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Car insurance for a 16-year-old

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How much is car insurance for a 16-year-old?

Newly licensed drivers are expensive to insure. They are inexperienced, naturally, and have a high rate of accidents, so insurers consider them to be high-risk drivers. The average car insurance rate for a 16-year-old who has his or her own policy is $5,473 per year, on average. What you pay will vary, depending on your insurer, whether or not the teen is added to a parent's policy, the state you live in, the type of car you drive and coverage limits. To give you an idea of what to expect to pay for coverage, we provide average annual rates by state in the charts below.

The rates for a separate teen policy are based on having the following coverage limits on a 2015 Honda Accord, along with any other state required coverages, and a deductible of $500:

  • $100,000 for injury liability for one person
  • $300,000 for all injuries in one accident
  • $100,000 for property damage

For the cost to add a teen, CarInsurance.com compared rates in 10 zip codes in each state. The family profile we used owned a 2014 Honda Accord driven by a 40-year old man buying full coverage. Then we added a 16-year old teen to the policy. You'll see that adding a teen is much less expensive. That's because when teens get their own policy, they qualify for few discounts compared to their parents. Also, teens are commonly listed as a secondary driver on parents' policies.

Car insurance for a 16-year-old female

StateTeen policy rateParents' policyParents' policy with teen added
Alabama $4,820 $1,217 $3,077
Alaska $3,969 $1,188 $2,998
Arizona $4,363 $1,009 $2,654
Arkansas $4,861 $1,277 $2,881
California $5,514 $1,461 $4,173
Colorado $5,129 $1,095 $2,480
Connecticut $10,001 $1,597 $4,403
Delaware $8,285 $1,538 $3,749
District of Columbia $7,071 $1,628 $3,085
Florida $5,490 $1,463 $3,328
Georgia $4,347 $1,210 $2,899
Hawaii $1,373 $1,104 $1,121
Idaho $3,527 $822 $2,300
Illinois $4,360 $990 $2,709
Indiana $5,186 $950 $2,201
Iowa $3,591 $939 $2,279
Kansas $4,602 $1,141 $2,454
Kentucky $6,109 $1,177 $2,630
Louisiana $7,604 $1,645 $4,546
Maine $3,544 $758 $1,749
Maryland $4,311 $1,260 $2,991
Massachusetts $4,805 $1,469 $3,228
Michigan $10,625 $2,297 $5,172
Minnesota $4,622 $1,270 $2,409
Mississippi $5,118 $1,218 $2,740
Missouri $4,037 $1,039 $2,098
Montana $5,355 $1,321 $2,935
Nebraska $3,702 $1,035 $2,211
Nevada $5,505 $1,113 $2,463
New Hampshire $3,561 $865 $2,152
New Jersey $6,428 $1,348 $3,808
New Mexico $4,751 $1,125 $2,299
New York $4,493 $1,336 $2,940
North Carolina $2,948 $836 $2,408
North Dakota $4,477 $1,365 $2,306
Ohio $4,035 $763 $1,627
Oklahoma

$6,327

$1,405 $2,774
Oregon $6,268 $1,110 $2,422
Pennsylvania $4,569 $1,252 $3,046
Rhode Island $6,228 $2,117 $4,653
South Carolina $4,584 $1,055 $2,435
South Dakota $4,402 $1,080 $2,057
Tennessee $5,795 $1,256 $2,640
Texas $5,441 $1,416 $3,186
Utah $4,712 $935 $1,994
Vermont $3,290 $900 $2,032
Virginia $3,683 $849 $2,072
Washington $4,288 $1,075 $2,459
West Virginia $4,323 $1,534 $3,485
Wisconsin $5,497 $863 $1,992
Wyoming $4,133 $1,237 $2,875

Car insurance for a 16-year-old male

StateTeen policy rateParents' policyParents' policy with teen added
Alabama $6,021 $1,217 $3,966
Alaska $4,779 $1,188 $3,771
Arizona $5,309 $1,009 $3,313
Arkansas $5,527 $1,277 $3,238
California $6,890 $1,461 $5,633
Colorado $5,840 $1,095 $2,849
Connecticut $12,522 $1,597 $5,431
Delaware $10,943 $1,538 $4,562
District of Columbia $8,715 $1,628 $3,969
Florida $6,355 $1,463 $4,370
Georgia $5,657 $1,210 $3,626
Hawaii $1,373 $1,104 $1,121
Idaho $4,369 $822 $2,867
Illinois $5,280 $990 $3,352
Indiana $6,350 $950 $2,598
Iowa $4,324 $939 $2,689
Kansas $5,380 $1,141 $2,873
Kentucky $6,982 $1,177 $3,575
Louisiana $9,133 $1,645 $5,340
Maine $4,474 $758 $2,135
Maryland $5,306 $1,260 $3,846
Massachusetts $4,805 $1,469 $3,228
Michigan $10,740 $2,297 $5,274
Minnesota $5,822 $1,270 $2,999
Mississippi $5,751 $1,218 $3,120
Missouri $4,869 $1,039 $2,713
Montana $5,282 $1,321 $2,935
Nebraska $4,523 $1,035 $2,842
Nevada $6,366 $1,113 $2,838
New Hampshire $4,646 $865 $2,748
New Jersey $7,365 $1,348 $4,377
New Mexico $5,483 $1,125 $2,633
New York $5,644 $1,336 $3,699
North Carolina $2,948 $836 $2,408
North Dakota $6,039 $1,365 $3,211
Ohio $4,628 $763 $1,887
Oklahoma $7,502 $1,405 $3,238
Oregon $6,930 $1,110 $2,731
Pennsylvania $4,569 $1,252 $3,046
Rhode Island $7,596 $2,117 $6,848
South Carolina $5,439 $1,055 $2,913
South Dakota $5,362 $1,080 $2,462
Tennessee $6,940 $1,256 $3,122
Texas $6,537 $1,416 $3,882
Utah $5,483 $935 $2,336
Vermont $4,196 $900 $2,544
Virginia $4,500 $849 $2,504
Washington $4,860 $1,075 $2,813
West Virginia $5,274 $1,534 $4,342
Wisconsin $6,758 $863 $2,378
Wyoming $5,130 $1,237 $3,475

Cheap car insurance for a 16-year-old

Each state has minimum car insurance requirements that you must have to drive legally. This level of coverage is typically the cheapest, but it also provides limited protection. In most states, buying just the required coverage means your insurance will pay for others’ injuries and car damage, but not for your own injuries or car repairs. You’ll see in the charts below how much minimum coverage costs, on average, per year in each state, for a teen buying his or her own policy.

Cheap car insurance for a 16-year-old girl

StateAverage minimum rate
Alabama $1,691
Alaska $1,252
Arizona $1,781
Arkansas $1,678
California $1,532
Colorado $2,297
Connecticut $5,043
Delaware $3,687
District of Columbia $3,120
Florida $2,413
Georgia $1,648
Hawaii $474
Idaho $1,318
Illinois $1,775
Indiana $2,175
Iowa $1,206
Kansas $1,668
Kentucky $2,304
Louisiana $2,579
Maine $1,378
Maryland $2,080
Massachusetts $2,122
Michigan $7,640
Minnesota $2,546
Mississippi $1,770
Missouri $1,471
Montana $1,485
Nebraska $1,371
Nevada $1,965
New Hampshire $1,403
New Jersey $2,905
New Mexico $1,771
New York $2,124
North Carolina $1,170
North Dakota $1,335
Ohio $1,816
Oklahoma $2,239
Oregon $3,455
Pennsylvania $1,650
Rhode Island $2,569
South Carolina $1,778
South Dakota $1,294
Tennessee $2,190
Texas $1,966
Utah $2,091
Vermont $1,034
Virginia $1,358
Washington $1,888
West Virginia $1,593
Wisconsin $1,843
Wyoming $1,260

Cheap car insurance for a 16-year-old boy

StateAverage minimum rate
Alabama $1,996
Alaska $1,412
Arizona $2,045
Arkansas $2,014
California $1,902
Colorado $2,513
Connecticut $6,468
Delaware $4,769
District of Columbia $3,724
Florida $2,688
Georgia $2,132
Hawaii $474
Idaho $1,563
Illinois $2,146
Indiana $2,633
Iowa $1,423
Kansas $1,839
Kentucky $2,553
Louisiana $3,081
Maine $1,639
Maryland $2,502
Massachusetts $2,122
Michigan $7,621
Minnesota $2,838
Mississippi $1,866
Missouri $1,721
Montana $1,480
Nebraska $1,610
Nevada $2,276
New Hampshire $1,775
New Jersey $3,061
New Mexico $2,007
New York $2,587
North Carolina $1,170
North Dakota $1,584
Ohio $2,072
Oklahoma $2,600
Oregon $3,678
Pennsylvania $1,650
Rhode Island $3,088
South Carolina $2,041
South Dakota $1,513
Tennessee $2,552
Texas $2,341
Utah $2,401
Vermont $1,275
Virginia $1,613
Washington $2,126
West Virginia $1,846
Wisconsin $2,227
Wyoming $1,522

*CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to run auto insurance rates for a 2015 Honda Accord LX for 10 ZIP codes in each state using six large carriers -- Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. (In cases where one of the insurers doesn't return a rate, another major carrier in that state is substituted.)

Can a 16-year-old own and insure a car?

Penny Gusner, the consumer analyst for CarInsurance.com who is available to answer your car insurance questions, says that in most states a 16-year-old can own a car and insure it -- but only if a parent or legal guardian co-signs for both the vehicle's title and insurance coverage. "Even if you're under the age of majority, which is 18 in most states, you can buy and insure a car," Gusner explains. "However, in general, minors cannot enter into a contract, so they cannot sign for auto insurance by themselves. Depending on state laws, a teen may not be able to buy a car either, since that is a sales contract, without an adult signing on as well." While most states consider 16 to be a legal age to own a car, there are exceptions. Gusner points out that a juvenile must be 17 in South Carolina to buy a vehicle, again with a parent or guardian signing on. She also notes that Ohio requires a parent to file a minor consent form with the state's bureau of motor vehicles if anyone under 18 wants title to a vehicle.

Adding a teen to parents’ policy is usually more affordable

When it comes to car insurance for young drivers, most parents take the easier, and far more common, approach of adding a teen to their policy. For one thing, it's likely to be cheaper. Insurers base premiums on several factors, including the experience and driving record of the policy holder. A 16-year-old won't have that, which means higher rates. Also, as Gusner points out, the teen won't be eligible for rate reductions the parent may qualify for, including multi-vehicle, multi-policy (where car and home policies are bundled) and loyalty discounts. Still, adding a 16-year-old driver to your policy still means a significant hike in your rates. Every situation is different, but to get a an idea of what you can expect to pay, CarInsurance.com compared rates in 10 zip codes in each state. The family profile we used owned a 2014 Honda Accord driven by a 40-year old man buying full coverage. Then we added a 16-year old teen to the policy. Here's what happened:

  • The average household's car insurance bill rose 152 percent.
  • A teenage boy was more expensive. The average bill rose 176 percent, compared with 129 percent for teenage girls.

Despite the high cost to insure a teen, comparing car insurance quotes will save you money. Each insurer uses its own method for calculating what you pay, so prices for the same policy can vary significantly. For example, when adding a 16-year-old girl to your policy in Sacramento, California ZIP 95829, you can save $4,706 by comparing rates. That’s the difference between the highest ($7,267) and the lowest ($2,559) rates among six insurers for the same neighborhood.

Insurance for teen drivers

So, when do you add a teen to your policy? Start the process when he or she has a learner's permit. "Yes, begin when your child is first permitted to practice driving by contacting your insurer to see if you need to add the teen now or when fully licensed," she says. Gusner says the only time it might be wise to get teens a separate policy is when they've had some moving violations or been in accidents, which would hike premiums on the family coverage. Instead, think about getting a teen an older car, which is cheaper to insure, and buying a separate policy with only high liability protection." And don't forget to shop around," Gusner adds. "The teen's policy premium could be lower from one insurer to another." Also keep in mind that the high cost of insuring a young driver won’t last forever. Average car insurance rates by age show that rates begin to significantly decrease when drivers hit age 26.

Do you need insurance to drive with a learner’s permit?

Gusner says a novice driver does need to be insured, but not under his or her own policy. Usually, the policy of the vehicle's owner (typically the parent or guardian who accompanies the teen while he or she learns) should be enough. But parents need to immediately add their teen drivers to their policies once the teens are licensed." Most insurers will wait until the teen is licensed to make you add him, but do check beforehand because some will make you add the child at that point (when he has a permit) and start paying for him as a driver," she says.

Do you need insurance to get a license?

If you're driving, most states require you have minimum liability insurance. But a 16-year-old hoping to get his first license only has to show that the car he'll be driving is already covered by its owner's policy.

What's the best insurance for teenage drivers?

When insuring your 16-year-old, Gusner says first focus on liability protection, which pays for damages your teen may cause to property or people in an accident. And don't think that state-minimum coverage is enough. Medical costs can quickly escalate if there are major physical injuries. Bills can also go sky-high with property damages. Just imagine the costs if the accident involves a very expensive vehicle or other significant property. You'd have to pay out-of-pocket once those costs exceeded your liability limits. Besides raising your basic liability amount, consider purchasing an umbrella policy, which raises liability protection after those basic limits are met. An umbrella with $1 million or more of protection may be a smart move. If the vehicle is being financed, then comprehensive and collision coverage is required. But you decide if you want these optional protections if the car is already paid for. If you opt for comprehensive and collision, consider higher deductibles to lower your rate. Of course, you'd then have to pay for minor repairs following an accident.

Car insurance discounts for 16-year-olds

Despite the high rates you pay for young drivers, there are ways to trim costs. Car insurance discounts for teen drivers vary by state and insurer, but may include:

  • Driver education: Completion of a driver education course, if not required under state law as part of the licensing process, may provide a 5 percent discount.
  • Good student: Drivers who maintain a 3.0 or “B” average may get a discount of up to 15 percent.
  • Parent-teen driving contract: Teens who sign a contract with their parents that outlines rules to follow when driving – for instance limited hours and numbers of passengers – may get up to a 5 percent discount.

What are the best cars for a 16-year-old?

There are many things to consider, with safety the most important. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offers some basic principles when buying a car for a teen:

  • Try to get Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This feature, which helps a driver maintain control on curves and slippery roads, is about as good at reducing risks as safety belts, says the IIHS
  • Avoid very high horsepower. "Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt (young drivers) to test the limits," says the IIHS.
  • Look for cars with the best safety reviews from the IIHS and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

CarInsurance.com offers its own buying suggestions, including a detailed list of the cheapest cars to insure for teen drivers, models under $15,000 with good safety ratings.

Dangerous times for 16-year-old drivers

Safety becomes even more profound when you realize how perilous our highways can be for teenagers. Here are a few sobering facts:

  • A 16-year-old is 20 times more likely to be killed in a crash than an adult, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
  • One in five 16-year-old drivers has an accident during the first year of driving, according to a study by Geico.
  • 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age, according to a study by the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

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