If you are a 17-year-old driver or the parent of one, you’re probably already aware of the high costs associated with insuring a teenage driver. Even when covered under a parent’s policy, insurance at this age is expensive due to the higher incidences of accidents and claims for teens. 

But that prompts several questions: Can a 17-year-old get car insurance in their name? How old do you have to be to get car insurance? And, in general, can a minor get car insurance?

Take the time to understand the requirements involved with auto insurance and minors, when and why a parent may have to co-sign an insurance policy, the insurance rules around emancipated minors and more.

Key Highlights
  • A 17-year-old can get their own car insurance policy, but an adult is usually required to co-sign or the teen must be an emancipated minor.
  • Adding a teen driver (16 to 19 years old) to a parent or guardian’s policy can increase the premium by $3,726 per year, on average.
  • 17-year-olds or their parents may qualify for various car insurance discounts, including savings for good grades, safe driving, telematics monitoring and paying up front.

Can a 17-year-old get their own car insurance policy?

While every state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has its own rules and restrictions, in general, a 17-year-old can obtain their own car insurance policy separate from their parents’ policy.

“Can a 17-year-old get car insurance? Yes, in most states, a 17-year-old can get their own policy, but they need an adult co-signer on the policy until they reach age 18,” says personal finance expert Andrew Lokenauth, owner of TheFinanceNewsletter.com.

Co-signing is required because minors – drivers under age 18 – typically aren’t legally allowed to sign a contract. A co-signer is needed because an insurance policy is a legally binding contract.

“When a parent or guardian co-signs an insurance policy, they are effectively vouching for the minor and assuming financial responsibility. It’s not unlike co-signing a loan. The insurer needs the reassurance of a financially established adult whose credit history and driving record become intertwined with the policy’s fate,” explains Dennis Shirshikov, adjunct professor of economics at City University of New York.

When co-signing is required, that adult must shoulder the costs associated with premiums, deductibles, and claims if the adolescent cannot or won’t pay.

“The co-signer is taking a risk here, as there is the potential for financial consequences and negative impact to their credit. But the co-signer can make changes to the policy or even cancel the policy if the need arises,” says Marlon Moss, an insurance agent with A Plus Insurance.

Read expert recommendations on how old you must be to buy car insurance

How much does car insurance cost for a 17-year-old?

The average annual rate for 17-year-olds on their own policies is $5,524 for a full coverage policy.

“Insurance premiums for 17-year-olds can be steep, reflecting the heightened risk insurers associated with youthful inexperience,” Shirshikov adds. “Striking out alone, a 17-year-old could pay significantly more for their own policy.”

In Moss’ experience, a 17-year-old would likely pay, on average, between $300 to $450 per month, or $3,600 to $5,400 yearly, if they had their own policy. Car

See the table below for annual rates for full coverage for 17-year-old drivers on their own policies in each state.

State 17-year-old  Female 17-year-old  Male
Washington D.C.$5,932$7,568
North Carolina$3,077$3,077
North Dakota$4,281$5,036
New Hampshire$4,504$5,182
New Jersey$6,869$7,878
New Mexico$4,547$5,046
New York$5,691$6,888
Rhode Island$6,705$8,235
South Carolina$5,729$6,343
South Dakota$4,589$5,403
West Virginia$5,000$5,843

Check out our detailed guide: How much is car insurance for a 17-year-old

Can a 17-year-old title and register their car?

In most states, individuals must be at least 18 to register their name as the owner on a vehicle title. Put another way, a vehicle must be titled in the teen’s name to be allowed to register it in their name. 

If a driver is younger than 18, they are commonly required to place the car’s title in the name of an adult, with the adult listing the teenager as the main driver. But after the teen reaches legal maturity in their state, typically age 18, they can officially transfer the car title into their own name.

But if the 17-year-old is an emancipated minor, they should be legally allowed to have a car title transferred to them in their name, according to Moss.

Remember, even if your state allows the transferring of a car title to a 17-year-old in their name, that vehicle must be legally insured on a parent or guardian’s policy or on the 17-year-old’s own policy that a parent or guardian co-signs.

For specific details on requirements, it’s best to contact your state’s DMV.

Texas registration requirements for 17-year-olds

In Texas, there are no particular age restrictions for individuals seeking to be listed on the title and registration as the owner of a vehicle. Still, car dealers tend to avoid selling to those younger than 18 due to potential legal complications. 

Similar to adults, minors must also provide evidence of vehicle ownership and fulfill the minimum state-mandated liability insurance requirements. Additionally, insurance carriers may impose their own age restrictions on insured drivers.

North Carolina registration requirements for 17-year-olds

North Carolina, like Texas, lacks a specified minimum age requirement for vehicle title and registration. A minor can have a car titled in their name as long as they can sign their name on the title application. 

Nevertheless, obtaining a license plate necessitates proof of liability insurance on the vehicle, and insurance providers seldom issue policies directly to minors. Therefore, in most cases, individuals younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian co-sign their insurance contract.

Ohio car registration requirements for 17-year-olds

For individuals younger than 18 in Ohio who want a vehicle titled in their name, a minor consent form must be filled out by a parent or legal guardian. That parent or guardian must accompany the minor when they appear in front of the Clerk of Courts title office to have a vehicle titled in a minor’s name.

Read about the difference between title and registration

Learn more about car insurance for 17-year-olds

When in doubt about auto insurance for 17-year-old drivers, it’s best to consult directly with insurance company representatives and your local DMV. Ask questions about anything you’re not sure of. These include if those aged 17 can get their own car insurance policy and a car title in their own name in your state. If they say no, find out what minimum age is required.

Additionally, whether the teen is on your policy or their own, it pays to shop around for car insurance covering a 17-year-old. Try to get at least a handful of quotes from different carriers and compare premiums, deductibles, and available discounts carefully. 

How do you save on car insurance for 17-year-old drivers?

A 17-year-old could qualify for several discounts on auto insurance, including good student discounts, driving a safe vehicle, opting for a telematics program and more.

“Many carriers offer a variety of discounts to alleviate the high expenses associated with coverage for 17-year-old drivers,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute. “Among the most common discounts from both national and regional insurers are the good student discount, requiring the maintenance of a ‘B’ average or higher in high school, and the completion of a certified driver education course before obtaining a driver’s license.”

Here are a few discounts to discuss with your insurer:

  • Good student discount
  • Safe driver course. A safe driver discount is a reduction in insurance premiums extended to drivers with no at-fault accidents or traffic violations within a specific period. Consequently, a first-time teen driver might not qualify for this discount.
  • Low mileage discount. The more time a teen spends behind the wheel, the higher the likelihood of being involved in an auto accident or receiving a traffic violation. Therefore, adolescents driving fewer than 7,000 miles per year or less than 10 miles on weekdays may be eligible for a low mileage discount.
  • Telematics. Friedlander says that certain carriers may discount policyholders with teens who agree to usage-based telematics programs, which allow insurers to monitor driving habits through a mobile app or an installed device in the vehicle.
  • Choose a higher deductible. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.
  • Drive a car that’s cheap to insure. That typically means a used smaller vehicle and a make/model not commonly associated with tickets, moving violations, theft and accidents.
  • Remain on your parent’s policy
  • Shop around for coverage. Friedlander advises getting car insurance quotes from at least three different insurers and comparing policy terms carefully.

17-year-old emancipated minors can buy, register and insure cars

Another path to getting a separate policy for a 17-year-old is if the teenager is an emancipated minor.

“An emancipated minor is an adolescent who is legally free from control by their parents or guardians and can prove financial independence,” attorney Min Hwan Ahn says. “They are allowed to purchase, register, and insure their own vehicles, although the process varies widely depending on specific state laws.”

However, emancipated youth must still follow the same path to obtaining a driver’s license and will likely pay higher costs for insurance than if they had remained on their parent or guardian’s policy, Moss says.

“If the teenager is in a healthy relationship with his or her parents or guardian, it’s best to get on their insurance policy, which can save serious dollars,” Moss says.

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CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant to pull rates in 2023, which reflect a full coverage policy for a 17-year-old driver with 100/300/100 in personal liability coverage and $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive insurance.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

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Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

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Contributing Researcher

Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including Martinspiration.com and Cineversegroup.com.