Buying Car Insurance for Teens: A Guide

Teen drivers pose a greater risk than adults and if you have a young teen driver in your family, you’ll no doubt dread the moment they get their first car and require their first auto insurance policy.

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On the one hand, you’re delighted that they’ve got their driver’s license and have taken a big step toward independence, on the other, you’re now faced with a massive expense that, in some states, could set you back up to $3,500 a year!

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying car insurance for teenage drivers, covering common discounts, the best auto insurance companies, the likely rates, and more.

Car Insurance Rates for Teen Drivers

The average car insurance policies differ greatly from state to state and this is as true for young drivers as it is anyone else. The more built-up the area and the greater the rate of crashes and thefts, the more you will pay. And the difference can be quite staggering.

As you can see from the list below, you can expect to pay up to $3,500 for comprehensive coverage in the state of Michigan, but in Maine, you could pay as little as $1,050. Of course, these are just the averages, and they don’t count for a lot of discounts and other factors, but they will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your own insurance and whether you’re getting a good deal or not.

  • Alabama –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,700
  • Alaska –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,500
  • Arizona –  Average for minimum cover = $600; Average for Maximum cover = $1,800  
  • Arkansas –  Average for minimum cover = $450; Average for Maximum cover = $1,750
  • California –  Average for minimum cover = $600; Average for Maximum cover = $2,100
  • Colorado –  Average for minimum cover = $550; Average for Maximum cover = $2,000
  • Connecticut –  Average for minimum cover = $900; Average for Maximum cover = $2,000
  • Delaware –  Average for minimum cover = $900; Average for Maximum cover = $2,000
  • D.C. –  Average for minimum cover = $900; Average for Maximum cover = $2,200
  • Florida –  Average for minimum cover = $900; Average for Maximum cover = $2,200
  • Georgia –  Average for minimum cover = $700; Average for Maximum cover = $1,900
  • Hawaii –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,600 
  • Idaho –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,300  
  • Illinois –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,500  
  • Indiana –  Average for minimum cover = $450; Average for Maximum cover = $1,300  
  • Iowa –  Average for minimum cover = $350; Average for Maximum cover = $1,350
  • Kansas –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,700  
  • Kentucky –  Average for minimum cover = $650; Average for Maximum cover = $2,400 
  • Louisiana –  Average for minimum cover = $750; Average for Maximum cover = $2,600  
  • Maine –  Average for minimum cover = $350; Average for Maximum cover = $1,050  
  • Maryland –  Average for minimum cover = $850; Average for Maximum cover = $1,850  
  • Massachusetts –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,450  
  • Michigan –  Average for minimum cover = $2,000; Average for Maximum cover = $3,450  
  • Minnesota –  Average for minimum cover = $650; Average for Maximum cover = $1,600 
  • Mississippi –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,700 
  • Missouri –  Average for minimum cover = $550; Average for Maximum cover = $1,800 
  • Montana –  Average for minimum cover = $450; Average for Maximum cover = $2,000  
  • Nebraska –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,500  
  • Nevada –  Average for minimum cover = $750; Average for Maximum cover = $2,500 
  • New Hampshire –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,100 
  • New Jersey –  Average for minimum cover = $900; Average for Maximum cover = $2,000  
  • New Mexico –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,600 
  • New York –  Average for minimum cover = $900; Average for Maximum cover = $2,100
  • North Carolina –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,400 
  • North Dakota –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,500 
  • Ohio –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,200
  • Oklahoma –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,800 
  • Oregon –  Average for minimum cover = $700; Average for Maximum cover = $1,550 
  • Pennsylvania –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,700 
  • Rhode Island –  Average for minimum cover = $800; Average for Maximum cover = $2,100
  • South Carolina –  Average for minimum cover = $600; Average for Maximum cover = $1,600 
  • South Dakota –  Average for minimum cover = $300; Average for Maximum cover = $1,600 
  • Tennessee –  Average for minimum cover = $500; Average for Maximum cover = $1,500
  • Texas –  Average for minimum cover = $550; Average for Maximum cover = $1,800 
  • Utah –  Average for minimum cover = $600; Average for Maximum cover = $1,500
  • Vermont –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,400 
  • Virginia –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,200 
  • Washington –  Average for minimum cover = $550; Average for Maximum cover = $1,650
  • West Virginia –  Average for minimum cover = $550; Average for Maximum cover = $1,650
  • Wisconsin –  Average for minimum cover = $400; Average for Maximum cover = $1,300
  • Wyoming –  Average for minimum cover = $300; Average for Maximum cover = $1,700

How to Get Teen Car Insurance

If you’re buying car insurance for a teen, keep the following in mind:

1.  They May Contact You

Your car insurance company will probably contact you when your child is ready for insurance coverage. When you applied for your policy, they probably asked you for the ages of your children. They keep this info on file and then contact you proactively when the time comes.

Generally, while they are learning to drive, your child will be covered by your policy, but as soon as they get their own license, they will either need their own policy or can be added to yours. 

As soon as they contact you, you’ll get an idea of how much the insurance premiums will be and can use this when comparing quotes from different companies.

2. You Can Add Them to Your Policy

As noted above, you can add a teen driver to your policy, and this is often the cheapest way to do it. Your car insurance premiums will increase significantly, with the average policy jumping by about 110% for teenage girls and 150% for teenage boys, due to the higher risk associated with the latter.

That’s a lot of money to pay, but you will pay much more for a separate policy and if you’re going to be footing the bill anyway, it’s worth getting them their own policy.

3. The Car Makes a Big Difference

Next to the driver’s age and driving record, the car they drive is one of the biggest factors in determining how high the premiums will be.

If the car is expensive, the parts are rare, there are very few safety features, and it’s a popular target for thieves, the premiums will be high. You’ll also be more inclined to pay for collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.

On the other hand, if it’s an older vehicle that isn’t worth a great deal of money and has some basic features, you can give those expensive options a miss, set a high deductible, and take your chances.

Every teenager wants a new car; if it’s fast, flash, and can impress their friends when they roll-up outside school, even better. But every teen also wants a Bugatti, a new iPhone, and a closet full of designer gear. Just because they want it, doesn’t mean they should get it, and if you want to save money in insurance costs, get a cheap, old, and safe car.

4. Look into Discounts

New drivers have new driving records, so they can’t secure the big discounts that come from years of no violations or at-fault claims. But there are still multiple discounts for new drivers and young drivers, including driving courses and a good student discount.

With the latter, a teen driver can grab a sizable discount if they maintain a B average. This discount isn’t offered by all providers in all states, but you can get it with many of the biggest ones.

Many of the best insurers, including Geico, Progressive, State Farm, and Nationwide, also offer multi-car and multi-policy discounts, known as “bundling”.

5. Tickets will Cost You

If a teen is on a parent’s policy and gets a ticket for speeding, it could raise the cost of the policy by as much as 20%. If they are in a car accident, that cost could increase further. 

It’s easier said than done, but teen drivers should be encouraged to keep a clean driving record, as that’s the only way they can get the best rates and save you the big bucks.

Bottom Line

A good grade point average, a safe driving record, and the best car for the job—all these things can help you get the best rates. But there’s only so much you can do as a parent; the onus is on your child, as they are the one behind the wheel, the one getting the tickets, and potentially having the accidents.

The good news is that it should get easier and cheaper. In fact, on average, a 16-year-old will pay nearly twice as much as a 19-year-old and may also pay up to 20% more than a 17-year-old. So, bide your time, ride the storm, and when it’s time to renew, make sure you compare with all available insurance providers.