Cheap Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds

Standing at the edge of adulthood might be scary, but car insurance doesn't need to be.

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Why is auto insurance so expensive for 17-year-olds?


For a car insurance company, insuring a 17-year-old driver is a relatively risky undertaking. Statistically speaking, 17-year-olds are more likely to engage in dangerous driving practices, leading insurance companies to see insuring a 17-year-old driver as a risky investment. Car insurance companies protect their interests from this risk through higher premiums, resulting in higher costs for the consumer. As a result of this, the average 17-year-old in 2019 paid an annual premium of $5,429 for car insurance — far more than the national average of $1,548.

In addition, the age of the young driver, the car insurance company you choose, your gender, your location, and the type of car you drive each contribute to the cost of car insurance. To break down the cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds and the best ways to save, we examined an array of pricing factors.


Car insurance at age 17 — table of contents:
  1. By car insurance company
  2. Age's impact on rates
  3. By gender
  4. By location
  5. By vehicle
  6. Ways to save



Insurance rates for 17-year-old drivers: by company


In an experiment to determine which car insurance company was the cheapest for teens, we discovered that Geico provided the lowest premium with all other metrics constant with Progressive coming in second. Our profile was a 17-year-old added to their parent's policy across 5 zip codes in the US. If you don't fall into our specific profile or into the zip codes we surveyed (which is highly likely), use our findings as a starting point while looking at many different companies to find the best rate for you and your driver. Because your teen's rate changes so much as they age, we suggest shopping for car insurance every six months.


Car Insurance ProviderAverage Premium
State Farm$2,999
Liberty Mutual$1,676



Age and car insurance premiums

Regardless of the car insurance company you chose, the big reason why you're going to be paying higher rates for your 17-year-old's premium is simply because of their age. Out of every age group, drivers between 16-19 pay the most for car insurance. Rest assured, however, you begin to see some savings once your driver turns 19 and again when they turn 21 and 25. This data is the average rate for a 6-month policy for a 17-year-old added to a family plan in which the parents are both 50-year-olds driving a 2012 Honda Accord and a 2012 Ford Escape.





Gender and car insurance premiums


As a driver grows older, gender becomes less important contributing factor to their premiums. But while a driver is young, age remains an impactful rating factor.

For example, young male drivers are seen as the highest-risk auto insurance customers due to the likelihood of their taking risks behind the wheel. In the estimation of auto insurance companies, more risk equates to more claims payouts. On average, 17-year-old males cost $320 more to insure per six-month policy period than a young female driver. But don't lose hope: as you age, the insurability difference between men and women becomes less significant. Some states don't allow insurers to use gender as a metric for determining car insurance premiums.






Location and auto insurance premiums


Because auto insurance is ZIP-code specific and state-regulated, it will vary based on where you and your young driver live. Generally, most states require drivers to maintain mandatory minimum liability coverage, but these limits vary. Some states require higher limits and mandatory additional coverage that other states do not. Michigan, for example, is a No-Fault state and requires drivers to carry an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection which increases the costs of car insurance premiums significantly.

Furthermore, the number of people in your state can also impact your child’s car insurance rate. States with a low population density, such as Midwestern states like Ohio, tend to have lower premiums than states with more people such as New York. Keeping with the idea of risk management, the more drivers your state has, the more likely you are to be in an accident. Moreover, if you live in a coastal area that is susceptible to hurricanes (Florida and Louisiana), you can definitely expect this to impact your car insurance premium. All of which means your car insurance company will protect themselves through higher premiums.


State17-Year-Old Premium
New York$6,415




How to save on car insurance as a 17-year-old


Now that we’ve discussed the expense of insuring a 17-year-old, let’s talk about ways to save.


Defensive driver discount

Taking a professional driving course that focuses on highway safety and how to be a smart and defensive driver is another way to save some extra money on you or your teen's car insurance premium. While it is a pretty common discount, your car insurance company will usually require proof of this such as a receipt. Not every car insurance company offers this discount, so ask your insurance company beforehand!


Good student discount

Maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or above can save you quite a lot on car insurance. Like the defensive driver discount, your car insurance company still requires proof every policy period (6 to 12 months depending on your policy) that you or your student meets the requirements. A transcript usually serves as enough proof for the discount to be added.




Keep young drivers on the family policy

Unless your 17-year-old has a high-paying job and can afford to pay nearly $6,000 or premium per year for car insurance, it could be cheaper to keep them on your policy. On average, it costs $57 more per six-month policy period for a 17-year-old to be on their own policy than to be on the family plan. While that $57 doesn't seem like a lot of money, you should be aware that most car insurance companies require anyone who is living in your household and is above legal driving age to be either added as a covered driver or removed entirely.


Keep a clean driving record

Keeping a clean driving record for your son or daughter is an absolute necessity. Distracted driving, reckless driving, or being in an at-fault accident can cause serious damage to your car insurance premium at an already expensive time. In a state-by-state breakdown, DUIs and racing (seen on average the most expensive citations) raise insurance premiums at least 40%. Moreover, most car insurance companies offer a safe driver discount which is dependent upon a clean driving record.


Be smart with your car insurance claims

While this suggestion isn’t age-specific, young driver’s propensity to cause damage to your vehicle and the monetary implications of that make it extra relevant. “Being smart with your claims” basically means don’t use your collision coverage unless you total your vehicle. Whether you know it or not, using your collision coverage is often seen as an at-fault accident to an insurance company. Now, most insurance companies will rate (i.e., charge) you for an at-fault accident for 3 years. Here’s a handy chart to see how one claim can affect your premium over these three years.


Increase at 6 monthsIncrease at 12 monthsIncrease at 3 Years


When considering filing a claim, follow this checklist:

  • Get an estimate for the repairs first. This can be done at a local mechanic shop
  • Use our State of Insurance Analysis to see what the percentage increase for an at-fault accident is for your state
  • Compare the three-year increase (plus your collision deductible) to the value of the out of pocket repairs. Whatever the cheapest option is, do that.


Be smart with your coverage

Again, this coverage isn’t exactly age-specific but is helpful. Unlike your home or fine wine, a vehicle actually loses value over time. So, if you’re giving your young driver an older vehicle to drive (which is a good idea), the coverage it once had might not be necessary anymore. Another good rule of thumb in the car insurance world is if a vehicle is worth less than $4,000, you probably don’t need physical protection. Cutting physical protection, otherwise known as comprehensive and collision coverage, can half your premium!


Coverage LevelAverage Annual Premium
Liability Only$672
$500 Deductible$1,427
$1,000 Deductible$1,268


Shop Around

As you can see, there are many factors that go into your child's car insurance premium. Because of this, it's important to shop around for car insurance with as many different companies as possible every 6 months to make sure you're getting the best rate. Only with The Zebra can you see hundreds of different premiums at once.



Summary: car insurance for 17-year-olds

The moral of the story is simple: car insurance at 17 is going to be expensive. Young drivers represent major red flags to car insurance companies. In your search for cheap car insurance, you should use the insurance company data we presented as a starting point, starting, but not ending, with Geico and Progressive. Next, consider discounts and be mindful of your coverage and claims.


Comparing free insurance quotes is a great way to get the best coverage at a price you can afford.



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Additional resources

If you're still looking for ways to save on car insurance, or information regarding car insurance, see our additional articles here:

Recent Questions:

Cheap Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds

Will my son's accident on my policy affect my rates?

It will impact both of your rates. He will show an accident on his driving record.

Is it possible to have our teenager on a separate auto policy as my wife and I?

Typically, it is not cheaper to have your child on a separate policy. Some of the big rating factors are credit and current insurance status.

Can I drop my 18yo from my car insurance policy?

It depends. Does your daughter still live in your household and drive your car?

Can I go to jail for driving without insurance?

You would not go to jail, but the consequences are not good. Here is a quick detail of what Georgia law says on it: Not having insurance is a misdemeanor.

Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.