Teens driving and having fun

For a 17-year-old driver, car insurance is nearly $5,925, on average, for a year of full coverage on their own policy. That’s more than $4,000 over the national average ($1,758) for drivers age 30.

Newly licensed drivers are expensive to insure. They are inexperienced, naturally, and have a high rate of accidents. Auto insurance companies view that as risky.

So, they charge new teen drivers much higher rates. But there are still ways to get car insurance for a 17-year-old driver and save while still ensuring you have sufficient coverage. Here we'll explain how.

Key Highlights
  • For a full coverage policy, a 17 year old teen driver pays about $486 a month for car insurance.
  • 17 years old female drivers pay $867 less than males their age that is $5,490 whereas 17 years old male drivers pay about $6,357 on average for car insurance.
  • Concord, Liberty Mutual, USAA, North Carolina Farm Bureau, Safeco, Geico and Erie had the cheapest car insurance for 17-year-olds among national carriers surveyed by CarInsurance.com.
  • The average annual car insurance rate for a 17 year old driver with their own policy is $2,214 for a state minimum and $5,924 for a full coverage policy.

What is the average cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old?

The average car insurance rate for a 17-year-old who has his or her own policy is $5,836 per year, on average, for full coverage.

Your rate will depend on where you live, the type of car you drive, and the coverage level, among other factors. To give you an idea of what to expect to pay for coverage, we provide average annual car insurance rates for 17-year-olds, by state and gender, in the charts below.

The rates for a separate teen policy are based on having the following coverage limits for a year 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

As the table below shows, adding a teen to a parents’ policy is much cheaper than buying separate coverage under the teen’s name. While there is a huge savings between adding a teen and the teen having his or own policy, the cost to add the teen is generally still significant.

To illustrate 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 17-year old teen to the policy.

Car insurance cost for a 17-year-old female

The average cost for insurance for a 17-year-old female is $5,490. 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 17 pay $867 less than males their age. Below you’ll see average insurance costs by state for a 17-year-old female and how that compares to the price of a parent policy with the child added.

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 17-year-old girl

State Teen Policy Rate Parents' Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
North Carolina$2,744$1,150$2,110
North Dakota$4,313$1,155$2,054
New Hampshire$5,594$1,159$2,632
New Jersey$5,405$1,595$3,527
New Mexico$6,318$1,387$2,832
New York$4,634$1,777$3,422
Rhode Island$8,552$1,939$4,497
South Carolina$5,198$1,653$3,302
South Dakota$4,941$1,226$2,092
West Virginia$4,956$1,351$2,560

Car insurance cost for a 17-year-old male

Males age 17 pay, on average, $6,357 for their own full coverage policy. That’s about $867 more than their female counterparts. You can compare rates for a 17-year-old male with his own policy to that of being added to his parents.

Car insurance for a 17-year-old male

State Teen Policy Rate Parents' Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
North Carolina$2,737$1,150$2,110
North Dakota$5,151$1,155$2,310
New Hampshire$6,467$1,159$2,942
New Jersey$6,075$1,595$3,915
New Mexico$7,282$1,387$3,146
New York$6,362$1,777$4,077
Rhode Island$10,077$1,939$5,226
South Carolina$6,214$1,653$3,666
South Dakota$5,945$1,226$2,434
West Virginia$5,909$1,351$2,927

How much does it cost to add a 17-year-old to car insurance?

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 17-year-old boy or girl to your coverage.

Driver age 17Cost to Add to Parent Policy Full CoverageCost to Add to Policy State Minimum

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 17-year-old teen to the policy.

Here's what happened:

  • The average household's car insurance bill rose by about 106% to add a 17-year-old.
  • A teenage boy was more expensive. The average bill rose 117%, compared with 95% for teenage girls.

How much you save by adding a 17-year-old to your insurance vs. a 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 17Teen Own Policy RateParent Policy with TeenSavings for Adding to Parent Policy Versus Teen Own Policy

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 quite a bit cheaper.

Insurers base premiums on several factors, including the experience and driving record of the policyholder. A 17-year-old won't have that, which means higher rates.

Tip iconExpert's Tip

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 17-year-old driver to your policy means a significant hike in your rates.

Cheapest car insurance for 17-year-olds

Below you’ll see how auto insurance companies rank in price for a 17-year-old driver buying his or her own full coverage policy. Concord, Liberty Mutual, USAA, North Carolina Farm Bureau, Safeco, Geico and Erie had the cheapest car insurance for 17-year-olds among national carriers surveyed by CarInsurance.com.

Company Full Coverage 100/300/100 $500 Comp/Coll
Liberty Mutual$2,191
North Carolina Farm Bureau$2,570
Texas Farm Bureau$3,003
Mississippi Farm Bureau$3,110
Owners Insurance$3,485
New Jersey Manufacturers$3,617
State Farm$3,919
New York Central$4,139
AAA Texas County$4,881
United Financial$5,539
Louisiana Farm Bureau$5,754
Safety Insurance$6,231
Oklahoma Farm Bureau$6,263
Kentucky Farm Bureau$6,320
Mid Century$8,066

Car insurance for 17-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.

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, as well as how that compares to the cost when added to a parent's policy.

Car Insurance for a 17-Year-Old Girl: state minimum coverage

State Teen Policy Rate Parents' Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
North Carolina$1,240$491$945
North Dakota$1,355$342$641
New Hampshire$2,473$497$1,160
New Jersey$2,424$791$1,672
New Mexico$2,242$443$1,002
New York$2,018$764$1,558
Rhode Island$3,560$745$1,894
South Carolina$1,790$491$1,093
South Dakota$1,262$279$545
West Virginia$1,860$538$1,016

Car Insurance for a 17-year-old boy: state minimum coverage

State Teen Policy Rate Parents' Policy Parents' Policy with Teen Added
North Carolina$1,240$491$945
North Dakota$1,544$342$696
New Hampshire$2,819$497$1,281
New Jersey$2,574$791$1,820
New Mexico$2,594$443$1,118
New York$2,638$764$1,747
Rhode Island$4,162$745$2,193
South Carolina$2,075$491$1,162
South Dakota$1,498$279$627
West Virginia$2,209$538$1,146

*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 up to 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.)

What is the average annual car insurance rate for a 17-year-old driver with own policy?

The average car insurance rate for a 17-year-old who has his or her own policy is $2,214 for a state minimum policy. A full coverage policy costs an average of $5,924 yearly.

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.

What are the rules for a 17-year-old driver?

Most states have laws that restrict where and when 17-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 very strict 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.

Teen driver safety

The reason why car insurance for a 17-year-old is so expensive is that newer drivers are more apt to get into accidents. Accidents lead to claims, which means costs to insurance companies.

Teen drivers get into fewer fatal accidents than when their parents were teens. Driving safety experts say a primary reason for this improvement is Graduated Driving License (GDL) laws.

States have varying levels of GDL laws. These include learner's permit, minimum hours of supervised driving and restrictions on passengers and hours a teen can drive. There are also bans on texting and using a cell phone.

When a driver turns 17, he or she will age out of some GDL laws. However, many states still restrict drivers until they're 18 and even 21.

For 17-year-old olds, restrictions include passenger and nighttime limits for unsupervised driving. GDL laws vary by state, so it's best to check your state's GDL laws.

Though teen driver statistics have improved since the 20th century, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that teen-involved fatal accidents are on the rise this decade. There were 2,082 teen-involved fatal accidents in 2016, which was an increase over 1,886 in 2015.

One common issue with teen drivers is distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said about 30 percent of teens say they've texted while driving. Plus, a teen's risk of an accident increases six-fold when dialing a phone number, the NHTSA said.

There are many other types of distracted driving, including fiddling with the radio, eating while driving and chatting with friends.

You might not be able to drive in the vehicle with your teen at all times, but there's a way to influence your child when you're not around. That's being a role model. Don't text while driving, don't get distracted while driving, follow the rules of the road and don't get sucked into road rage. Your child is watching you and will pick up on your habits.

Lead by example and your teen will have a better shot of driving safely

Adding a teen to parents' policy is usually more affordable

Parents frequently take the easier -- and less costly -- approach of putting a teen on their existing policy. It's usually cheaper than getting a separate policy because the cost of a policy takes into account the experience and driving record of the policyholder.

A 17-year-old doesn't have a proven track record on the highway, which means higher rates when an insurer crunches the numbers.

Beyond that, Gusner says a 17-year-old won't get the same car insurance discounts as a parent, including multi-vehicle, multi-policy and loyalty discounts. But even with those discounts, adding a 17-year-old driver to a policy still means a significant hike in rates.

Another benefit of sharing a policy is that the teen is covered if he borrows your car on occasion, and the parents are covered if they drive the teen's car.

Parents' guide: The best and cheapest way to insure teenage drivers

When it makes sense for a teen to have a separate policy?

There are times when it's better for your teenagers to get her own car insurance policy.

For instance, teens involved in accidents or ticketed for moving violations. They may be better off getting their own policy. That's because sharing a policy with their parents would raise rates on the family coverage.

If you're 17 and have a poor driving record, consider buying an older car -- they're cheaper to insure -- and getting a separate policy with only high liability protection.

Auto insurance discounts for 17-year-olds

Car insurance discounts are one way to keep down your costs. The good news is that teens are eligible for discounts.

Car insurance discounts for teens vary by state and company, but here are some of the more common ones:

  • Driver's ed: You may be able to get a 5 percent discount if your teenager completes a driver education course. Taking the class may be required, under state law, as a step toward getting a license.
  • Good student: A discount up to 15 percent may be available for drivers who maintain a 3.0 or "B" average in the classroom.
  • A driving contract between parents and teen: Insurers may give up to a 5 percent discount to teens who sign a contract with their parents specifying driving rules, such as limiting hours on the road and the numbers of passengers.

Shop around when adding a teen to your insurance

  • Adding a teen to your policy will increase the cost of your policy. There's no way around that.
  • If you're a teen buying a policy, you will face much higher rates than your parents.
  • The best way to combat this is to shop around. Compare car insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies.
  • Each insurer uses its own method for calculating what you pay, so prices for the same policy can vary significantly.
  • "The teen's policy premium could be lower from one insurer to another," Gusner says.
  • You can take a little financial solace in knowing that the high cost of insuring a young driver fades over time. Average car insurance rates by age show that premiums begin to significantly decrease when drivers turn 26.

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

Car insurance for teens is more than any other age group. However, going accident-free and avoiding traffic tickets, a teen will see his or her car insurance rates decline each year.

Other ways to save on teen car insurance

Clean driving record

Set the bar high and require that your teen driver maintain a clean driving record. Insurance companies already see teens as inexperienced, high-risk drivers and traffic violations or accidents will only further increase rates.

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 keep your teen safe and eventually enjoy lower car insurance rates.

Think it through before 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 insuring 17-year-old drivers

Gusner says that a 17-year-old can own a car and insure it in most states -- but only if a parent or legal guardian co-signs for both the vehicle's title and insurance coverages.

"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.

Liability protection is the first step when you insure a 17-year-old.

Gusner says it may be a mistake to think state-mandated minimum coverage is enough. State minimums are usually not enough. Medical bills and costs tied to property damage can start high and quickly go higher, depending on the injuries to those involved.

You don't want to be liable for out-of-pocket payments, so make sure your basic liability coverage protects your assets. Besides raising your liability amount, Gusner suggests purchasing an umbrella policy, which raises liability protection after reaching those basic limits. An umbrella with $1 million or more of protection may be reasonable.

If you're financing your vehicle, comprehensive insurance and collision coverage are required. If you own your car outright, you can opt-out if you want, but that means you're not covered for theft, damage to your vehicle from an accident or from hail, fire, floods and vandalism.

The cost for comprehensive and collision insurance, on average, per year is $436, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The average yearly rate for comprehensive is $139, and collision costs $297.

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 companies base rates on risk. They consider 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.

Teen drivers are safer than young adults from two decades ago. 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 17-19 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.

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 that 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 17-year-old daughter on your policy is about $1,800, but that’s just $150 a month for peace of mind. For a 17-year-old son, the cost to buy full coverage with him on your policy instead of state minimum is $1,966, or $164 a month.

Most states require that you have at least minimum liability insurance to drive. Liability insurance is what covers damages a driver may cause to people or property in an accident.

This also applies to a 17-year-old, who must show that its owner's policy currently covers the vehicle.

Safety, of course, is the top priority for all drivers. Besides protecting your teen, your insurance company may show its appreciation for buying a safer car by trimming your rate.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offers some basics when looking for a vehicle:

  • Big horsepower is not a good idea. "Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt (young drivers) to test the limits," says the IIHS.
  • Try to get Electronic Stability Control (ESC). The IIHS says this feature, which helps maintain control on curves and slippery roads, is about as good at reducing risks as safety belts.
  • Always consider cars with top safety reviews from the IIHS and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

CarInsurance.com is another valuable resource. It provides guidance, including a rundown of the top cars for teens under $15,000 with high safety ratings.

Summary: car insurance for a 17-year-old

Being the parent of a teen driver is stressful and expensive. It may be tempting to get them their own policy to teach them independence, but adding your teen to your auto insurance policy is a great way to save money.

Make sure you are leading by example. In other words, don't text and drive and then tell them it's unsafe for them to do the same thing. Provie 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.