Start the process when he or she has a learner's permit.

New driverThe average car insurance rate for a 16-year-old on their own policy is close to $7,000 a year for full coverage. That rate is more than $5,000 over the national average for 30-year-old drivers.

Newly licensed drivers are expensive to insure. They are inexperienced and have a higher rate of accidents than other age groups. Auto insurance companies view 16-year-old drivers as high risk to insure and, consequently, charge them much higher rates.

It is safe to say that car insurance for your new driver will not be cheap. But there are still some smart ways to save while still ensuring you have sufficient coverage. We'll explain how

Car insurance for teens: average cost

The average car insurance rate for a 16-year-old who has his or her own policy is as follows per year:

  • State minimum coverage: $2,593
  • Liability limits of 50/100/50: $2,957
  • Full coverage: $6,930

What you pay to insure your teen driver will vary, depending on your insurer, whether or not the teen is added to your policy, the state you live in, the type of car they drive and coverage limits, among other factors.

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 2017 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 2017 Honda Accord driven by a 45-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 don't qualify for many discounts. Also, teens are commonly listed as a secondary driver on parents' policies. Though adding a teen to parent policy is cheaper than the teen having his or her own separate policy, the cost of adding a teen driver can be hundreds of dollars.

Car insurance cost for a 16-year-old female

The average cost for insurance for a 16-year-old female is $6,562. That’s for a policy of her own that includes comprehensive and collision coverage, with liability limits of 100/300/100. Teen female drivers age 16 pay $920 less than males their age. Below you’ll see average insurance costs by state for a 16-year-old female, and how that compares to the price of a parent policy with the child added on. 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.

State Teen Policy Parent Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
Alaska$5,447$1,318$3,348
Alabama$6,909$1,479$3,050
Arkansas$7,273$1,550$3,192
Arizona$6,306$1,533$3,356
California$6,913$2,018$4,175
Colorado$7,590$1,733$3,258
Connecticut$9,917$1,914$4,933
DC$7,770$1,690$3,310
Delaware$7,875$1,736$3,190
Florida$8,202$2,502$4,855
Georgia$7,528$1,638$3,523
Hawaii$1,547$1,287$1,364
Iowa$4,337$1,054$2,245
Idaho$5,389$1,105$2,246
Illinois$5,530$1,208$2,631
Indiana$5,727$1,237$2,534
Kansas$5,873$1,408$2,590
Kentucky$9,528$1,682$3,459
Louisiana$10,893$2,547$5,484
Massachusetts$5,443$1,469$3,445
Maryland$6,283$1,615$2,986
Maine$4,297$879$1,794
Michigan$14,533$2,900$5,846
Minnesota$5,099$1,233$2,540
Missouri$6,328$1,350$2,623
Mississippi$6,851$1,400$2,743
Montana$6,452$1,530$2,235
North Carolina$3,471$1,150$2,738
North Dakota$5,467$1,155$2,126
Nebraska$5,268$1,230$2,011
New Hampshire$6,563$1,159$2,702
New Jersey$6,474$1,595$3,990
New Mexico$7,325$1,387$2,976
Nevada$8,908$1,905$4,353
New York$5,089$1,777$3,476
Ohio$5,039$997$1,896
Oklahoma$7,482$1,812$3,709
Oregon$7,486$1,504$3,413
Pennsylvania$5,795$1,503$3,234
Rhode Island$10,023$1,939$4,603
South Carolina$6,188$1,653$3,395
South Dakota$6,182$1,226$2,140
Tennessee$7,998$1,214$2,973
Texas$6,791$1,618$3,537
Utah$6,323$1,267$2,556
Virginia$4,276$929$2,119
Vermont$4,472$1,004$2,386
Washington$5,872$1,269$2,663
Wisconsin$6,128$1,148$2,373
West Virginia$5,603$1,351$2,649
Wyoming$4,604$1,384$2,421

Car insurance cost for a 16-year-old male

Males age 16 pay, on average, $7,483 for their own full coverage policy. That’s about $920 more than their female counterparts. You can compare rates for a male 16-year-old with his own policy to that of being added to his parents.

State Teen Policy Parent Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
Alaska$6,531$1,318$3,710
Alabama$7,654$1,479$3,252
Arkansas$8,237$1,550$3,361
Arizona$7,376$1,533$3,862
California$8,398$2,018$4,933
Colorado$8,288$1,733$3,485
Connecticut$11,471$1,914$5,611
DC$9,383$1,690$3,816
Delaware$9,165$1,736$3,570
Florida$9,456$2,502$5,452
Georgia$8,861$1,638$4,045
Hawaii$1,547$1,287$1,364
Iowa$4,957$1,054$2,490
Idaho$6,304$1,105$2,550
Illinois$6,427$1,208$2,935
Indiana$6,801$1,237$2,811
Kansas$6,661$1,408$2,830
Kentucky$10,711$1,682$3,775
Louisiana$12,702$2,547$6,044
Massachusetts$5,443$1,469$3,445
Maryland$7,499$1,615$3,376
Maine$4,990$879$2,320
Michigan$14,691$2,900$5,919
Minnesota$6,329$1,233$2,821
Missouri$7,292$1,350$2,961
Mississippi$7,317$1,400$2,946
Montana$6,383$1,530$2,235
North Carolina$3,452$1,150$2,738
North Dakota$6,519$1,155$2,417
Nebraska$5,979$1,230$2,315
New Hampshire$7,536$1,159$3,011
New Jersey$7,269$1,595$4,371
New Mexico$8,305$1,387$3,290
Nevada$9,996$1,905$4,903
New York$6,522$1,777$4,107
Ohio$5,743$997$2,104
Oklahoma$8,617$1,812$4,388
Oregon$8,052$1,504$3,715
Pennsylvania$5,715$1,503$3,234
Rhode Island$11,774$1,939$5,388
South Carolina$6,886$1,653$3,768
South Dakota$7,323$1,226$2,478
Tennessee$9,068$1,214$3,287
Texas$7,965$1,618$3,968
Utah$7,102$1,267$2,855
Virginia$5,154$929$2,378
Vermont$5,423$1,004$2,712
Washington$6,501$1,269$2,840
Wisconsin$7,278$1,148$2,723
West Virginia$6,544$1,351$3,030
Wyoming$6,049$1,384$2,902

How much does it cost to add a 16-year-old to car insurance?

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 much cheaper than getting their teen a separate policy.

Insurers base premiums on several factors, including the experience and driving record of the policyholder. A 16-year-old won't have that, which means higher rates.

As Gusner points out, the teen won't be eligible for rate reductions the parent may qualify for, including multi-vehicle, multi-policy and loyalty discounts. Still, adding a 16-year-old driver to your policy means a significant hike in your rates.

Every situation is different, but to get 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 2017 Honda Accord driven by a 45-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 118 percent to add a 16-year-old teen.
  • A teenage boy was more expensive. The average bill rose 129 percent, compared with 107 percent for teenage girls. 

Though adding a teen to a parent policy is cheaper than the teen having his or her own separate policy, the cost of adding a teen driver can still be high. Below are the average annual costs to add a 16-year-old boy or girl to your coverage.

Driver Age 16Cost to Add to Parent Policy Full CoverageCost to Add to Policy State Minimum
Female$1,593$651
Male$1,934$769

Every situation is different, but to get 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 2017 Honda Accord driven by a 45-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 by about 118% to add a 16-year-old teen.

A teenage male was more expensive. The average bill rose 129%, compared with 107% for teenage females.

How much you save by adding a 16-year-old to your insurance vs. teen’s own policy

You’ll see in the chart below how much it costs to add a teen driver to a parent policy and how much you save doing so:

Driver Age 16Teen Own Policy RateParent Policy with TeenSavings for Adding to Parent Policy Versus Teen Own Policy
Female$6,562$3,086$3,476
Male$7,483$3,428$4,055

Insurers base premiums on several factors, including the experience and driving record of the policyholder. A 16-year-old won't have that, which means higher rates.

Also, as CarInsurance.com Senior Consumer Analyst Penny Gusner points out, the teen won't be eligible for rate reductions the parent may qualify for, including multi-vehicle, multi-policy and loyalty discounts. Still, adding a 16-year-old driver to your policy means a significant hike in your rates.

Cheapest car insurance for 16-year-olds

Below you’ll see how major carriers compare on rates when you add a teen driver age 16 to your coverage.  For this scenario, Progressive, United, Farmers and Geico were the cheapest among insurance companies we surveyed for adding a female. Progressive, Farmers and Geico were cheapest for adding 16-year-old male motorists.

Parent policy with female, age 16

CompanyParent Policy with Female, Age 16 Added
Progressive$989
United Financial$1,204
Farmers$1,932
Geico$2,089
21st Century Centennial$2,209
Allied$2,306
Nationwide$2,383
Mountain Laurel$2,431
Mid-Century Ins Co$2,909
State Farm$3,022
21st Century Centennial$4,268

Parent policy with male, age 16

CompanyParent Policy with Male, Age 16 Added
Progressive$1,430
Farmers$1,944
Geico$2,282
Nationwide$2,383
21st Century Centennial$2,450
Mountain Laurel$2,749
Allied$2,754
Mid-Century$3,066
State Farm$3,758
Allstate$5,005
Victoria$6,174

What’s the average annual car insurance rates for a 16-year-old driver with own policy?

If your teen is buying her or his own policy, Concord, Liberty Mutual, Geico and Erie came in with the lowest female rates for full coverage. But you can also sort the columns for state minimum and mid-level liability policies in the table below.

Teen girl, age 16

Company State Minimum Liability Only - 50/100/50 Full Coverage 100/300/100
Concord$788$831$2,003
Liberty Mutual$561$660$2,191
Geico$1,026$1,174$2,570
Erie$775$908$2,685
Texas Farm Bureau$872$964$2,734
Owners Insurance$924$1,046$2,866
USAA$1,156$1,569$2,956
MMG$1,168$1,184$3,353
Mississippi Farm Bureau$1,276$1,425$3,426
New Jersey Manufacturers$1,381$1,668$3,439
North Carolina Farm Bureau$1,185$1,308$3,443
State Farm$1,449$1,671$3,882
New York Central$1,858$2,084$4,053
Nationwide$2,036$2,170$4,090
Depositors$1,836$1,897$4,451
Safeco$4,378$3,818$4,704
Allied$3,243$3,729$4,809
Progressive Southeastern Ins Co$1,640$1,795$4,858
Louisiana Farm Bureau$1,669$2,152$4,909
Colonial$2,278$2,387$4,941
United Financial$1,379$1,927$5,020
Arbella$1,680$2,130$5,184
Travelers$2,616$2,958$5,270
Oklahoma Farm Bureau$1,488$1,580$5,296
Safety Insurance$1,839$2,266$5,438
Kentucky Farm Bureau$1,354$1,505$5,678
Allstate$2,357$2,633$6,162
Amco$3,000$3,499$6,383
Farmers$3,674$3,910$6,676
Safeway$3,924$4,167$6,761
AAA Texas County$3,048$3,315$7,777
Mid Century$4,438$4,823$7,990
Metropolitan$2,101$2,208$8,115

 

Boy, age 16

For male drivers, age 16 on their own, Concord, Liberty Mutual, Geico, USAA and Erie are among the national carriers with the cheapest car insurance rates.

Company State Minimum 2 - Liability Only - 50/100/50 Full Coverage - 100/300/100
Concord$864$912$2,188
Liberty Mutual$561$660$2,191
Geico$985$1,131$2,561
Texas Farm Bureau$1,010$1,116$3,272
USAA$1,218$1,666$3,343
North Carolina Farm Bureau$1,185$1,308$3,443
Mississippi Farm Bureau$1,253$1,400$3,459
Erie$1,188$1,365$3,518
New Jersey Manufacturers$1,408$1,715$3,768
MMG$1,464$1,485$4,050
Owners$1,369$1,550$4,229
State Farm$1,782$2,058$4,773
New York Central Mutual$2,167$2,446$4,793
Progressive$1,640$1,795$4,858
Safeco$4,968$4,311$5,126
Arbella$1,680$2,130$5,184
Nationwide$3,016$2,937$5,244
Depositors Insurance$2,170$2,257$5,411
Safety Insurance$1,839$2,266$5,438
Allied$3,504$4,138$5,721
United Financial$1,551$2,176$6,057
Colonial$2,954$3,099$6,379
Louisiana Farm Bureau$2,276$2,936$6,599
Travelers$3,508$3,982$6,769
Kentucky Farm Bureau$1,636$1,818$6,962
Allstate$3,185$3,715$6,973
Farmers$3,672$4,085$7,255
Amco$3,444$4,018$7,707
Safeway Insurance$4,651$4,940$8,281
Oklahoma Farm Bureau$2,463$2,614$8,291
Mid Century$4,640$5,030$8,481
AAA Texas County$3,352$3,646$8,701
Metropolitan$2,205$2,321$9,322

 

Car insurance for 16-year old: state minimum coverage

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. 

In the charts below, you’ll see how much minimum coverage costs, on average, per year in each state, for a teen buying his or her own policy.

Car insurance for a 16-year-old girl : state minimum coverage

State Teen Policy Rate Parents' Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
Alaska$1,647$353$1,060
Alabama$2,498$465$1,077
Arkansas$2,549$483$1,119
Arizona$2,227$489$1,194
California$1,961$557$1,148
Colorado$2,658$529$1,058
Connecticut$4,719$866$2,290
DC$3,358$676$1,373
Delaware$3,415$830$1,551
Florida$3,314$1,030$1,986
Georgia$2,661$578$1,404
Hawaii$515$420$440
Iowa$1,470$329$790
Idaho$2,018$389$873
Illinois$2,308$460$1,111
Indiana$2,180$442$958
Kansas$2,090$441$930
Kentucky$3,326$489$1,204
Louisiana$3,536$729$1,853
Massachusetts$2,122$556$1,370
Maryland$2,920$772$1,436
Maine$1,722$351$756
Michigan$6,595$1,557$2,798
Minnesota$2,472$555$1,177
Missouri$2,273$428$945
Mississippi$2,580$417$981
Montana$2,022$367$628
North Carolina$1,640$491$1,257
North Dakota$1,714$342$668
Nebraska$1,892$390$706
New Hampshire$2,779$497$1,185
New Jersey$2,810$791$1,868
New Mexico$2,589$443$1,058
Nevada$3,113$544$1,471
New York$2,256$764$1,594
Ohio$1,959$382$737
Oklahoma$2,460$462$1,133
Oregon$3,965$785$1,887
Pennsylvania$1,976$479$1,059
Rhode Island$3,997$745$1,931
South Carolina$2,043$491$1,138
South Dakota$1,573$279$562
Tennessee$2,983$436$1,156
Texas$2,407$563$1,360
Utah$2,696$518$1,099
Virginia$1,569$355$821
Vermont$1,441$325$782
Washington$2,384$448$1,102
Wisconsin$2,144$378$816
West Virginia$2,127$538$1,051
Wyoming$1,263$320$587

Car insurance for a 16-year-old boy : state minimum coverage

State Teen Policy Rate Parents' Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
Alaska$1,893$353$1,161
Alabama$2,726$465$1,148
Arkansas$2,864$483$1,174
Arizona$2,605$489$1,381
California$2,330$557$1,349
Colorado$2,897$529$1,153
Connecticut$5,412$866$2,587
DC$3,917$676$1,571
Delaware$3,892$830$1,734
Florida$3,655$1,030$2,128
Georgia$2,984$578$1,603
Hawaii$515$420$440
Iowa$1,641$329$869
Idaho$2,297$389$970
Illinois$2,589$460$1,229
Indiana$2,579$442$1,057
Kansas$2,259$441$1,003
Kentucky$3,713$489$1,326
Louisiana$4,112$729$2,063
Massachusetts$2,122$556$1,370
Maryland$3,397$772$1,602
Maine$1,934$351$961
Michigan$6,577$1,557$2,801
Minnesota$2,790$555$1,253
Missouri$2,558$428$1,056
Mississippi$2,716$417$1,057
Montana$2,005$367$628
North Carolina$1,633$491$1,257
North Dakota$1,924$342$734
Nebraska$2,112$390$807
New Hampshire$3,157$497$1,306
New Jersey$2,968$791$2,008
New Mexico$2,903$443$1,172
Nevada$3,484$544$1,682
New York$2,722$764$1,767
Ohio$2,228$382$816
Oklahoma$2,795$462$1,364
Oregon$4,157$785$2,018
Pennsylvania$1,955$479$1,059
Rhode Island$4,668$745$2,257
South Carolina$2,270$491$1,210
South Dakota$1,784$279$641
Tennessee$3,373$436$1,287
Texas$2,797$563$1,481
Utah$2,990$518$1,228
Virginia$1,858$355$904
Vermont$1,671$325$865
Washington$2,630$448$1,204
Wisconsin$2,469$378$909
West Virginia$2,424$538$1,185
Wyoming$1,561$320$675

*CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to run auto insurance rates for a 2017 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.)

Average cost of car insurance for 16-year-old

The average car insurance rate for a 16-year-old who has his or her own policy is as follows per year:

  • State minimum coverage: $2,631
  • Liability limits of 50/100/50: $2, 957
  • Full coverage: $7,023

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, among other factors.

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: Completing 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.

Shopping around can offset the costs of adding a teen

Adding a teen to your auto insurance policy will make your premiums skyrocket. Your teen might be the best driver around, but until he or she proves that with years of accident-free driving, you can expect to pay more for insurance.

However, there are ways to lessen the pain. One key is to shop around to find the best auto insurance rates.

There's a bit of good news. If your teen drives accident-free, you can expect your insurance premiums will decrease over the years. Rates will likely fall as the teen gains more experience. Average car insurance rates decline when drivers hit age 26 significantly.

Check out the other teen driver pages on CarInsurance.com:

Other ways to save on car insurance for your teen

Good-student discount

Regardless of your age, you can trim costs by qualifying for car insurance discounts that match your driver profile.

For younger drivers, a good student discount can save 18%, on average, though it can be much higher, up to 23%.

Clean driving record

One of the most impactful ways to lower car insurance costs for your teen is to require that they maintain a clean driving record. Insurance companies already see teens as inexperienced, high-risk drivers and traffic violations or accidents will not help to change that perspective.

Whether it is speeding, an accident, reckless driving or even distracted driving, you will see an increase in insurance rates. This is a great time to teach your teen the responsibilities of safe driving so you can eventually enjoy lower car insurance rates and most importantly, keep your teen safe. 

Give second thought to filing a claim

If your teen is in a minor at-fault accident, it is important to assess the situation before filing a claim. Find out how much your insurance will increase if you file a claim for an at-fault accident. If the amount you’d pay out in deductible and the amount of the rate increase exceed the cost of the repair, it will be cheaper to avoid filing the claim.

Recommendations and FAQs for “Sweet 16” drivers

Why are teen car insurance rates higher?

Car insurance companies base rates on risk. They take into account a person's driving experience, claims history, location, type of vehicle and other factors.

A driver with a risky (or a limited) driving record will pay more than a motorist who hasn't filed a claim in a decade.

There are fewer teen driver-related fatalities now than in the 1990s. That's especially true for younger teen drivers.

However, car crashes are still the number one killer of U.S. teens. They are also more likely to get into accidents than any other age group. In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16 to 19-year-olds is nearly three times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute.

Does a 16-year-old have to have full coverage?

There is no law requiring teen drivers to have full coverage. However, if the car being driven is leased or financed, the lender will mandate that you have full coverage, including comprehensive and collision insurance.

To drive legally, you only need state required liability insurance, which pays for damage and injuries of others in accidents you cause. It doesn’t cover your own car. However, because teens are inexperienced, and as a demographic, have more accidents than experienced drivers, it’s wise to have full coverage on the car your teen drives.

Insurance applies to the car, not the driver. That means the coverage on the car the teen is driving will apply to accidents and damage caused by the teen.

Gusner recommends a full coverage policy of the following:

  • $100,000 for injury liability for one person, to pay for medical bills for those injured in an accident you cause
  • $300,000 for all injuries in one accident that’s your fault
  • $100,000 for property damage you cause, for instance, to repair a car you hit
  • Collision insurance, to pay for damage to your car regardless of fault in an accident
  • Comprehensive, to pay for damage to your car from hail, flooding, fire, vandalism, animal strikes, and to replace it if stolen

It really is worth the extra money to be fully protected during the time your teen is driving your car. Otherwise, you can be on the hook to pay out of your own pocket for even minor accidents that can exceed a bare-bones policy. The cost to jump from state minimum to full coverage with a 16-year-old daughter on your policy is about $1,900, but that’s just $158 a month for peace of mind. For a 16-year-old son, the cost to buy full coverage instead of state minimum is $2,178, or $182 a month.

So, when do you add a teen to your policy? Start the process when he or she has a learner's permit.

"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 adds that the only time it might be wise to get teens a separate policy is when they've had moving violations or 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.

What are the rules for a 16-year-old driver?

Most states have laws that restrict where and when 16-year-olds can drive. These stipulations are usually called Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws and apply just to drivers under age 18. GDL laws vary by state, with some states having stringent GLD laws and others having very lenient ones. Over time, you “graduate” from a provisional or restricted license you get as a teen, to a standard license with no restrictions. GDL laws typically include provisions on the following:

  • Limiting drive time to day time hours
  • Requiring a passenger who is over a certain age to be in the car
  • Not allowing passengers under a certain age to be in the car
  • Banning the use of cellphones for both calls and texting
  • Limiting destinations to work and school

For more details on GDL laws and why they are important, read our guide on the most and least dangerous states for teen drivers.

Can a 16-year-old have a car in their name and insure it?

Gusner 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 the title to a vehicle.

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

A novice driver needs insurance 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, Gusner says.

Do you need insurance to get a license?

If you're driving, most states require you to have minimum liability insurance. But a 16-year-old hoping to get his first license only has to show that his vehicle's owner already has coverage.

A teen driver faces driving restrictions before and after receiving a driver's license. States have varying levels of Graduated Driving License (GDL) laws.

Common GDL laws include:

  • Learners' permit
  • Minimum number of supervised driving
  • Limited unsupervised driving, such as at night
  • Cell phone/texting ban
  • Passenger restrictions

Some states have stronger GDL laws. For instance, New Jersey is the only state the requires a novice driver decal for drivers under 21 who don't have full-privilege licenses yet.

Safe-driving advocates, such as the Governor's Highway Safety Association, say strong GDL laws save lives.

What's the best insurance for teenage drivers?

When insuring your 16-year-old, Gusner says first focus on liability protection. That 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 an 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 increases liability protection after those basic limits are met. An umbrella with $1 million or more of protection may be a smart move.

Comprehensive and collision coverage is required if you finance your vehicle. However, you decide whether to have those optional protections if the car is already paid off. 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.

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) 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, which are models under $15,000 with good safety ratings.

Final thoughts on car insurance for a 16-year-old

Being the parent of a teen driver is stressful and expensive. Adding your teen to your auto insurance policy is a great way to save money, even if it is tempting to get them their own policy.

Make sure you are providing exemplary driving behavior, assure that your children are following GDL laws and shop for car insurance at each renewal to make sure you’re getting the best deal. These things will ensure your teen understands how to drive safely and will result in you paying the least amount possible for their car insurance.

Read More :