Cheap Car Insurance for 18-Year-Olds

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

So, why is insurance so expensive for 18-year-olds?

Turning 18 is a significant milestone in a person's life, as many legal thresholds become nonexistent. In terms of car insurance, the burden of high rates still remains present, but the monthly premium is not so staggering. If you're still on your parents' policy, you should expect your annual premium to drop by an average of $667. While this is a considerable drop, 18-year-olds still pay $3,413 on a personal policy more 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.

  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

In a survey we conducted to find which car insurance company provided the cheapest rates for teens, we discovered that Geico provided the lowest rate 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. Considering we are focusing on you and your 18-year-old, you should consider what we discuss as a starting point, but continue to research your specific profile across multiple companies.

Our Findings: Car Insurance for 17-year-olds

Location State Farm Allstate Geico Progressive Liberty Mutual
Fresno, CA $2,533 $1,088 $1,238 $1,272 $2,919
Aurora, CO $3,419 $3,490 $1,363 $1,673 $1,935
Columbus, OH $1,964 $1,355 $544 $858 $1,002
McKinney, TX $4,065 $4,019 $1,082 $1,075 N/A
Scranton, PA $3,015 $1,524 $708 $1,280 $846
Average $2,999 $2,295 $987 $1,231 $1,676

Your age and your premium

Average Premium on Family Plan
For any driver between the ages of 16-85, 16-19-year-olds pay the most for auto insurance, sometimes as much as 3 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 18-year-old on their 50-year-old parent's policy with two standard 2012 vehicles.

Age Premium
16 $2,617
17 $2,485
18 $2,315
19 $2,037
20 $1,906
21 $1,720
22 $1,643
23 $1,571
24 $1,528
25 $1,452

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 $269 more per 6-month 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 Premiums for 16-19-year-olds

Age Male Female Difference
16 $2,794 $2,440 $354
17 $2,645 $2,325 $320
18 $2,449 $2,180 $269
19 $2,154 $1,191 $235
Average $2,511 $2,216 $295

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 lesser 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.

Annual Premium for the Most Expensive States for 18-Year-Olds

State Premium
Louisiana $10,791
Michigan $8,669
Texas $8,168
Delaware $6,566
New York $6,091

Your car and premium

Just as your vehicle affects your insurance, it also impacts your teen's. 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 high, 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

Age Male Female
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.

Shop Around

As you can see, being 18 is an expensive year for auto insurance. But because there are so many aspects of you and your child's driving profile, it's important to look at different companies every 6 months to ensure you're getting the cheapest rate. Do that here with us.

Keep a Clean Driving Record

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, or racing other cars can seriously affect your premium. In a state-by-state breakdown, DUIs and racing (on average, these are the most expensive citations) raise insurance premiums at least 40%. Moreover, most insurance companies offer a good driver discount which is dependent on a clean driving record.

Summary: Car Insurance for 18-year-olds

The ugly truth of the 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 for a filed claim and risky 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, if you consider companies like Geico and Progressive, as well as purchasing a moderate car, ensuring your child is a good student, and taking 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 6 months. Only with the The Zebra can you shop over 200 car insurance companies at once.

Compare over 200 insurance companies at once!

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