Car insurance for 18 year olds

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The average price for car insurance for an 18-year-old is $5,335, which is drastically more than the national average of only $1,738. Because most 18 year olds don’t have this kind of money readily at their disposal, it’s imperative that they pick the absolute best provider. To do this, they need to know what factors they should be looking for when shopping.

How much is car insurance for 18-year-olds?

Whether they remain part of their parents’ insurance policy or get individual coverage, annual premiums for young people are always significantly higher than the national average.

Although there is a slow drop in the price as the policyholder becomes older, 18-year-olds can expect to pay three to four times the typical rate until they have more experience under their belt. Insurance providers see teenagers and young adults are perceived as high-risk drivers by insurance companies. Several other factors often affect car insurance premiums, such as location, type of car and driving record. However, for drivers under the age of 20, age is always one of the most important determinant for premiums.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that car accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the country, with over two thousand young drivers between ages 15 and 19 killed in 2018 alone. Speeding, drunk and drowsy driving, as well as distracted driving and lack of seatbelt use, are common among teen drivers, all of which pose high risks for insurance providers in case of crashes and collisions. Adding a teen driver to any car insurance policy leads to a steep surge in annual premiums.

Average cost of men vs women

Gender is not a crucial factor in determining car insurance premiums for the average person, but it is for teen drivers. If you are an 18-year-old on your own policy, expect premiums to be considerably higher for a man as opposed to those for women. Male drivers of all ages have consistently demonstrated risky driving behaviors over the years, and fatal crashes involving men are twice the number as compared to women.

As we find in the following chart, the propensity of male drivers for risky road habits makes the average premium for 18-year-old men about $700 more than women of the same age. This price varies according to location, type of vehicle and the chosen insurance company.

Average annual full coverage cost Average annual minimum coverage cost
Men $5,727 $2,069
Woman $4,983 $1,845

Cheapest car insurance companies for 18-year-olds

A few providers consistently show the lowest average annual rates for younger drivers.

Company Full Coverage Minimum Coverage
Erie $3,069 $1,043
Country Financial $3,710 $1,376
Auto-Owners $3,731 $1,285
USAA $3,771 $1,268
Geico $3,891 $1,342

Erie

Erie currently offers a national average for 18 years olds that is more than $1,000 cheaper than its closest competitor. This makes Erie the go-to insurance provider for many parents and younger drivers. It offers a number of discounts to help get premiums even lower, and has a top notch mobile app that allows you to pay your bill, file a claim and access ID cards.

Country Financial

The car insurance policy offered by Country Financial may not be the cheapest for 18-year-olds, but it comes right after Erie. Besides, the company has an array of discounts for teen drivers, such as good student discounts of up to 25 percent, driver’s education or defensive driving training discount of over five percent and up to 10 percent for the completion of the Simply Drive online course.

Auto-Owners

Among the top car insurance companies today, Auto-Owners is available in 26 states, offers several coverage options and has fewer than the average number of customer complaints. Most notable among the plethora of discounts available is the Teen Driver Monitoring discount, which involves installing a GPS device in the vehicle to record driving behaviors.

USAA

USAA is a top tier auto insurance provider for anyone, regardless of his or her age. The downside to it is that it is only available to active and retired military and their immediate family members. However, if you qualify, it’s one of the best insurance providers on the market. If you’re suspicious, check out its J.D. Power and AM Best reviews. It most recently scored a 891 for overall customer satisfaction with JD Power (better even than the ‘official’ winner that didn’t have user requirements), and an A++ (superior) for financial strength with AM Best.

Geico

Geico is a household name for good reason— it offers great insurance products at great prices. It’s a good company for drivers of any age, but younger drivers can especially benefit from using Geico. Geico offers many discounts young drivers can take advantage of, including for good drivers, defensive drivers, good students and drivers with multiple types of insurance coverage or more than one vehicle.

How 18 year old drivers can save money on car insurance

There are a variety of ways a young driver can save money on car insurance each year. Most involve taking advantage of discounts offered by the car insurance company, but there are a few other strategies.

Here are the most common ways an 18 year old can save on car insurance:

Good student discount

Teens with good grades are statistically less likely to speed or drive recklessly. For this reason, many insurance providers reward good grades with a monthly discount. Good student discounts typically lower the cost of annual premium from $5,385 to $4,875, though the rate may vary depending on the insurance company.

Distant student discount

Why pay expensive premiums for an 18-year-old that’s away at college for most of the year? Offered by some insurers, a distant student discount has been found to lower the rate of the average cost of coverage to $5,041. If an 18-year-old drives the car only during breaks or vacations, they may be eligible for some savings.

Usage based car insurance

Usage based car insurance is exactly what you think it is. How much you pay for car insurance depends on how much you drive and how you drive it.

Data your provider will use to charge you includes:

  • Distance driven
  • Amount of time driving
  • Type of car driven
  • Location
  • Driving behavior

This form of insurance can be helpful for college students who live close to campus and only use their car to visit home on the weekends or to go to the grocery store.

Defensive driving course

Some insurance providers, such as Geico, offer online defensive driving courses for a little over ten dollars. Though it costs money, taking the course often dramatically lowers your premium and pays for itself very quickly. You will want to speak with an agent before you commit to anything, because each state has different requirements for what qualifies as a defensive driving course.

Drive an older car

Older cars cost less to replace and therefore aren’t as expensive to insure. If you’re trying to lower how much you pay each month, you can save a lot of money by not driving a new car. Furthermore, the type of car you drive can affect your rates, too. A two-seater sports car, for example, will have a higher premium than a minivan.

Opt for a high deductible

The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. This is true regardless of the type of insurance. Just know that a higher deductible means you will have to shell out more cash should you get into an accident.

Utilize all discounts

Many providers offer numerous ways to save on your premium. Take a look at what they offer and take advantage of as many discounts as you can. For example, some providers offer digital monitors that analyze how you drive. Drive safely each and every time, and you can receive big discounts (sometimes as high as 30%) on your premium.

How to get the best insurance for 18-year-olds

Buying car insurance for an 18-year-old is not too different from the usual process.

Decide mode of purchase

Adding a teen driver to an existing household policy or buying an individual plan can be done in person, over the phone or online. If you have all the information you need and know exactly what policy you want to purchase, online shopping is easier and more convenient. However, in case of confusion or indecision, speaking to a live agent might be more reassuring.

Figure out coverage needs

Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover bodily injuries and property damage caused by your vehicle. For your own protection, it is recommended that you also purchase collision and comprehensive coverages.

Gather required information

The basic information you will need to purchase insurance or add a driver to your policy is:

  • Driver name and date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and state of issue
  • Driving records, including previous cases of violations or tickets

Know your vehicle

In addition to the driver’s information, you will also need to provide details of the vehicle being insured. These include:

  • Vehicle make, model and year
  • Vehicle Information Number (VIN)
  • Name of the registered owner
  • Address of registration
  • Purchase date
  • Current mileage
  • Previous insurance policy, name of carrier and policy expiration date

Compare quotes

Not every provider weights the same metrics in the same manner— meaning it’s possible to get dramatically different quotes from different insurance providers. Therefore, before you choose which insurance provider to use, shop around. Don’t just compare quotes but also compare discounts. One provider may appear to be more expensive, but may not be after you utilize all of the discounts you would be eligible for.

The price of auto insurance is always going to be expensive for an 18-year-old. But by collecting and comparing quotes from multiple insurers, it is possible to find the best rate. Don’t forget to compare coverage options and discounts too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do 18 year olds pay more for car insurance?

It boils down to statistics. Statistically, an 18 year old is more likely to speed, get into an accident and disregard essential safety procedures that seasoned drivers regularly practice. Therefore, an 18 year old is more of a financial risk than older drivers to insurance companies.

How much does car insurance cost for an 18 year old?

There are a variety of factors that influence this. These factors include such things as:

  • State
  • Type of car
  • Discounts
  • Insurance Provider

That said, the national average is currently $5,335.

Which insurance provider is the cheapest for 18 year olds?

Currently, the cheapest auto insurance provider for 18 year olds is Erie insurance with an average annual premium of $2,413.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 18-year-old male and female driver with a cleaning driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

About the author


Cynthia Widmayer

Cynthia Widmayer

Cynthia Widmayer has over two years of experience as an insurance and personal finance writer. She covers home, car and life insurance products for Bankrate, the Simple Dollar, and Coverage.com, among others.