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How much does car insurance cost for a 16-year-old?

 

The average 16-year-old driver in 2020 paid an annual premium of $5,744 (or $479 per month) for insurance, compared to the national average of $1,483 across all ages. 

Nearly every factor within car insurance premiums comes down to one simple question: what’s the risk? Statistically speaking, a 16-year-old teen driver is less experienced and thus more likely to receive a citation or cause an accident. In the eyes of an insurance company, that means more risk and a greater need for financial protection, i.e., higher premiums.  However, there are some ways that 16-year-old drivers can save on insurance coverage, starting by gathering quotes from top insurance providers.

There are many things an insurance company looks at when determining the car insurance rate of a driver. Age, gender, where you live, and what you drive affect how much you pay. And when you’re paying significantly more to insure a newly licensed driver, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. So, let's break it down — starting with which insurance company you should choose.

 


 

Which company offers the cheapest car insurance for a 16-year-old driver?

 

Insurance companyAverage 6-month premiumAverage monthly rate
Allstate$3,979$663 
Farmers$3,151$525
GEICO$2,071$345
Liberty Mutual$4,443$740
Nationwide$1,893$315
Progressive$3,296$549
State Farm$2,001$333
USAA$2,362$394

 

In our survey of average premiums for 16-year-old teen drivers, we identified Nationwide as the best auto insurance company for a typical 16-year-old driver, with State Farm second. Please note: you or your teen driver might not fit The Zebra's composite profile, so be sure to compare a diverse collection of insurance companies to find the best rate for you. Because auto policy rates change so much as drivers age, we recommend comparing car insurance rates every six months.

Although the selected profile and policy might differ from your family's, you can use the above data as a foundational jumping-off point. To see more detailed information and rate analysis for 16-year-old drivers, see our guide below.

How does coverage level impact rates for 16-year-olds?

 

Maintaining an appropriate breadth of coverage as a less experienced teen driver is critical in ensuring you're adequately protected in the case of an at-fault accident. Carrying a low level of coverage — like the state-mandated level of liability — can put you at risk financially, and won't cover damages to your own vehicle.

However, opting for full coverage as a 16-year-old driver comes at a great cost, especially for those on their own policy rather than their parents'. See the chart below to compare how rates can go up drastically if you upgrade from state minimum to full coverage — it's an extra $371 per month.

 

CoverageAverage 6-month premiumMonthly premium
State minimum (liability-only)$1,173$196
Full coverage (50/100/50)$3,401$567
Full coverage (100/300/100$3,564$594

 

Because of how expensive it is for a 16-year-old driver to find cheap full coverage auto insurance, we analyzed rates from some top car insurance companies. The following insurers offer lower rates than the national average for a 16-year-old driver with full coverage at 50/100/50 with a $500 deductible ($3,401 for a six-month policy). Keep in mind some of these insurers don't offer coverage in all states.

 

THE MOST AFFORDABLE INSURANCE COMPANIES FOR FULL COVERAGE: 16-YEAR-OLD DRIVERS

 

Insurance companyAverage 6-month premiumAverage monthly rate
Erie$1,402$234
Auto-Owners$2,139$357
USAA$2,401$400
American Family$2,528$421
Nationwide$2,702$450
GEICO$2,911$485
State Farm$3,114$524
Amica$3,312$552

 

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How gender influences insurance premiums for 16-year-olds

 

Just like age, gender can affect a driver's insurance premiums.

A young male driver is more likely to receive a citation or be in an accident than is a young female driver. As such, they are more expensive to insure.

On average, 16-year-old male drivers pay $300 more per six-month policy period for insurance than do their female counterparts. As drivers age, the difference between genders' auto insurance rates becomes less significant. In fact, some states don't allow insurance companies to use gender as a metric for determining car insurance rates.

 

AVERAGE MONTHLY PREMIUMS FOR 16-YEAR-OLD DRIVERS BY GENDER
AgeMaleFemaleDifference
16$503$453$50

 

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How location influences car insurance rates for 16-year-olds

 

Where you live also plays a big role in deciding your young driver’s insurance premiums. Because insurance as a whole is state-regulated and ZIP-code specific, variations amongst the area you live will cause the cost for car insurance to vary greatly.

States with high numbers of bodily injury claims or states with no-fault laws such as Michigan or Florida will cost more to get insured. Moreover, the number of drivers in your state can also impact your child’s insurance rate. States with a low population density where there is less bodily injury or overall liability insurance claims, such as midwestern states like Ohio, tend to have lower premiums than states that are more populated.

The more drivers your state has, the more likely you are to be near other drivers, increasing the chances of a collision. Insurance companies need to account for that additional risk.

 

MOST EXPENSIVE STATES FOR 16-YEAR-OLD CAR INSURANCE
StateAverage monthly auto insurance rate
Rhode Island$1,120
Louisiana$813
Connecticut$723
Nevada$692
Michigan$523

 


Which vehicles are the cheapest for auto insurance for a 16-year-old driver?

 

The type of car your teen drives will help to dictate their car insurance rates. For example, a teenager with an off-road capable truck is statistically more likely to have a higher insurance rate than a modest sedan.

As a general rule, any vehicle with a high MSRP — like many high-performance sports cars and luxury vehicles — will have a correspondingly high premium because of the expense your insurance company will have to pay to replace it if it's totaled. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper rate for your teen driver, you should stick to a simple car like a sedan. To save even more, consider a used car over a new one.

Consider, as well, the type of insurance coverage your teen driver's vehicle will need. If your teen needs full coverage, including comprehensive and collision coverage as well as uninsured motorist coverage, you can expect to pay more — as demonstrated above.


How to save on car insurance as a 16-year-old driver

 

Good student discount

If your young driver has the grades, you might want to consider the good student discount. Your insurance company will require proof, such as a transcript. Usually, your insurer will require above a 3.0 GPA, or "B" average. But this can vary, so you'll want to speak with your insurer specifically for details.

 

Defensive driver discount

Another option is what’s called a defensive driver discount. Young teenage drivers who have taken a professional driving course are less likely to receive a citation or get into an accident. Like the good student discount, your insurance company will usually require proof of this such as a receipt. Not every insurance company offers this discount, so ask your insurance company beforehand!

 

Keep a clean driving record

Because teens are already more likely to be in a car accident or receive a citation, it is imperative for low rates to keep them out of any legal trouble. Texting while driving, speeding, or being in an at-fault accident can seriously affect your premium. In a state-by-state breakdown, DUIs, racing, and hit-and-runs — on average the most expensive citations — raise insurance premiums by at least 60%. Moreover, most insurance companies offer a good driver discount, dependent on keeping a clean driving record.

Consider, however, that these numbers are a holistic average of the entire U.S. population. If your teen receives a citation or violation, you can expect the rates to be significantly higher. Another thing to keep in mind is how long your rates will be affected after an accident or citation. Regardless of your age, most car insurance companies will charge you for three to five years after an accident. So if your teen driver gets a ticket for racing, that $997 annual premium increase will add up to $2,991 in additional premium over three years.

 

Keep your 16-year-old on the family's auto insurance policy

Although it's tempting to get your child their own policy, our data shows that it will result in higher rates — over $1,600 more per year. However, by putting a teen driver on their parents' policy, the savings can add up to more than 50% compared to a teen on their own policy. Moreover, most insurance companies require anyone living in your residence — as a 16-year-old would likely be — above legal driving age be either added to your policy or be designated as an excluded driver. If your teen were to use your vehicle for any reason, they risk not having coverage because they have a policy of their own and are excluded from your coverage.

 

AVERAGE AUTO INSURANCE RATES BY STATE: ADDING A TEEN TO PARENTS' POLICY
StateAnnual Premium on Family PlanAnnual Premium Without Family Plan
Alaska$2,536$4,241
Alabama$2,670$4,667
Arkansas$2,548$5,422
Arizona$2,905$5,273
California$3,892$4,727
Colorado$2,743$5,585
Connecticut$3,078$5,969
Washington DC$3,145$5,221
Delaware$3,260$5,634
Florida$3,544$5,813
Georgia$2,653$5,500
Hawaii$1,127$1,132
Iowa$1,674$2,880
Idaho$1,892$4,756
Illinois$2,111$3,856
Indiana$1,910$3,275
Kansas$2,454$4,482
Kentucky$3,538$5,703
Louisiana$4,295$7,657
Massachusetts$2,612$4,428
Maryland$2,429$4,499
Maine$1,662$3,609
Michigan$4,379$6,996
Minnesota$2,460$4,278
Missouri$2,339$5,668
Mississippi$2,672$4,761
Montana$2,517$5,321
North Carolina$1,908$2,250
North Dakota$2,085$3,894
Nebraska$1,885$4,328
New Hampshire$2,279$3,380
New Jersey$2,994$5,128
New Mexico$2,648$4,146
Nevada$3,811$6,114
New York$2,838$4,492
Ohio$1,730$3,076
Oklahoma$2,923$4,940
Oregon$2,467$4,692
Pennsylvania$2,483$4,163
Rhode Island$4,598$8,553
South Carolina$2,543$4,405
South Dakota$2,206$3,856
Tennessee$2,455$4,118
Texas$3,389$3,707
Utah$2,317$4,801
Virginia$1,745$3,210
Vermont$2,069$3,083
Washington$2,321$4,528
Wisconsin$1,822$4,122
West Virginia$3,008$5,033
Wyoming$2,276$4,067

 


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Ross Martin
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross researches and writes insurance content intended to help users make informed decisions.

Ross's background is in writing and education. He holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, Investopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.