Learn more about how to find affordable insurance as a first-time driver.
First-time drivers are among the most expensive drivers to insure. They do not have insurance history or driving experience, indicating they could be risky drivers in the eyes of insurance companies. An insurance company uses a driver's risk profile, determined via an array of insurance rating factors, to determine car insurance rates. The riskier you appear on paper, the more you will pay for auto insurance. There are some ways to save as a new driver. Let's explore.
In auto insurance terms, a "new driver" is someone with no driving history or insurance record. This can include newly licensed teenagers, people who obtained their driver's license later in life, or drivers new to the U.S. Each of these first-time drivers faces a similar challenge when it comes to finding cheap car insurance.
To generate estimated auto insurance prices for new drivers, The Zebra's research team used two driver profiles (methodology detailed here). One driver is a teenager on their parents' policy and another is a 30-year-old driver, previously uninsured. See below typical car insurance rates for a first-time driver with zero driving history.
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium|
It is very expensive to insure a 16-year-old driver. Premium costs decrease significantly after young drivers turn 20, they still pay nearly 100% more than do the average driver in the U.S. Young drivers' lack of driving experience and tendency to make poor decisions behind the wheel — like speeding and texting while driving — means car insurance companies charge these drivers higher premiums to protect themselves against the probability of claims.
Most 16-year-olds are on their parents' insurance policies, so the data presented may be skewed. If you're looking for the cheapest car insurance for a new teen driver, begin your search with USAA and GEICO.
The second category of new drivers — older drivers who obtained their driver's licenses much later in life — shows a similar pattern.
|Car Insurance Provider||Average Annual Premium|
Now that we have outlined the top insurance providers and the cost of insuring a new driver, let's explore some ways to save.
If you’re a new teen driver, the best way to get cheaper car insurance is to stay on your parents' plan. Your parents' insurance background and driving history will probably earn lower rates than you'd find on your own. By staying on your parents' auto insurance policy as long as possible, you can save thousands of dollars per year.
Discounts are readily available in the auto insurance world. Many are subject to state and insurer restrictions. Below we have listed some common discounts. Keep in mind that utilizing car insurance discounts may not going to cut your premium in half. However, they can provide meaningful price cuts for first-time drivers.
Learn more about popular car insurance discounts:
You can become eligible for a multi-policy discount by carrying multiple policies with one insurance company. Common policy combinations are home-and-auto or renters-and-auto. These discounts may be applied to both policies. The discount you receive may vary depending on your coverage combination. For example, you'll receive more of a discount for bundling homeowners and auto policies than by adding a renters insurance policy to your auto coverage. The logic is simple: a homeowners policy brings in more revenue for an insurance company than does renters insurance.
|Residence Type||Savings Amount|
Similar to a multi-policy discount, a multi-car discount refers to insuring more than one car with a single company. The discount is automatically added either at policy inception — if two cars were insured from the start — or upon addition of a second vehicle to the policy.
This discount entails taking a defensive driving course and presenting your insurance company with proof in the form of a receipt or transcript. The logic behind this discount is clear: defensive driving classes make you a safer driver, which makes you less risky, i.e., cheaper, to insure.
If your car comes with an anti-theft device — or if you utilize a service like Lojack — your insurance company may throw in a discount. The discount tends to be smaller than a multi-policy or defensive driver bonus, but every little bit helps. Anti-theft devices are commonly built into modern vehicles. Just be sure any security devices are taken into account when your quote is generated.
|Safety/Anti-Theft Device||Average Annual Premium||Discount|
|Passive Disabling Device||$1,312||$10|
|Electronic Stability Control||$1,318||$5|
This discount is available if you have a clean driving record — meaning no accidents or citations. This valuable discount is often added to your policy when your Motor Vehicle Report is pulled at the inception of your policy. If you're convinced you have a clean driving record and are not receiving a discount, contact your insurance company and inquire about a good driver discount.
This discount goes by several names, but the idea is simple. Some insurance companies will give you a discount based on your occupation. Statistically, occupations such as teachers, physicians, or police officers are less likely to file a claim. An insurer will typically require proof of profession — a photocopy of your degree is a common request.
If you're younger than 25 and have good grades (typically a 3.0 GPA or better), speak with your insurance company about a good student discount. Normally, they’ll ask for a transcript every 6 to 12 months as proof of your continued good standing.
The value and other characteristics of your vehicle contribute to your insurance premium. Picking a luxury vehicle comes with an additional cost — higher insurance premiums. This is especially true for new drivers. A first-time driver with a new pickup truck or a Mercedes-Benz is a major red flag for an insurance company. If you're a new driver looking to save money, get your feet wet with an older vehicle.
At the end of the day, all the discounts in the world won’t matter if you choose the wrong company. Some insurance companies will see your age and driving background as too great a liability and apply exorbitant premiums. Shop around every six months to ensure you’re getting the best rate for your driving profile.