Best car insurance for young adults

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By the time you reach your 18th birthday, you may have been driving for a few years. Although you have some experience behind the wheel, car insurance companies still consider you a youthful driver. Understanding how your auto insurance rates are calculated, what average 18-year-olds pay and what you can do to keep your premium low might help you feel more in control of your auto insurance choices.

Bankrate partners with Quadrant Information Services to obtain up-to-date rate information, including the average premiums for young drivers. If you are armed with knowledge about young drivers, you may be in a better position to know how to offset the increase in your insurance costs.

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Best car insurance for young adult drivers

Because they have a bit more driving experience than teens, young adults may start getting lower average premiums as they get older. With each year that passes, assuming you maintain a clean driving record, you may see your premium decrease. If you are shopping for car insurance for a young driver, you may want to consider these companies.

Your rate may depend on factors such as if you are on a parent’s plan or are married. For the purposes of collecting average rates, the rates here are single individuals who rent and are on their own insurance plan.

Geico

Geico is known for offering low average rates, and that holds true for young adults. The company also offers a long list of discounts that could help you lower your premium.

Age Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Age 20 $1,294 $2,724
Age 21 $573 $2,234
Age 22 $535 $2,083
Age 23 $492 $1,926
Age 24 $467 $1,826
Age 25 $428 $1,676

Recent college grads might also earn discounts for alumni association membership and fraternity or sorority affiliation. Young adults who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces could earn up to a 15% discount, along with additional savings when deployed.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Nationwide

If you are looking for a company with plenty of options for customization, Nationwide might be a good fit. The company offers numerous coverage options, like roadside assistance and gap insurance, to help you create a policy that fits your needs.

Age Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Age 20 $1,201 $3,265
Age 21 $892 $2,383
Age 22 $807 $2,202
Age 23 $740 $2,060
Age 24 $689 $1,932
Age 25 $605 $1,669

Young adults may be able to save money on car insurance when they enroll in Nationwide’s SmartRide program. The usage-based insurance rating program uses an app to track acceleration, braking, idle time, mileage and nighttime driving. Because most college students who live on campus spend less time behind the wheel, limited driving and good driving habits may lead to great savings. Drivers get a 10% discount just for signing up and can earn up to a 40% discount depending on their driving habits.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

State Farm

If you like working with a live agent, State Farm might be a good choice for insurance, even in your 20s. The company has a network of agents across the nation who can help you with your car insurance needs.

Age Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Age 20 $1,014 $2,908
Age 21 $861 $2,503
Age 22 $779 $2,298
Age 23 $694 $2,085
Age 24 $629 $1,932
Age 25 $558 $1,695

Young people often need help navigating the challenges of university life or leaving the nest to start their own families. State Farm makes life a little easier for young adults with an exceptional roadside assistance program. This covers battery jump starts, fuel delivery, locksmith service, towing and up to one hour of roadside mechanic’s labor.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Average cost of car insurance for young drivers

Knowing the national average cost of car insurance for young drivers may help you to know if the quote you have received is competitive or if you need to consider switching carriers to get a better rate. The premiums below are the average annual full coverage premiums for males and females, by age.

Age Male Female % Difference
Age 20 $4,098 $3,492 14%
Age 21 $3,166 $2,769 14%
Age 22 $2,913 $2,578 12%
Age 23 $2,733 $2,446 11%
Age 24 $2,590 $2,332 10%
Age 25 $2,183 $2,038 7%

Age and gender are major factors insurers use to determine auto insurance rates at any age. On average, an 18-year-old male pays around $5,650 for a full coverage annual premium. By the time they reach 25 years of age, males pay an average of around $2,183. Younger drivers are less experienced and may be at a higher risk for getting in accidents.

There are a number of factors that make up your car insurance rates, and age and gender and just two of them, although some states do not allow rates based on gender. Your driving history, the type of car you drive, the coverages you choose and the discounts you qualify for will all have an impact. Your premium will likely be different than the averages listed above.

Average car insurance costs for young drivers by state

Location plays a role in car insurance rates as well. Every state has different insurance laws, which can impact premiums. Additionally, the risk of getting into an accident may vary by location.

The table below illustrates the average annual full coverage premium for young adults, analyzed by state.

Car insurance company Average annual 20-year-old full coverage premium Average annual 21-year-old full coverage premium Average annual 22-year-old full coverage premium Average annual 23-year-old full coverage premium Average annual 24-year-old full coverage premium Average annual 25-year-old full coverage premium
Alabama $4,247 $3,103 $2,899 $2,742 $2,583 $2,189
Alaska $3,534 $2,810 $2,627 $2,457 $2,350 $2,050
Arizona $3,391 $2,750 $2,570 $2,399 $2,284 $1,953
Arkansas $4,357 $3,370 $3,092 $2,947 $2,824 $2,470
California $3,980 $3,459 $3,228 $3,064 $2,870 $2,671
Colorado $4,494 $3,411 $3,161 $3,016 $2,891 $2,443
Connecticut $4,420 $3,079 $2,769 $2,546 $2,406 $2,075
Delaware $4,352 $3,045 $2,831 $2,687 $2,568 $2,176
Florida $5,726 $4,580 $4,148 $3,955 $3,828 $3,357
Georgia $4,763 $3,589 $3,426 $3,209 $3,071 $2,562
Hawaii* $1,294 $1,272 $1,273 $1,272 $1,272 $1,272
Idaho $2,648 $2,034 $1,882 $1,795 $1,729 $1,460
Illinois $3,634 $2,807 $2,556 $2,387 $2,267 $1,913
Indiana $2,945 $2,421 $2,207 $2,129 $1,979 $1,682
Iowa $2,657 $2,150 $1,996 $1,907 $1,823 $1,550
Kansas $3,838 $2,998 $2,758 $2,675 $2,597 $2,150
Kentucky $5,444 $4,071 $3,788 $3,649 $3,479 $2,863
Louisiana $5,911 $4,847 $4,390 $4,176 $3,979 $3,426
Maine $2,372 $1,566 $1,476 $1,420 $1,366 $1,107
Maryland $4,473 $3,208 $2,966 $2,732 $2,538 $2,208
Massachusetts $3,124 $2,665 $1,719 $1,627 $1,512 $1,451
Michigan $5,743 $4,495 $4,165 $3,825 $3,625 $3,038
Minnesota $3,333 $2,856 $2,643 $2,444 $2,329 $2,011
Mississippi $3,840 $2,959 $2,763 $2,614 $2,494 $2,144
Missouri $3,923 $2,984 $2,788 $2,670 $2,562 $2,111
Montana $4,238 $3,183 $3,001 $2,760 $2,639 $2,094
Nebraska $3,414 $2,584 $2,368 $2,262 $2,187 $1,839
Nevada $4,928 $3,903 $3,656 $3,358 $3,250 $2,836
New Hampshire $2,806 $2,199 $2,000 $1,906 $1,806 $1,512
New Jersey $4,232 $3,346 $3,045 $2,818 $2,670 $2,294
New Mexico $3,033 $2,511 $2,348 $2,243 $2,148 $1,862
New York $4,861 $3,754 $3,542 $3,354 $3,207 $2,798
North Carolina $1,653 $1,576 $1,559 $1,542 $1,512 $1,482
North Dakota $2,648 $2,158 $1,995 $1,852 $1,777 $1,576
Ohio $2,679 $2,097 $1,967 $1,832 $1,722 $1,462
Oklahoma $3,791 $3,154 $2,903 $2,739 $2,615 $2,299
Oregon $2,945 $2,395 $2,173 $2,062 $1,972 $1,721
Pennsylvania $3,806 $2,913 $2,735 $2,586 $2,437 $1,964
Rhode Island $4,238 $3,314 $3,060 $2,824 $2,707 $2,324
South Carolina $3,733 $2,661 $2,506 $2,347 $2,250 $1,921
South Dakota $3,232 $2,645 $2,522 $2,379 $2,300 $2,029
Tennessee $3,241 $2,561 $2,358 $2,201 $2,033 $1,789
Texas $4,455 $3,346 $3,126 $2,960 $2,817 $2,353
Utah $3,215 $2,416 $2,221 $2,080 $1,958 $1,651
Vermont $3,539 $2,133 $2,021 $1,911 $1,853 $1,413
Virginia $3,246 $2,409 $2,226 $2,098 $1,996 $1,770
Washington $3,034 $2,235 $2,023 $1,887 $1,794 $1,545
Washington, D.C. $3,863 $3,224 $2,989 $2,766 $2,602 $2,246
West Virginia $3,520 $2,773 $2,530 $2,370 $2,216 $1,912
Wisconsin $2,609 $2,096 $1,922 $1,813 $1,726 $1,505
Wyoming $3,035 $2,616 $2,397 $2,232 $2,142 $1,720

*Hawaii does not use age as a rating factor

How are rates determined for young drivers?

Rates for young adults are determined in the same way as they are for older drives. There are several rating factors that go into your insurance premium, including:

  • Age: Typically, drivers who are 25 and younger pay more for car insurance, because their lack of driving experience may put them at a greater risk for causing accidents than older drivers.
  • Automobile make and model: Some cars are more expensive to insure than others. Before buying a car, it may be a good idea to get a quote from your insurance carrier to make sure you can afford the insurance.
  • Credit: Most states allow insurance carriers to use your credit score when calculating your policy rate. People with poor credit typically pay much higher rates than consumers with good credit scores.
  • Gender: Males usually pay higher rates than females pay for car insurance, even if they have clean driving records. Men are statistically more likely to get into accidents than women, and those accidents tend to be more severe.
  • Location: Car owners who live in areas prone to car theft and vandalism may pay more for auto insurance. Additionally, every state has different insurance laws, which can affect premiums.
  • Mileage: The more you drive, the more likely it is that you will have an accident. People who only use their cars occasionally usually pay lower rates than people who are on the road more often.
  • Types and amount of coverages: Drivers who only purchase required coverages such as bodily injury and property damage liability generally pay less for car insurance than motorists who also buy collision and comprehensive coverage. If you own your vehicle outright, you can buy state required coverages, but if you finance a vehicle, the lender will require you to buy collision and comprehensive insurance too. However, the less coverage you purchase, the less financial protection you have.

Because these variables will change your rate from provider to provider, it can be helpful to get several quotes before settling on an insurance company.

Discounts for young drivers

Almost every car insurance company offers discounts to drivers, and some even offer discounts specifically for young drivers. Finding a company that offers the right discounts for your driving habits may be the best way to get cheap car insurance.

Multi-car discounts

Most carriers give you a discount when you add multiple vehicles to a single policy. However, the discount likely will not offset the cost of adding an additional vehicle. It may make each vehicle cheaper to insure, but your entire policy will likely be more expensive with two or more vehicles. Buying an additional car just for the multi-car discount is not an effective way to lower your car insurance premium.

Good student discount

Most companies offer discounts for full-time high school and college students who maintain a certain GPA or letter grade average. These discounts can save you hundreds of dollars per year.

To qualify for a good student discount, you will typically need to earn a 3.0 GPA or higher, or a B or better letter grade average

Young driver safety training

Many companies offer discounts to students who have taken a driver education class or an approved driver training course. Most courses go over the rules of the road and teach young drivers to drive defensively.

Usage-based rating discounts

Usage-based rating is a relatively new way to reduce your car insurance rate, but more and more insurance companies are offering these types of discounts. Providers that offer the programs require policyholders to use a mobile app or plugin device which monitors driving habits such as acceleration, braking, speed and trip distance each time they drive. Drivers who maintain good driving habits can earn discounts.

Distant student discount

Many insurance providers offer discounts for students who attend school away from home if they do not take a car with them. You must be listed on your parents’ policy to take advantage of discounts such as these. During the school term, many students can save on car insurance by using a distant student discount.

Age Without distant student discount With distant student discount Percent savings
Age 20 $3,795 $1,284 66%
Age 21 $2,967 $909 69%
Age 22 $2,745 $761 72%
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Frequently asked questions

Can I save money if I add my young driver to my auto insurance policy, or should I purchase a standalone policy?

Teens under 18 are not able to own their own insurance policy, as they are considered minors. Once your child turns 18, they can get their own insurance policy. However, it is typically less expensive to keep young drivers listed on a parents’ or caregivers’ policy until they move out of the household.

What types of discounts do insurers offer young drivers?

Insurance companies know that teens and young drivers are expensive to insure and offer discounts to help offset the cost. The most common ways to reduce your car insurance rates include good student and driver education discounts. Also, consider choosing an insurer that offers a usage-based discount program, which rewards good driving habits with lower rates.

Should I buy my teenager a new or used car?

There are a lot of factors that go into the price of insurance for various car models, including the value of the vehicle, the statistical likelihood that it will be in an accident and the cost of repairs. Generally, an older vehicle is going to be cheaper to insure with a teen driver than a newer vehicle. If you feel comfortable insuring a vehicle with liability only rather than full coverage, meaning that the insurer will not help pay for damage to the vehicle, that can help keep your insurance cost down.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on 18 through 25-year-old male and female drivers with a clean 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 base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. The drivers are renters on their own insurance plans except for distant student discount rates, in which case the drivers are on their parents’ plan.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical writing from Indiana University East. She began writing for Bankrate in January 2021 and has nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Cate has worked with over a dozen insurance companies and is experienced with auto, home, flood, umbrella and life insurance.
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