- Do you have to add a teenager to your car insurance policy?
- How much coverage do you need for teen drivers?
- How much does your insurance go up when you add a teenage driver?
- Compare rates to get the cheapest car insurance for your teen driver
- What are the best cars for teen drivers?
- Frequently asked questions: Car insurance for teen drivers
- Final thoughts: Car insurance for teen drivers
Adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy will raise your premiums as teens cost more to insure. New drivers are among the most dangerous on the road, have a higher rate of accidents and file more claims compared to the average driver.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16-19 than among any other age group: Per mile driven, teen drivers in this age group are nearly three times as likely as drivers aged 20 or older to be in a fatal crash.
Adding a 16-year-old male to your policy will result in an average annual rate of $4,861 per year, according to recent CarInsurance.com data.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, teens can increase a family’s auto coverage anywhere from 50% to 100%. But parents can save money by shopping around for rates. How much could they reduce their bill? Use the calculator below to know how much you can save on car insurance for teenage drivers.
- Adding a 16-year-old male to your policy will result in an average annual rate of $4,861 per year. For females, it will be $4,532 annually.
- Parents adding teens to their car insurance policies as drivers for the cheapest car listed on the policy will result in cheaper insurance rates.
- Car insurance for teens can be cheaper with discounts for good grades, vehicle safety discounts and studying far away.
Do you have to add a teenager to your car insurance policy?
If your teen is going to be driving, they need a car insurance policy – whether they purchase their own or you add them to their policy. However, purchasing their own policy will be much more costly than your teen’s being added to your policy — but teens can only have their own policies if they’re the age of majority.
“The auto insurance premium depends on a driver’s expected accident rate, which is calculated based on the driver’s past driving record. It is important to drive safely to maintain a good driving record,” says Ting Liu, associate professor of economics at Stony Brook University. “Insurance typically costs less if a student can stay on a parent’s policy. This is possible if one of the parents is listed on the title of the student’s car.”
Indeed, adding a teen driver to your policy will almost always be significantly cheaper than the teen having coverage through their own policy.
Here are some other tips for adding a teen to your insurance policy:
- The best time to begin the insurance process is before your teen driver gets a learner’s permit. Find out from your insurer the cost of adding your teen once licensed.
- Typically, your policy will automatically cover your teen at no cost while driving with a learner’s permit but check with your insurance company to be certain.
- Once your teen is licensed, you need to contact your insurance company and let it know that your child needs coverage, and have the teen added to your policy.
- Add your teen driver as the primary driver for the cheapest car listed on your policy, saving you money.
How much coverage do you need for teen drivers?
CarInsurance.com recommends getting a full coverage policy for insuring teenage drivers.
Buy a policy with the following coverage:
- $100,000 in liability to pay for injuries to others; up to $300,000 per accident
- $100,000 to pay for damage to other vehicles and property
- Comprehensive coverage to pay for damage from flooding, hail, fire, animal strikes and theft
- Collision to pay for damage to the vehicle you own
As always, when adding a teen driver to your policy, understand that if your child is in an accident, it is the parents’ assets – such as savings, investments, retirement accounts, home equity and future incomes – that are at risk in the event of a liability claim.
Myles Holley, property and casualty product specialist with Barnum Financial Group, says parents should inquire about an umbrella policy.
“While you have to maintain certain liability limits to qualify for this policy, and it carries an additional out-of-pocket cost, the amount of benefit you would receive in the event you use this policy would far outweigh any additional premium cost,” Holley says.
How much does your insurance go up when you add a teenage driver?
If teens are added to a parent’s policy, you’ll pay less than insurance for a teen on their own. Additionally, rates for females are cheaper than rates for males. Teen males typically pay the highest insurance premiums with an annual rate of $7,625 for a 16-year-old male on his own policy, up to $4,132 per year for a 19-year-old male, according to recent data.
See the table below for rates on teens and how much you can expect to pay at different ages for teens added to a parent’s or their own policy.
The amount of coverage you purchase also will affect the rates you pay for a teen driver. See the table below for rates for teens for various coverage limits.
See our detailed rate analysis be 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:
Compare rates to get the cheapest car insurance for your teen driver
To get the best rate, shop your coverage. Each insurance provider has different rates for each driver’s policy profile. Adding a teen driver changes that profile, which means your existing carrier may not have the lowest price for you anymore.
If you’re looking to add a teenager to your car insurance, keep in mind that any accidents or violations within five years will impact how much you pay for insurance – and compare rates from at least three insurers.
Panos D. Prevedouros, emeritus professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, said his teenage daughter faced a high premium in her first six months of driving for basic coverage.
“Immediately after completing six months accident-free, she shopped around and got a much better deal – more coverage and lower premium,” Prevedouros says. “After a year, she could get a lower premium by going through the programs offered by big box retailers, unions, company plans, etc.”
What are the best cars for teen drivers?
One of the most difficult aspects of adding a teen driver can be choosing the best car for your teen. You want the car to be safe, which typically means 2014 models and newer, as these come with safety features such as electronic stability control.
“Economic models from such manufacturers as Kia, Honda, Ford and Toyota are always a good bet, but similar vehicles from Subaru, Mini, and the like tend to be favorably rated due to their safety features,” Holley says. “As always, higher-end vehicles from BMW, Mercedes Benz and Infiniti will come with a higher insurance cost, but even certain models from Mazda and Chevrolet can be rated as ‘Sport’ vehicles and have a similar insurance cost.”
Frequently asked questions: Car insurance for teen drivers
Should teens get their own policies or stay on a parent’s policy?
Getting a teen on his or her own insurance policy is almost always more expensive than adding a teenager to your car insurance. Having said that, sometimes families decide a separate policy is best.
Here is what to keep in mind:
- You’re still liable for your child’s accidents if they’re younger than 18. When you sign for your teen’s license, most states assign you the responsibility for your child as a driver.
- You’ll still have to sign the policy. To buy a car and a car insurance policy, which is a binding legal contract, your teen will likely need a parent to sign with him on the paperwork.
- When a separate teen policy makes sense: Getting your teen his or her own policy is typically only a good idea if the child has already racked up tickets or has been in accidents and is raising the rates on your family policy. Then, it may be time to get your teen driver an older car with just liability coverage on the child’s own policy.
How can you save money on youth driver insurance?
There is no way to avoid a rate increase once you add a teenager to your car insurance policy, but here are a few ways to get car insurance discounts for teen drivers:
- Good student discount: Most insurers offer a good student discount to teens with a “B” average. Requirements can vary so contact your insurer for details, but typically this discount is on average 16%.
- Safety features save money: Putting your teen in a car loaded with safety features will usually result in a discount, as long as it’s not a sports car. Features that may result in a discount include anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes (ABS), adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and collision preparation systems. Ask your insurer what safety features will garner a discount. These typically are around 4% each.
- Student-away discount: If your teen lives more than 100 miles from home you should get a break on your auto insurance. A student-away discount can save an average of 18%.
Can teen drivers save on insurance through telematics programs?
One way to keep your teens safe is to monitor their driving habits. Some insurance companies offer specific programs for teen drivers that monitor their driving behavior.
Here are two options available to parents of new drivers:
State Farm Steer Clear: You must be younger than 25 and have a clean driving record to qualify for this discount. The app requires your teen to complete five training modules: lessons, videos, driving scenarios and quizzes.
The teen driver must also record (with the app) at least five hours of driving in at least 10 trips. Parents can monitor teens’ driving via the app and once training is complete, they can apply for a discount.
American Family Teen Safe Driver Program: This app uses TrueMotion technology to monitor distracted driving and other risky behaviors behind the wheel. The app scores each trip your teen drives and highlights areas that need improvement.
The app allows parents to monitor the results, their teen’s driving scores and location. After 3,000 miles or a year in the program, you will receive a 10% discount on your policy. Drivers must be 21 or younger.
Final thoughts: Car insurance for teen drivers
Adding a teenage driver to your car insurance policy will be expensive – there is no way around that. Ultimately, the best thing to do is comparison shop to find the best rates. Every insurer calculates their rates differently so by shopping around you may save hundreds of dollars, if not more. Within a few years, rates can decrease drastically if the teen driver keeps a clean record and qualifies for a good driver discount.
Resources & Methodology
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Teen Drivers: Get the Facts.” Accessed July 2022.
- Insurance Information Institute. “Students” Accessed July 2022.
CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to run auto insurance rates for a 2022 Honda Accord LX at several coverage levels for a driver with a clean driving record in all ZIP codes in each state.