You've got a son or daughter who has recently received a driver's license and is eager to get behind the wheel. But before you can hand over the keys, it's important to answer a crucial question:

How much does it cost to add a teenager to car insurance?

The answer can vary depending on several factors, but you will likely pay higher premiums once your adolescent is added to your car insurance policy. The good news is that once they establish a clean driving record you can expect to see premiums decrease as the reach their 20s.

Here’s what you need to know about adding a teen driver to your auto insurance.

What are the average costs to add a teen to car insurance?

Adding a teen to your policy will increase your rates, on average, by 102%, according to CarInsurance.com rate data.

"Teenage drivers are inexperienced drivers who are less aware of their surroundings and have a tendency to drive too fast and less responsibly, which makes it more likely that they will have a claim," explains Ben Galbreath, producer and independent insurance agent with Wallace & Turner Insurance in Springfield, Ohio.

Imani Francies, an Atlanta-based auto insurance expert with AutoInsurance.org, agrees.

"Younger drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident. Teen drivers are considered high-risk by insurers because novice drivers are dangerous behind the wheel. Higher premiums are passed on to policyholders as a result of the greater risk," she says.

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 car insurance policy rather than getting him or her their own car insurance policy, and by garnering all the discounts you can for young drivers.

You'll see below the average cost of adding teen driver cost for full coverage each state:

Average Cost of Full Coverage after Adding Teen Driver
StateAvg PremiumAvg Premium with Teens% Increase
Alaska$1,236$2,532105%
Alabama$1,485$2,82790%
Arkansas$1,485$3,138111%
Arizona$1,453$3,381133%
California$2,001$4,238112%
Colorado$1,941$3,57184%
Connecticut$1,436$2,74791%
District of Columbia$1,679$3,23693%
Delaware$1,560$2,83682%
Florida$2,192$4,32897%
Georgia$1,638$3,270100%
Hawaii$1,067$1,1225%
Iowa$1,127$2,05983%
Idaho$980$2,047109%
Illinois$1,542$3,440123%
Indiana$1,262$2,43393%
Kansas$1,426$2,67988%
Kentucky$1,318$2,826114%
Louisiana$2,969$6,608123%
Massachusetts$1,382$2,71496%
Maryland$1,371$2,859109%
Maryland$964$2,305139%
Michigan$1,563$3,304111%
Minnesota$1,185$2,16383%
Missouri$1,644$3,27599%
Mississippi$1,448$2,993107%
Montanta$1,588$2,94786%
North Carolina$1,319$2,46387%
North Dakota$1,166$2,21490%
Nebraska$1,761$2,99070%
New Hampshire$965$2,073115%
New Jersey$1,579$3,487121%
New Mexico$1,447$2,87098%
Nevada$1,625$3,08090%
New York$1,540$3,223109%
Ohio$960$1,88196%
Oklahoma$1,674$3,07484%
Oregon$1,153$2,26596%
Pennsylvania$1,277$2,807120%
Rhode Island$1,786$4,055127%
South Carolina$1,473$3,251121%
South Dakota$1,501$2,49066%
Tennessee$1,236$2,595110%
Texas$1,747$3,733114%
Utah$1,529$3,279114%
Virginia$1,139$2,711138%
Vermont$1,065$2,252111%
Washington$1,157$2,718135%
Wisconsin$1,211$2,611116%
West Virginia$1,311$3,118138%
Wyoming$1,722$3,26990%
National average$1,457$2,949102%

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:

Adding a male teen driver costs more than a female teen driver

Male teen drivers usually cost more to insure than females. The reason that teenage car insurance costs more comes down to risk.

"Teenage boys are typically more likely to be risk-takers and more impulsive when it comes to driving than teenage girls," says Justin Yoshizawa, director of product management at Mercury Insurance Company in Brea, California. "Historical insurance data show that teenage boy drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents and DUIs and pay less attention to the rules of the road."

Katie Sopko, an insurance agent/agency manager with A Plus Insurance in Greenville, South Carolina, says statistics show male motorists cause approximately 6.1 million accidents per year versus 4.4 million per year caused by females.

"Women are, simply put, more careful drivers than men, on average," adds Sopko.

Getting a good deal on teen car insurance

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.

Shop around

The more you pay for insurance, the more likely you can save money. Insurance carriers price their insurance coverage differently, and what might be cheaper for your neighbor might not be cheaper for you. You can compare car insurance quotes online or by calling several agents.

It's a good idea to check quotes for other car insurance companies when you add a teen driver to your policy. Adding a teen can double your rates, so make sure you get the best deal.

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

Maximize car insurance discounts

If your child maintains a good grade point average, many insurance companies offer 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.

"If your child is currently in college or taking college classes, most carriers will offer a student discount. And if your child took a defensive course before getting their license, most companies will offer a discount for this as well," Sopko notes.

Buy the right car

The best cars for teens are those with safety features with low horsepower. The cheapest vehicles to insure are typically minivans. 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 insurance costs.

"Consider purchasing an older model vehicle for your team to drive. A sedan is usually best to lower your costs versus a sports car or SUV," suggests Galbreath. "I recommend covering the teen for liability only until they are about 20 years old, which is the age when coverage rates tend to come down."

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

State laws vary, so it’s recommended that you always notify your car insurance company that you have a young 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 car 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 on 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.

What discounts are available to teen drivers?

You can save a lot on your car insurance premiums if you qualify for specific discounts. Fortunately, most carriers provide a range of discounts to policyholders with teenage drivers who are eligible, including the following.

Good student

Statistics show that student drivers who maintain better grades are less likely to make mistakes behind the wheel.

"Good student discounts are usually extended to young drivers who maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in high school or college. These auto insurance discounts can save drivers between 10% and 15% on their policies," Yoshizawa says.

"Students named to the honor roll or Dean's list or who place in the top 20% of their class may be able to secure discounts, as well."

Safe driver course

A safe driving programs can lead to discounts for drivers who have had no at-fault accidents or traffic violations in a given period, according to Francies. Hence, a first-time teen driver may not qualify for this discount.

Low mileage

The more time a teen spends driving a vehicle, the greater their chances of being involved in an auto accident or moving violation. That's why adolescents who drive a low amount of miles per year may be entitled to a discount.

"This is usually available to persons who travel fewer than 7,000 miles per year or less than 10 miles every weekday," Francies says.

Telematics

Insurance providers often offer telematics programs, which reward safe driving practices with a discount based on a driving score determined by a smartphone app if your insurer offers one.

"Location, time of day, forceful breaking, and how often you use your phone while driving is all taken into account by telematics technology," adds Francies.

Distant student

Young adult drivers who live on campus for college or attend school in another state and leave their car parked at the family home may be eligible for a distant student discount, says Yoshizawa.

"Many insurers provide discounts for students who live 100 miles away or more. Combined with a good student discount, this could provide substantial savings for families when it comes to car insurance,” Yoshizawa adds.

How do you decide which vehicles to attach to your teen?

Take the time to carefully consider which vehicle your teen should be assigned to drive and which vehicles are off-limits.

"Newer cars come with the most recent and sophisticated safety technology to keep your teen safe while behind the wheel. Purchasing a new car can also mean cash incentives and rebates or special leasing rates they can save money," Yoshizawa explains.

"But used cars that are well maintained and function properly will still offer standard safety equipment and be a cost-effective way for many families to get their teens on the road."

Note that most auto insurance policies will allow the team to drive any car in the household.

"Most insurance companies today are moving away from insurance rating based on the car, but for those that still do the teen should be assigned to the car with the lowest value," advises Galbreath.

Avoid the impulse to give your teenager the keys to an expensive, sporty, or classic car, recommends Francies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adding another teenage driver will most likely increase your automobile insurance premiums, according to Yoshizawa. Carriers typically don't offer any discounts for having multiple teen drivers on your policy.

If your teenager is split relatively evenly between two houses when it comes to living and driving, both parents' vehicle insurance policies should include their child, recommends auto insurance expert Imani Francies. A teenage driver should at least be covered by the insurance policy of the parent with whom he or she spends the most time driving.

Stepchildren can be added to your auto insurance policy with no problem. Most insurers allow you to add anyone who lives in your household as a driver to your auto policy, per Justin Yoshizawa with Mercury Insurance Company.

If your grandchild lives with you and regularly drives your vehicle, they can be added to your policy. If your grandchild only uses your car occasionally, they may be covered under a permissive use policy, which allows grandchildren to borrow the vehicle and be added as a driver.

If your grandchild uses your car but has his or her own auto insurance policy, their auto insurance coverage will be secondary and you will be the first one held liable for claims.