Gianetta Palmer is a writer for CarInsurance101.com, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Teenagers and young adults pay more for car insurance than any other group of people. Teenagers are automatically grouped with people who have had accidents, drunk drivers and other “high risk” groups, despite their actual driving habits. While this can seem quite unfair for an individual young driver, these rates are based on solid statistical evidence. Fortunately, over time a young driver’s rates will decrease if they engage in safe driving behaviors. Until then, it pays to find an affordable insurance company that will offer reasonable rates.

How Much do Teens Pay for Car Insurance?

A driver’s age isn’t the only factor that determines the cost of insurance. A driver’s gender, type of vehicle they drive, geographic location and other factors can all influence premiums. Additionally, a young driver purchasing their own auto policy will have a different premium than a driver whose vehicle is added to their parent’s insurance.

Nevertheless, teenagers are classified as high-risk drivers, and their premiums will be similar to other high-risk drivers. In some cases, they may pay two to three times as much for auto insurance as a person a few years older with a perfect driving history.

Why are Teens Higher Risk Drivers?

Most people learn how to drive as teenagers, obtaining their first license at 16. In some states, additional education is required and a young person’s license may be restricted until they turn 18. In other places, drivers are immediately able to drive wherever and as much as they’d like. Depending on the teen, this may mean driving to school and sports practice, or it might mean traveling to parties or going out with friends.

Statistically, the worst accidents with teenagers happen when there are multiple teens in the car at once. Young people are disproportionately likely to be involved in drunk driving accidents, suggesting that teens may drive to parties and leave without a designated driver. Teenagers may also distract each other while driving, leading to careless driving mistakes.

Moreover, teens simply do not have the experience that older drivers do. Because they have not been driving for as many years, they may have slower reflexes or they might be unfamiliar with certain road conditions. They might not know how to react to icy roads, heavy wind or other road hazards that can lead to accidents.

Finally, teenagers provide an unknown variable to auto insurance companies. Older drivers will have an existing driving record that can be assessed with establishing rates; new drivers do not have this record, so insurance companies will have little to go on when determining the cost of coverage.

What Insurance Companies Are Best for Teenagers?

In some cases, a teen may be able to benefit from staying on their parent’s policy. For example, the parent may have safe driving awards that extend to the teen’s vehicle even though the young person is added as a driver. In other cases, a teenager should have their own policy because their inclusion on a parent’s policy will only increase the parent’s rates.

Any insurer that provides affordable coverage to high-risk drivers will be a good bet for securing affordable insurance. They may cater to teenagers, seniors, people with a history of accidents or those with rare or exotic vehicles. Some major insurance companies have subsidiaries that focus purely on high-risk policies. These companies often offer direct sales through their website instead of utilizing agents, so it’s worth shopping online before settling on a policy for your teen.

When shopping for coverage, the easiest way to find an affordable policy for your teenager is to fill out a request for a quote online. Because the quote form will request the driver’s age and gender, the quotes you receive will already filter results to show those companies that are able to provide cheap rates to young drivers.

Purchasing affordable auto insurance for a teenager can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. By comparison shopping online, you can find a suitable company. Once you’ve chosen an insurer, you can see if there are any discount programs or other ways that you or your teen can reduce the cost of coverage. For example, high school and college students may qualify for a good student discount that can lower the overall price of a policy. Drivers may also be able to take a defensive driving course or other education that can reduce the cost of coverage.

By combining an affordable policy with discounts, you can get the best possible rates on car insurance for teens. After a few years of safe driving and establishing credit with the insurance company, the teen will be able to enjoy a substantial decrease in the cost of coverage.