Parents’ Guide To Car Insurance For Teens


Teen girl driving in car with window down

Children experience many important milestones throughout their young lives: speaking their first words, taking that first step, losing their first tooth. And while simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking for parents, the first time behind the wheel of a car is another one of those paramount milestones that come with significant responsibilities.

Aside from helping your children learn how to drive safely, it’s required by law to insure your teen driver as well. As new drivers, teens yield higher car insurance premiums due to their greater risk and disproportionately higher amount of accidents. And when shopping around, things can get confusing and expensive fast.

To give you an idea, average premiums per state range from $1,253.25 to $12,653.51 per year.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find options to help you maintain an affordable policy. Car insurance for teens varies by age, sex and location significantly. However, there are numerous ways to lower insurance costs, including discounts, drivers ed, car choice and more. In this guide, we’ll go over ways to save and take a look at average costs in each state. So buckle up, and let’s d(r)ive right in!

Finding the Best Car Insurance for Teens

Now that you are prepped and ready to shop around for cheap car insurance for your teen, let’s look at the best car insurance companies by age, sex, and state to help reduce your premiums and make the most-informed decision.

In this survey, we found the cheapest car insurance company for teens. We discovered Geico provided the lowest rates, coming in around $851–1,063 cheaper than the other companies on average.

Average Cost of Car Insurance by Age

It’s no surprise age is a huge determinant in what you’ll pay for your teen’s insurance. 16- to 19-year-olds pay more than any other age group on the road because their inexperience may lead to claim payouts and greater costs incurred by the insurer. The stats don’t lie. In 2015, 2,333 U.S. drivers in the 16–19 age group were killed and 235,845 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.

We recommend shopping for car insurance for your teen every 6 months since rates can drop significantly as your child gets older.

Cheap Car Insurance for 16-Year-Olds

Unfortunately, 16-year-olds are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to car insurance prices. Transitioning from a permit to driver’s license is scary enough, but now they are the youngest drivers on the road. Because of this, you can expect the premium to be higher than any other age group. The cost of car insurance for 16-year-olds varies by state, gender, and verified discounts.

In 2017, the average 16-year-old paid an annual premium of $6,573 for insurance without their parent’s policy compared to the national average of $1,427.

Cheap Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds

Though the average annual premium for 17-year-olds is slightly lower than 16-year-olds, it is still significantly higher than the national average. Again, this is because they are still considered high-risk on the road.

In 2017, the average 17-year-old paid an annual premium of $5,704 for car insurance without their parent’s policy compared to the national average of $1,427.

Cheap Car Insurance for 18-Year-Olds

Turning the big one-eight is exciting in itself for kids. They can finally buy a lotto ticket, vote, and get that tattoo every parent prays they’ve forgotten about. In terms of insurance, an 18-year-old also has the ability to get their own plan since they are no longer legally a minor. The good news for parents is that your annual premium can drop by an average of $667 when your child turns 18.

18-year-olds pay $3,363 more on a personal policy than the national average.

Cheap Car Insurance for 19-Year-Olds

While 19-year-olds still pay a good bit more than the national average, teens at this age have come a long way in terms of car insurance. Since they’ve been driving for around three years now, they’re considered less risky on the road and have built a solid driving history and record. So long as that record is clean, premiums may drop significantly.

19-year-olds pay $1,929 more per year than the national average.

Average Cost of Car Insurance by Gender

Women might be able to statistically prove they are better drivers than men once and for all. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, men tend to drive more than women, have riskier driving habits, and cause more severe crashes. On average, adding a male teen will raise your premium by $987 (for a 6-month premium) while adding a young daughter to your policy might increase your policy by an average of $435.

Average Cost of Teen Car Insurance by State

The average cost of car insurance for teens varies greatly by state. We pulled data from the major cities in each state to give you an idea of the cost. Michigan, Kentucky, and Louisiana yield the highest premiums while Hawaii and North Dakota have the lowest.

Average Premium Per State

  • Alaska $4,787.11
  • Alabama $6,948.11
  • Arkansas $6,882.42
  • Arizona $5,893.57
  • California $9,247.46
  • Colorado $6,171.66
  • Connecticut $7,889.85
  • Delaware $7,814.34
  • Florida $7,553.51
  • Georgia $6,445.44
  • Hawaii $1,253.25
  • Iowa $3,896.38
  • Idaho $4,828.70
  • Illinois $6,175.34
  • Indiana $4,475.51
  • Kansas $5,597.43
  • Kentucky $12,640.93
  • Louisiana $12,285.15
  • Massachusetts $5,874.18
  • Maryland $5,353.21
  • Maine $4,248.97
  • Michigan $12,653.51
  • Minnesota $6,109.33
  • Missouri $7,085.57
  • Mississippi $8,160.42
  • Montana $6,050.68
  • North Carolina $2,391.81
  • North Dakota $5,131.77
  • Nebraska $5,223.93
  • New Hampshire $5,177.07
  • New Jersey $9,551.49
  • New Mexico $6,212.19
  • Nevada $10,045.96
  • New York $10,396.83
  • Ohio $4,759.13
  • Oklahoma $7,091.34
  • Oregon $7,160.99
  • Pennsylvania $6,159.47
  • Rhode Island $9,009.10
  • South Carolina $5,660.87
  • South Dakota $5,549.37
  • Tennessee $6,500.11
  • Texas $7,515.85
  • Utah $5,613.80
  • Virginia $3,951.02
  • Vermont $4,237.16
  • Washington $5,909.27
  • Wisconsin $6,079.64
  • West Virginia $7,011.33
  • Wyoming $4,519.48

Why is Car Insurance So Expensive for Teens?

So we’ve established that car insurance for teens is ridiculously expensive. But the real question is, why? Simply stated, because teens are that much riskier than seasoned drivers. There are various reasons as to why premiums skyrocket for those 16-19 years of age. Here are a few:

  • Higher percentage of accidents
  • Crashes are severe
  • Inexperience and immaturity which lead to more mistakes behind the wheel
  • Frequent tickets
  • Easily distracted

Can a Teenager Get Their Own Car Insurance Policy?

Technically, yes.

While teenagers — especially those who are no longer minors — can technically get their own car insurance policy, this differs greatly from state to state. Technically, a minor can get their own insurance coverage as long as a parent cosigns the policy. However, many states don’t allow minors to enter into legal agreements such as an insurance policy. Similarly, the insurer is allowed to place restrictions on who they choose to insure.

While it may seem like a viable option to reduce premiums and save money in the short-term, placing your child on a separate insurance policy can cause issues down the line. Parents are still liable for the child’s actions behind the wheel and could be sued should there be an issue.

Ways to Save on Teen Car Insurance

There are several ways you can help reduce the costs of premiums right off the bat. Before choosing a car insurance company, make sure you have researched and prepared everything you can to save. Below are various things you can do that insurers will take into consideration when assessing your plan:

Look into Discounts

Do your research and check which discounts might be available for teen drivers. Many auto-insurers offer “good student” discounts, rewarding students who study hard and earn top grades. Sometimes, this discount can reach up to 20 percent. The discounts vary by state, but be sure to check in with different insurers to see qualifications and amounts.

Other discounts include student “away” discounts offered to those who are living away or at college, good driver discounts for those with clean records, and low mileage discounts for those who allow a telematics device to be placed in the car to monitor driving habits. The data collected by these small electronic devices help insurance companies determine discounts and premiums.

More Driver’s Ed Courses

Many insurers promote driver safety courses to help teach young, inexperienced drivers the rules of the road. Taking extra driver’s education courses allows insurers to recognize they’ve gone above and beyond the minimum state-mandated training and thus will lower premiums as much as 15 percent.

Avoid the Chevy Camaro

As much as your kid begs you to get the coolest car on the block, rates vary significantly by car type. Not only can the type of car you and your teen purchase together have lasting effects on their driving habits, but some are also considered much safer than others. Though it varies by state, the least expensive cars to insure are usually safe and easy to repair. Honda CR-Vs continue to top each year’s list of the cheapest cars to insure for teens.

Be the Parent

Aside from encouraging your kids to eat their vegetables and get good grades, you can also promote safe driving habits while saving money. Some insurance companies offer monitoring devices to help parents oversee teen driving behavior such as speeding, hard braking, and seat belt usage.

Shop Around

While this might seem obvious, it’s important to do your due diligence and see which insurers offer the best package to keep your premiums at a manageable cost.

Driving Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

  • Obey traffic laws.
  • Buckle your seatbelt before even starting the car.
  • Turn off your cellphone and put it out of sight.
  • Drive alone until you’re confident transporting passengers.
  • Put the headrest behind your head to provide protection.
  • Make sure your windshield is clean to avoid any reflection.
  • Don’t follow other cars too closely.
  • Assume other drivers aren’t going to act as they should.
  • Look at the intersection to make sure it’s clear before going on a green light.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Turn on your headlights even during the day so that you don’t ever forget.

For more on teen driving safety, visit this guide.

After reading this guide, both parents and teens should have a better idea of what to expect when shopping for car insurance. Based on age, sex, and the state in which you live, you should be able to easily identify what insurers provide the best rates. As always, it’s important to stay safe on the road and maintain an impeccable driving record to further lower your insurance premiums.