You've got your hands full. Let us help with the car insurance.
Life as a single parent is difficult, and that extends to finding cheap car insurance. On average, car insurance for a single parent costs $130 more per year than does a two-parent-and-teen policy. This has to do with the way risk is assessed by insurers. Insurance companies use historical data showing married couples are more likely to share driving responsibilities, drive less, and file fewer claims.
We decided surveyed rates from major insurance companies to find the best auto insurance for single parents.
If you’re a single mom or dad who has never been married, you can skip this section. However, if you're divorced and dealing with car insurance, we have some tips.
Note: this is a quick summary of car insurance after a divorce. For additional details, read our full analysis of cheap car insurance after a divorce.
If you have driving-aged teens or young adults and who split their time evenly between your and your former spouse’s residences, you'll likely need to both insure your teen driver. Insurance companies like to be aware of all the risk they're taking on before offering a policy. If your teen is going to be staying at your residence and using your vehicle frequently (12 or more times per year), you should keep them on your policy. For unique situations, you can always ask your insurance company.
Single moms and dads pay $130 more a year for auto insurance than do married couples. In an effort to help single parents save on car insurance, we compiled prices from seven major insurance companies across the US:
|Company||Average Six-Month Premium with Teen Driver|
While a considerable difference exists between ages 16 and 19, USAA is the cheapest insurance company for a single parent with a teen driver on his or her policy. No matter what, adding a teen to your car insurance is expensive. Changing your policy from single-driver to a parent-and-young driver increases average rates by 98%, according to The Zebra's survey of major carriers.
Although USAA was the cheapest car insurance company in our surveyed data, you and your teen may have better luck with a different insurer. Your best bet for finding the cheapest insurance is to compare as many insurance options as possible. Enter your ZIP code below for a personalized quote.
Even if you choose USAA or have two adult drivers on the policy, you're going to pay a premium to add your teen to your car insurance policy. So, in addition to choosing the right insurance company, here are some additional cost-cutting solutions.
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 and reward that responsibility with decreased car insurance rates. Keeping with this idea, if your teen has a GPA of 3.0 or greater, they could 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 estimated savings for these discounts.
While teenage boys do receive a greater price break via these discounts, that's a function of their premiums being higher in the first place. Insurance companies view teenage boys as riskier drivers than teenage girls.
The vehicle you pick for your teen has a major impact on their car insurance rate, just as it does with your premium. So, while your teen would really love that new pickup truck or luxury sports car, your car insurance rate definitely won’t. When choosing a vehicle for your teen, think moderately.
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:
If you have a loan, you can’t remove physical coverage from the vehicle.
A general rule of thumb in the insurance world is if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, you do not need comprehensive and collision coverage. You can determine the value of your vehicle through sites like Kelley Blue Book and NADA online.
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. Looking at our data below, you can see than raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 lowers your premium an average of $160 per year.
|Coverage Level||Average Annual Premium|
Basically, being smart with your claims means don’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).
|Year||Average Premium Increase After Accident|
|Increase at 6 months||+$291|
|Increase at 12 months||+$582|
|Increase at 3 Years||+$1,746|
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 the course of three years) is greater than the estimated value of the damage. You can estimate the cost of the damages by taking the vehicle to a local repair shop.
USAA was the cheapest company for our profile. But that doesn’t mean it will be the best company for you. The best way to find affordable auto insurance as a single parent to look at as many companies.
Even if you’re a single mother or father but your kids aren't yet of driving age, saving on auto insurance is still important. On average, a single person (parental status isn’t a factor if your children aren’t driving) pays $80 more per year than a married person. This has to do with the way insurance companies see single people as riskier drivers than married couples, given married couples' tendency to share driving responsibilities. Let’s explore some ways to save.
But, if you’re still looking to save on your car insurance, you can consider the following tips:
Telematics devices are in-car functions that monitor 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.
|Progressive SnapShot||Average of $130|
|Allstate Drivewise||Average of 10-25%|
|State Farm Drive Safe & Save||Up to 15%|
|Nationwide SmartRide||Up to 40%|
|Liberty Mutual RightTrack||Average of 5-30%|
This is an idea to consider if you have teen drivers, but be cautious. If your child drives recklessly, this could negatively impact your car insurance standing. Also, this program isn’t available in every state, so check with your company.
Paying for car insurance up front (paid in full) or via your bank account helps reduce transaction fees. On average, paying via your bank account can save you $21/year while paying up-front will save you nearly $70/year.
By keeping all your 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.
|Bundle Type||Average Annual Savings|
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. Here is our user profile.
If you're still looking for some additional help with managing car insurance with teens, here are some additional articles.