Cheap car insurance for teens in 2022

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Adding a teenage driver to a parent’s full coverage car insurance policy will almost always cause an increase in auto insurance rates. On average, adding a 16-year-old driver to their parents’ full coverage car insurance policy increases their annual car insurance costs by $2,531. That’s because teenage drivers are inexperienced behind the wheel, which means that their premiums will be higher to compensate for the increased risks they pose while driving. Fortunately, this probable increase does not make it impossible to find cheap car insurance for teens.

Luckily, several insurance companies offer relatively affordable coverage for teens. To help find the best car insurance that fits your budget and provides the best coverage for your teen driver, Bankrate reviewed average rate data from Quadrant Information Services. While there are many cheap car insurance options to choose from, Nationwide and Erie stand out by offering some of the most competitive rates.

Cheap auto insurance for teens

Insurance companies consider a driver’s age when determining their auto insurance premium in every state except Hawaii & Massachusetts. On average, teenage drivers pay higher insurance premiums due to their inexperience behind the wheel and increased number of crashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost three times more likely than drivers aged 20 or older to be involved in a fatal car crash.

Since car insurance for teens tends to be expensive, young drivers and their parents may want to research several options to find the cheapest carriers available. Luckily, several car insurance companies offer premiums for teen drivers well below average auto insurance rates.

16- and 17-year-olds on their parents’ policy

Both 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds typically need to be insured under a parent’s policy since they are legally considered minors. Because these drivers are the most inexperienced of any age group, average rates are generally higher for teens than for other ages. Still, several of the nation’s best auto insurers offer cheap insurance for young teens. The companies showcased below reflect some of the cheapest car insurance for teens added to their parents’ policy, based on average rates collected and analyzed from Quadrant Information Services. In some states, insurance companies are not allowed to use gender as a rating factor when calculating premiums.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium for 16-year-old males Average annual full coverage premium for 16-year-old females Overall average annual full coverage premium
Nationwide $1,362 $1,100 $1,231
Erie $1,531 $1,178 $1,355
The Hartford $1,946 $1,898 $1,922
Geico $2,234 $1,785 $2,009

Note how average rates generally decrease for 17-year-old drivers in the table below:

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium for 17-year-old males Average annual full coverage premium for 17-year-old females Overall average annual full coverage premium
Nationwide $1,226 $988 $1,107
Erie $1,362 $1,028 $1,195
The Hartford $1,590 $1,553 $1,572
USAA $1,729 $1,470 $1,599

The rates above reflect the annual average cost for a teen driver added to a parents’ policy, consisting of three drivers and one car. Each rate calculation determined the difference in premium before and after the teen was added, with the difference representing the amount that the insurance company is charging for the teen. Note that the rates above would change if parents added another vehicle to the policy. The type and amount of vehicles you insure are important factors that affect the price of car insurance.

18- and 19-year-olds on their own policy

18-year-old and 19-year-old drivers generally have more road experience than younger teens and, due to their age and status as legal adults, typically have the option to remain on a parent’s policy or purchase their own. Because their average car insurance rates still tend to be higher than for more experienced adult drivers, 18- and 19-year-old drivers may benefit from seeking coverage from the companies in the tables below, which offer cheap auto insurance for teens in this age range on average. The average annual cost of car insurance for 18- and 19-year-olds on their own policy is $5,247 and $4,146 for full coverage (which includes collision and comprehensive coverage), or $1,655 and $1,254 for minimum coverage, respectively. The rates below represent 18- and 19-year-old renters on their own policy.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage for 18-year-olds Average annual premium for full coverage for 18-year-olds
Erie $904 $2,953
USAA $1,049 $3,367
Auto-Owners $1,086 $3,531
Geico $1,011 $3,675

Even at 19-years-old, drivers will generally pay more than the national average annual premium for full coverage, although premiums do continue to trend downward:

Car insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage for 19-year-olds Average annual premium for full coverage for 19-year-olds
Erie $776 $2,601
USAA $777 $2,637
Amica Mutual $865 $3,656
Auto-Owners $900 $3,004

While certainly less expensive than insuring 16- and 17-year-old drivers, 18- and 19-year-olds may still benefit from remaining on their parents’ policies. However, if an 18- or 19-year-old driver moves out of their parents’ household (except for going to college), most insurance companies will require that they get their own policy, separate from their parents.

How much does car insurance cost for teen drivers?

In addition to age, gender and location tend to be major factors that insurance companies use to determine the cost of car insurance for teen drivers. However, keep in mind that insurers are prohibited from using a driver’s ZIP code as a rating factor in certain states, and using gender as a rating factor is prohibited in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Male drivers are generally considered higher risk than female drivers, regardless of their age group, and as a result, the average cost of their car insurance tends to be higher. The average 18-year-old male driver pays more than $800 more for full coverage than a female driver. The table below illustrates how gender might impact average rates for a teen driver:

Age Average annual full coverage premium for males Average annual full coverage premium for females
16-year-old* $2,783 $2,280
17-year-old* $2,612 $2,141
18-year-old $5,650 $4,844
19-year-old $4,487 $3,807

*16- and 17-year-old drivers on their parents’ policy. 18- and 19-year old drivers on their own policy.

Why does car insurance cost more for male drivers?

Insurance carriers partly base premium calculations on statistical data, which is why male drivers tend to pay more on average than females. Statistically, male drivers are more likely to get into accidents than female drivers, which tend to be more serious.

According to research from the CDC, the motor vehicle death rate for males aged 16 to 19 was nearly two times the death rate for females in the same age group. The riskier driving behavior of male drivers combined with young drivers’ lack of experience makes teen males especially costly to insure. However, by shopping around, looking for student discounts, comparing quotes and even switching car insurance companies, young male drivers could make significant strides toward achieving cheap auto insurance.

How teens can save on car insurance

The cost of insuring a teen driver can be daunting. Insurance companies know this and generally offer several discounts for policyholders to take advantage of to lower their premiums. By understanding what savings programs your insurance carrier has available, you may be able to reduce the cost of insuring a teen driver. Teens may keep car insurance rates low by keeping clean driving records and looking for student discounts.

Good student discounts

Many insurance carriers offer student discounts for drivers aged 16 to 24 who are enrolled in school full-time and maintain a certain grade point average. Carriers have varying eligibility requirements, so it is always best to ask your provider what the exact requirements are to qualify for this discount. The table below illustrates just how cost-effective these programs can be:

Age Average annual full coverage premium before good student discount Average annual full coverage premium after good student discount Difference
16-year-old $2,531 $2,119 -16%
17-year-old $2,376 $1,994 -16%

*16- and 17-year-old drivers on their parents’ policy.

Distant student discounts

Students who attend a school away from home and do not have a car with them may qualify for this discount. While this discount is most common with college students, younger teens who attend schools away from home might also qualify. Such programs usually stipulate the maximum age and minimum distance from home that students must be to qualify. For example, a distant student program may require that a student be under 25 and be at least 100 miles away from home to qualify. The following table illustrates the average savings you can expect by enrolling in such a program:

Age Average annual full coverage premium before distant student discount Average annual full coverage premium after distant student discount Difference
18-year-old $1,975 $1,911 -3%
19-year-old $1,528 $1,483 -3%

*18- and 19-year-old drivers on their parent’s policy.

Additional discounts

In addition to education-related discounts, teen drivers can take advantage of other discounts to help lower the cost of insurance. Depending on your insurance carrier, you may be eligible for the following:

  • Safe driving discount: Insurance carriers may offer safe driving discounts for policyholders with clean driving records, meaning no accidents or traffic violations in the past three to five years. If you’re a good driver, you may qualify for this discount.
  • Multi-car and multi-policy discounts: These two discounts are some of the biggest contributors to teens earning cheap car insurance while on their parents’ policy. If their parents have more than one car, their auto policy likely qualifies for a multi-car discount. Similarly, if they have homeowners, condo owners or renters insurance policy with the same company, they may qualify for a bundling discount.
  • Driver’s education discount: Policyholders who complete a qualifying driver training course may be eligible for some companies’ driver’s education discount.
  • Telematics: Whether or not you have a clean driving record, you may qualify for a telematics program. These programs use a device to track your driving in real-time and award discounts for safe driving.

You may be wondering how to get these car insurance discounts. Always refer to your insurance carrier’s list of available discounts to understand eligibility requirements. If you are unsure what discounts your carrier offers or what discounts you qualify for, you may want to call your agent or your insurance company’s customer service department to confirm.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company for teen drivers?

The best car insurance company largely depends on your specific needs. When selecting the best cheap car insurance for teens, you might want to consider what coverage options are available, the average cost for coverage and what discounts are offered. It may also be cheaper to keep a teen driver on their parents’ policy until they have moved out of the household.

What factors affect the price of car insurance?

Each insurance provider has a unique pricing model, and there are numerous factors that can affect car insurance premiums. Driving history, claims history and vehicle type are major determinants, while some insurance companies use factors like your ZIP code, gender, age and credit score as additional rating factors. Because every driver has their own unique characteristics, auto insurance rates vary significantly from one person to another, and that includes insurance for teen drivers.

Should I add my teenager to my car insurance policy?

Adding teenage drivers to your policy will almost always cause an increase in auto insurance rates. However, it is typically more cost effective to add them to your policy versus having them purchase a separate policy. Plus, if your child is below the age of 18, they cannot usually secure their own individual car insurance policy. You can talk to your current insurance provider and other insurance companies to compare the most cost-effective options for insuring your teen driver.

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 male and female drivers aged 16-19 with clean driving records, 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 2019 Toyota Camry, 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.

Rates are determined based on 2021 Quadrant Information Services data.

Gender: The following states do not use gender as a determining factor in calculating premiums: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania.

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 18-60 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. Rates for the 16- and 17-year-olds were determined based on the added cost to their 40-year-old parents’ policy.