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What a teenager does to your car insurance rates

Adding a 16-year-old teen to your policy will increase your rates, on average, by about 130% to 140%, or an extra $2,000 annually, according to CarInsurance.com rate data.

Car insurance for young drivers is expensive, as you'll see in the table below, but you can still save by putting the teen on your policy rather than getting him or her their own coverage, and by garnering all the discounts you can for young drivers.

You’ll see below how much it costs to add a 16-year-old driver to your policy in your state, on average, for full coverage:

State Average Rate Average Rate with Teen Percent Increase
Alaska$1,246$3,600189%
Alabama$1,304$3,504169%
Arkansas$1,556$4,021158%
Arizona$1,399$4,463219%
California$1,783$5,660217%
Colorado$1,675$4,082144%
Connecticut$1,980$5,167161%
DC$1,887$5,261179%
Delaware$1,838$4,503145%
Florida$2,250$5,496144%
Georgia$1,815$5,343194%
Hawaii$1,255$1,2923%
Iowa$1,073$2,570140%
Idaho$1,019$2,812176%
Illinois$1,176$3,635209%
Indiana$1,057$2,538140%
Kansas$1,412$3,300134%
Kentucky$1,611$3,903142%
Louisiana$2,228$7,007214%
Massachusetts$1,616$3,964145%
Maryland$1,541$4,280178%
Maine$884$1,977124%
Michigan$2,368$6,217163%
Minnesota$1,339$3,392153%
Missouri$1,288$2,978131%
Mississippi$1,504$3,671144%
Montana$1,589$3,230103%
North Carolina$1,170$2,608123%
North Dakota$1,123$2,688139%
Nebraska$1,287$3,449168%
New Hampshire$1,156$3,406195%
New Jersey$1,419$4,590223%
New Mexico$1,498$3,991166%
Nevada$1,578$4,785203%
New York$1,214$3,347176%
Ohio$959$1,931101%
Oklahoma$1,469$3,446135%
Oregon$1,325$3,456161%
Pennsylvania$1,438$3,142118%
Rhode Island$2,011$5,829190%
South Carolina$1,353$4,230213%
South Dakota$1,250$2,776122%
Tennessee$1,339$3,487160%
Texas$1,644$4,387167%
Utah$1,212$3,243168%
Virginia$993$2,974199%
Vermont$1,166$2,978155%
Washington$1,307$3,323154%
Wisconsin$1,147$3,011163%
West Virginia$1,467$3,766157%
Wyoming$1,577$3,830143%

See our detailed rate analysis by age for teen drivers, which shows pricing for adding a teen to a policy compared to the teen having his or her own, and broken down by state:

How can a parent with a teen driver lower car insurance rates?

Our parent guide to insuring a teen provides more detail, but here we'll offer the must-know steps to take for keeping teen driver rates as low as possible. First, shop around. The more you pay for insurance, the more likely it is that you can save money. Every insurer prices its coverage differently, and what might be cheaper for your neighbor might not be cheaper for you. You can compare auto insurance quotes online or by calling several agents. To learn more about how to get an idea of what you can expect to pay for coverage, read the details at our guide on how to estimate car insurance costs.

Comparing quotes is simply your best shot at saving money, and the payoff for a few minutes of work could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The next best way to save money is to get all the discounts that apply to you. If your child maintains good grades, that earns a good student discount. In general you can expect to save 10% to 15% if your insurer offers a good student discount. You may also be able to get a multi-driver discount once you add your teen to your policy.

Third, buy the right car.  The best cars for teens are those with safety features that have low horsepower. The cheapest vehicles to insure are typically minivans. Good luck! But with that as your opening gambit, a rental-grade sedan will seem like a Ferrari to your teen. If the vehicle your teen is driving is old enough to get by with only liability insurance, that will also cut your costs.

Do I have to add my teenager to my car insurance?

State laws vary, so it is recommended that you always notify your insurance company that you have a teen driver, but in general:

  • All licensed drivers in a household need to be added to a policy. If you don't, your insurer may not cover an accident or other claim, or it may cover the claim only if you pay the additional premium it would have charged you.
  • Some states allow a licensed teen to be excluded from your policy, but you have to check to see if your insurance company also allows it -- few do.
  • Some states allow insurance companies to require you to list teens with driving permits -- so those who are not yet even licensed -- on your insurance policy. Those include Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Most states will not allow a teen to title a car in his own name.
  • Even if your state has no age restrictions on titling a car, teen drivers under age 18 are unlikely to find insurance own their own. It's a contract, and teens are not old enough to sign one yet. That means that you would have to also sign the teen liability insurance policy if your child is under 18.