Cheap Car Insurance for Single Parents

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Cheap Car Insurance for Single Parents

Being a single parent is unquestionably difficult and that remains especially true when it comes to finding cheap car insurance. On average, single parents pay $130 more a year for insuring themselves and one teen driver, than two parents with a teenager of the same age. This has to do with the way driving risk is seen between married and unmarried individuals to an insurance company. Insurance companies use historical data which shows married couples are more likely to share driving responsibilities and thus drive less. Because of this (and the overarching idea to keep your car insurance rates affordable), we decided to look at some top companies with a user profile of a single parent with a teen driver added to the insurance policy. Let’s get started and get you saving.

  1. Divorce and car insurance: the logistics
  2. Who has the cheapest car insurance for single parents?
  3. Ways to save with a teen driver
  4. Tips for single parents without driving-aged children
  5. Additional Resources

Kids and divorce: Handling a car insurance

If you’re a single mom or dad who has never been married, you can skip this section. However, if you’ve been married and are now trying to figure out how to handle your car insurance, we have some suggestions for you.

Note: this is a quick summary of car insurance after a divorce. For our more in-depth review of cheap car insurance after a divorce, here.

Who insures who?

If you have driving-aged teens or young adults and who split their time evenly between you and your former spouse’s residences, you guys will most likely both insure your teen. Because of the nature of their business, an insurance company likes to be aware of all the risk presented to them before pricing a policy. Meaning, if your teen is going to be staying at the residence frequently and using the vehicle frequently (about 12 times a year), you will probably need them to be on your policy. For unique situations, you can always ask your insurance company.

Cheap car insurance as a single parent is…

As we discussed, single moms and dads pay $130 more a year for auto insurance than married couples. Because of this, saving money is imperative. So, in our efforts to do so, we created a user profile and compared prices across 7 major insurance companies across the US. Here are the results.

Single Parent with Teen

Company None 16-Year-Olds 17-Year-Olds 18-Year-Olds 19-Year-Olds
Allstate $1,453 $3,425 $3,617 $2,869 $2,567
Berkshire Hathaway $1,342 $3,083 $2,854 $2,602 $2,311
Farmers $1,290 $2,783 $2,574 $2,351 $2,051
Liberty Mutual $1,377 $3,258 $3,027 $2,761 $2,437
Nationwide $1,228 $2,713 $2,556 $2,350 $2,094
Progressive $1,379 $3,083 $2,861 $2,620 $2,317
State Farm $1,410 $3,320 $2,972 $2,698 $2,416

As you can see, with all metrics constant, Nationwide is the cheapest company for single parents. No matter what, adding a teen is going to be very expensive. Going from a single driver to a single parent will increase your car insurance rate by an average of 115% across our selected carriers.

You should consider that just because Nationwide was the cheapest car insurance company for our user profile, doesn’t mean it will be for you and your teen. Your best bet for finding the cheapest insurance is to follow our guide and compare with as many insurance companies as possible.

How to save with teens

Even if you choose Nationwide or have two adults drivers on the policy, there's no really getting around the fact you’re going to be paying a lot of adding your teen to your car insurance policy. So, in addition to choosing the right company for you, here are some additional cost-cutting solutions.

Look for teen-specific discounts

If your teen is willing, have them take a defensive driving course. Some insurance companies see teens who have taken a defensive driving course as less likely to be involved in an accident. Thus, they are often rewarded with decreased car insurance rate. Keeping with this idea, if your teen has above a 3.0 GPA, you might be eligible for a Good Student Discount. Insurance companies view drivers who have a high GPA similarly to those who have taken a defensive driving course — less likely to get into an accident or file a claim. Below are some estimated savings for these discounts.

Average Savings for Good Student and Good Driver Discount

Age Male Female
16 $439 $248
17 $348 $222
18 $338 $197
19 $278 $160

Bear in mind, while teenage boys do receive a higher discount for these discounts that reflective of their premiums being higher in the first place. Insurance companies view teenage boys as riskier than teenage girls in terms of their driving abilities.

Pick a moderate vehicle for your teen

The vehicle you pick for your teen has a huge impact on their car insurance rate, just as it does with your premium. So, while your teen would really love that new pick-up truck, your car insurance rate definitely won’t. When considering what kind of vehicle your teen should drive, think moderately.

Be smart with coverage options

Because cars depreciate over time, the physical coverage (comprehensive and collision) you had on your ‘99 civic might not be necessary anymore. If you’re thinking about dropping these optional coverages, here’s a checklist:

  • Do you have a loan on the vehicle?
  • If you have a loan, you can’t remove physical coverage from the vehicle.

  • What’s the value of the vehicle?
  • Your best bet for determining this is enter the vehicle information into NADA and Kelley Blue Book.

  • How much premium is your comprehensive and collision coverage?
  • Ask a representative at your insurance company how much additional premium it costs to keep these coverages. If the value of the additional coverage is more than the value of the car, you probably don’t need this coverage. These coverages are essential if your vehicle is totaled, but if your vehicle isn’t worth the car insurance rate for them, it’s not necessary.

  • Consider raising your deductible
  • If it’s determined that you need to keep these coverages, consider raising your deductibles. If you raise your deductibles, you lower your car insurance rate because you’re taking a greater financial responsibility from your insurance company in event of an accident.

Be smart with your claims

Basically, being smart with your claims means you shouldn't use your collision coverage unless it’s a total loss. If you’ve been in an accident, whether you hit a pole or another car, insurance companies will deem that as an at-fault accident and correspondingly raise your rates. Now, for most violations and accidents, your insurance company will charge you (i.e., financially) for 3 years. So, when you’re considering whether or not to file a claim, consider the monetary impact of that premium raise in addition to your deductible (if applicable), and your existing premium versus paying the claim out of pocket.

Here is the average rate increase for at-fault accidents in the US. If you’re looking for state-specific information, check out our State of Insurance analysis (page 58).

Premium Increase after At-Fault Accidents with Dollar Value of Damage

None Damage between $1000-$2000 Damage greater than $2000
$1,427 $611 $688

So, when you’re thinking about filing a claim versus paying out of pocket, you should consider if the value of your deductible + the increased rate after an at-fault accident (+ over 3 years) is greater than the estimated value of the damage. You can find the estimated value of the damage by taking the vehicle to a local repair shop.

Shop around

As we stated, Nationwide was the cheapest company for our profile. But that doesn’t mean it will be for yours. Your best bet for finding affordable auto insurance as a single parent to look at as many companies. Do that here with us.

Cheap car insurance for parents without driving teens

Even if you’re a single mom or dad but you don’t yet have driving children, saving on auto insurance is still important. On average, a single person (parent status isn’t a factor if your children aren’t driving) pays $80 more per year than a married person. As we mentioned, this has to do with the way insurance companies see single people as riskier drivers than married couples, given the proclivity for married couples to share driving responsibilities. Ignoring the unfairness, let’s explore some ways to save.

We’re going to continue with the previously expressed ideas…

  • Be smart with your claims
  • Be smart with your coverage
  • Shop around

But, if you’re still looking to save on your car insurance, you can consider the following tips:

Consider telematics

Telematics are in-car devices that motor the way you drive in order to better predict the kind of customer you will be. After about six months, a new premium will be generated based on mileage, speed, and driving behavior. Instead of using non-driving factors, such as your marital status, telematics allows your premium to be more accurately represented by how you drive.

Company Estimated Savings
Progressive's SnapShot Average of $130
Allstate's Drivewise Average of 10-25%
State Farm's Drive Safe & Save Up to 15%
Esurance's DriveSense Varies
Nationwide's SmartRide Up to 40%
Liberty Mutual's RightTrack Average of 5-30%

This is an idea to consider if you have teen drivers, but be cautious: if your teen drives recklessly, it could negatively impact your car insurance rate. Also, this program isn’t available in every state so you need to check with your company prior.

Consider how you pay

By paying your insurance up front (paid in full) or via your bank account helps cut down on transaction fees. On average, paying via your bank account can save you $21/year while paying up-front will save you nearly $70/year. For this savings options, it’s the little things that count.

Bundle insurable policies

By keeping all policies with one insurance company, you can save between $77-$132 a year on your auto insurance only. You would also receive a discount on your home, renters, or condo insurance as well. So, not only do you see some savings, but it also reduces the number of insurance companies you have to deal with. Win, win.

Average Annual Savings by Bundling

Renters Savings Condo Savings Homeowner Savings
$77 $113 $132

Compare car insurance rates today!

User Methodology

In order to determine which company had the cheapest car insurance rates, we created a user profile with one single parent and one teen. We did this survey twice - one with a single parent with a daughter and another with a son. We then averaged the premiums for brevity. Here is our user profile.

Parent Profile
  • Age: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Vehicle: 2013 Honda Accord EX
  • Average Mileage: 10,000
  • BI/PD Limits: 50/100/50
  • UMBI Limits: 50/100
  • Comprehensive and Collision Deductible: $500

Additional Resources

If you're still looking for some additional help with managing car insurance with teens, here are some additional articles.

Cheapest Car Insurance Rates and Tips for 16-Year-Olds
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates and Tips for 17-Year-Olds
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates and Tips for 18-Year-Olds
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates and Tips for 19-Year-Olds
Best Cheap Car Insurance for Your Budget

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