Cheap Car Insurance for 18-Year-Olds

Entering adulthood? Find new ways to save on your auto insurance.

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Cheap car insurance for an 18-year-old

Turning 18 is a significant milestone in a person's life, as they exist high school and the legal thresholds of being a minor become nonexistent. In terms of car insurance, the burden of high rates still remains present, but the monthly premium is not so staggering. The average 18-year-old pays $718 less than a 17-year-old but $3,163 more on a personal policy than the national average. So, despite all obstacles, what are some ways your child can save as an 18-year-old driver? Let's break it down by your car insurance company, your age, your gender, your location, and by vehicle.

 

How to find car insurance for an 18-year-old
  1. By Company
  2. By Age
  3. By Gender
  4. By Location
  5. By Vehicle
  6. What are some ways to save?
  7. Car insurance for 18-year-olds: summed up

 


 

Your company and premium

For a personal auto insurance policy, premiums will be expensive for 18-year-old drivers. Nationally, 18-year-olds paid over $4,700 per year for car insurance — which comes out to almost $400 a month. It's integral to shop around as much as possible at this age, especially if you're not covered on a parent's policy, as rates will differ from insurer to insurer.

In our survey of top insurance companies in the US, USAA and GEICO have the cheapest insurance rates for 18-year-old drivers. Consider this data as a starting point and continue to research your specific profile across multiple companies. See more information on our methodology here.

AVERAGE CAR INSURANCE RATES FOR 18-YEAR-OLDS
Insurance companyAverage six-month premium
Allstate$2,944
Farmers$3,296
GEICO$1,541
Liberty Mutual$2,660
Nationwide$2,274
Progressive$3,580
State Farm$1,627
USAA$1,245

 


 

Your age and your premium

Amongst drivers between the ages of 16 and 85, 16- to 19-year-olds pay the most for auto insurance, sometimes as much as three times the national average. At the end of the day, being 18 means your insurance company sees you as an adult, but not that much of an adult to discount your premium. But, take comfort in the fact that as time goes on, your age becomes less of an impact on your car insurance rating. The data referenced below is rating an accident-free young driver on their 50-year-old parents' policy with two standard 2012 vehicles.

AVERAGE CAR INSURANCE RATE ON A FAMILY PLAN
AgeAverage six-month premium
16$1,243
17$1,128
18$1,055
19$933

 

An 18-year-old can save more than $2,600 a year by joining their parents' policy as opposed to their own personal auto policy.

 


 

Your gender and premium

Your gender can affect your premium just like your age. When evaluating risk, insurance companies see young males as statistically more likely to take unsafe driving risks than young female drivers. Because of this, they are more expensive to insure. On average, 18-year-old males are $237 more expensive per annual policy period to insure. Still, it's worth considering that as you age, the difference between men and women becomes less significant. And in fact, some states don't use gender as a metric for determining car insurance rates at all.

AVERAGE ANNUAL PREMIUMS FOR 16-19-YEAR-OLDS BY GENDER
AgeMaleFemaleDifference
16$2,635$2,340$295
17$2,378$2,134$243
18$2,230$1,992$237
19$1,971$1,761$209
Average$2,303$2,057$246

 


 

Your state and your premium

Your premium is at the mercy of state laws and regulations, meaning it will vary based on where you live. By federal law, most states require a mandatory minimum coverage for your bodily injury and property liability, but the monetary amount of this coverage will also vary. If you live in a state like Michigan, where the minimum amount of coverage needed is well above the national average, you're going to be paying much more for auto insurance than other states.

Moreover, the number of people in your state can also impact your auto insurance rate. States with a smaller population, such as Ohio, tend to have lower premiums than states with a greater population. Keeping with the idea of risk management, the more drivers your state has, the more likely you are to be in an accident and insurance companies have to cover that additional risk.

 

AVERAGE PREMIUMS IN THE MOST EXPENSIVE STATES FOR 16-19-YEAR OLD DRIVERS
StateAverage six-month premium
Louisiana$5,509
Michigan$4,411
Kentucky$3,911
Rhode Island$3,889
Nevada$3,731

 

 


 

Your car and premium

Just as your vehicle affects your insurance, it also impacts your teen's. The insurance cost of a teenager driving a brand new Super Duty Ford F-150 is going to be much more expensive than driving a pre-owned Mazda 3. This is because vehicles with high MSRP are capable of serious pickup power, as well as having the ability to go off-road. In simplest terms, because your insurance company sees the cost of having to replace or fix your teen's vehicle as a high expense, they will charge more if it takes more money to do so. A more moderate vehicle, like a sedan, is the better way to go when choosing a vehicle for your teen.

 


 

How can I save?

Now that we’ve talked about why it's so expensive to insure 18-year-olds, let’s talk about ways to save.

 

Good student discount

If your child has above a 3.0 (or "B") average, insurance companies will return some savings to you for what they see as a responsible and, therefore, less risky client. Combined with a Defensive Driver Discount mentioned below, you can save quite a bit of premium.

Average savings for good student and good driver discount

AgeMaleFemale
16$439$248
17$348$222
18$338$197
19$278$160

 

Defensive driver discount

Young 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.

Student away from home discount

If your young driver is going to be more than 100 miles away from the residence listed on your policy, you can receive what is called a Student Away From Home Discount. You will have to inform your insurance company about this change and they may require proof your teen lives away from home. With this discount, your teen is seen as an infrequent driver and thus the probability of them getting into an accident declines. The amount varies per insurance company, so consult them for details.

Use caution when filing a claim

While having a teen driver on your policy is expensive, it is even more expensive to have a teen driver with a bad driving record on your policy. For an adult, an at-fault accident can raise a car insurance premium an average of $767 per year! Most insurance companies will continue to charge you for this at-fault accident for three years. So that $767 will stretch to cost you over $2,300 in additional premium. Broken down below, you can see what this would look like on an average premium in the US.

 

Year after accidentAverage annual premium
0 - No accident$1,548
1 Year later$2,315
2 Years later$3,082
3 Years later$3,849

 

Because young drivers are already more likely to receive a citation or be at-fault in an accident, it's crucial that they keep out of trouble so you can maintain a low insurance rate. Reckless driving, texting while driving, and racing violations can seriously affect your premium. If your teen driver has been in an accident and you're thinking about filing a claim, follow our guide below:

  • Get an estimate for the repairs at a local repair shop.
  • Use The Zebra's State of Insurance report to see how much an at-fault accident would raise your rates in your state. Imagine tacking this figure onto your premium for three years — that is how long most insurance companies will charge you.
  • Compare the out-of-pocket costs to the premium increase you would receive plus your deductible. If it is cheaper to file a claim, do that.

Keep in mind, you will probably still have to report an accident to your insurance company, regardless of whether or not you file a claim. Moreover, there will be times when you'll have to file a claim. Here are the cases:

  1. Someone is injured: the costs of bodily injury claims can skyrocket and you will most likely need your liability insurance.
  2. If you or your teen driver is the at-fault party and the not-at-fault party does not want to be paid out-of-pocket.
  3. If you or the other party suffers a total loss.

Shop around

Although it is exceedingly expensive to insure a teen driver, it isn't impossible. By shopping around with as many insurance companies as possible, you are able to see all of your options and make the best and cheapest choice for you. Enter your ZIP code below to get insurance quotes and start shopping with local and national insurance companies at once!

 

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Summary: car insurance for 18-year-olds

The ugly truth of car insurance for 18-year-olds, or any teen for that matter, is that it's going to be a pricey purchase. The high probability of a filed claim and penchant for risky driving practices make insurance companies nervous about insuring these clients — and any time an insurance company is nervous, you can expect them to ease their nerves with high premiums. But as long as you shop around, choose a moderate car, ensure your child is a good student, and take defensive driving courses, you and your teen can save on car insurance. However, the absolute best way to save on car insurance is to look for rates every six months. Only with The Zebra can you shop over 100 car insurance companies at once.

 

 


Recent Questions:

Cheap Car Insurance for 18-Year-Olds

What is your best advice to buy auto insurance for my 18-year-old who is buying a used car which will be paid off?

The bad news is that car insurance for an 18-year-old on their own separate policy is incredibly expensive — over $3,400 more than the national average. The good news? Typically, we see that combining insurance by adding your kid to your policy is the best route.

My son has moved out on bad terms. Should I still keep him on my insurance?

If your son's vehicle is registered in your name, I would keep it insured. Florida will suspend the license of the registered person if a vehicle isn't insured.

Should I still keep my 18-year-old son on my insurance if he moved out?

If the vehicle is registered in your name I would keep it insured. Florida will suspend a license of the registered person if a vehicle isn't insured.

Can I get liability insurance for a financed car, and can I get gap insurance without full coverage?

Typically, no. You don't want liability only because the car will not be sufficiently protected.