drivers

With so many makes and models available, choosing a car for a teen to drive is no easy feat. One car feature that matters the most, no matter which make or model you choose, is safety. Driving a safe car as a teen is vital for two reasons:

  • It often costs less to insure a safer vehicle.
  • In a crash, a safe car can be the difference between life and death.

IIHS teams with Consumer Reports (CR) to identify the safest cars for teens, based on a combination of factors, including safety ratings and insurance claims history.

For used cars, IIHS and CR recommend:

  • Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback (2014 or newer)
  • Subaru Crosstrek (2018 or newer)
  • Lincoln MKZ (2015 or newer)
  • Toyota Avalon (2015 or newer)
  • Nissan Murano (2015 or newer)

New cars that make the IIHS/CR list include:

  • Honda Insight
  • Kia K5
  • Lexus IS
  • Chevrolet Trailblazer
  • Hyundai Palisade

IIHS and CR generally recommend against high-performance cars, mini cars and large SUVs for teen drivers.

High-performance cars tempt teens to drive at excessive speeds, while mini cars generally provide less structural protection for a vehicle’s occupants in a crash. Large SUVs may be difficult for new drivers to handle and tend to require longer braking distances.

Car insurance for college students

A teen should generally maintain their car insurance while attending college or any other institution of higher learning, but the best approach depends on a teen’s situation.

  • If you are sending your teen off to college without a car, your insurance company may offer an “away at school” discount. This reduces your rate and keeps your teen insured when they borrow a car while away or visiting home.
  • If you plan to send your teen to college with a car, you can usually keep your teen on your car insurance. However, if your teen lives off campus, you may need to change the vehicle’s garaging address with the insurance company.
  • A teen who plans to live off campus may need their own insurance, particularly if a parent is not listed as a registered owner of their vehicle.

Since the specific rules for extending car insurance to a teen while they are at college vary by company, it’s best to discuss your options with your insurance agent.

Young drivers who maintain a clean driving record and establish good credit generally start seeing their car insurance premiums go down in their 20s, with a sizable price dip at age 25.

Teen driver FAQs

Nationwide, American Family and State Farm have the cheapest car insurance for parents who add a teen driver to their policy. State Farm, American Family and GEICO have the cheapest rates for teens needing their own car insurance.

You should add your teen to your car insurance as soon as they get their driver’s license, even if they only plan to drive occasionally. In most states, it is illegal to drive without insurance, and getting into an accident without car insurance can be extremely costly.

A teen generally needs to be 18 to enter any contract, including an insurance agreement. Many states allow licensed drivers under 18 to get their own car insurance if a parent or guardian cosigns their application.

A teen with a learner’s permit generally does not need car insurance until they get their driver’s license. However, you should check with your insurance company to find out about any restrictions on student drivers.

Cars with safety features such as stability control and automatic emergency braking are the best cars for teens to drive, according to the IIHS. Cars with high-performance engines, mini cars and large SUVs are generally considered unsafe for teens.

Methodology

The prices shown in this analysis reflect the average between minimum- and full-coverage car insurance rates, as shown in quotes obtained from Quadrant Information Services for households in Illinois, New York, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

The five states were chosen to reflect geographical diversity.

Households include two 50-year-old parents with a teen driver and two vehicles: a 2012 Honda Accord LX and a 2014 Toyota Camry SE, each driven an average of 13,500 miles per year.

Unless otherwise noted, rates for teen drivers reflect the average of prices available to all teens, male and female, aged 16 to 19 years old, for minimum- and full-coverage policies.

Minimum-coverage policies meet each state’s minimum requirements for liability insurance, uninsured-motorist coverage in Illinois and New York, and personal injury protection (PIP) in New York.

Full coverage policies includes minimum levels of uninsured-motorist coverage and/or PIP, where required, plus the following coverages, limits and deductibles:

QuoteWizard.com LLC has made every effort to ensure that the information on this site is correct, but we cannot guarantee that it is free of inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. All content and services provided on or through this site are provided "as is" and "as available" for use. QuoteWizard.com LLC makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of this site or to the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. You expressly agree that your use of this site is at your sole risk.