A 17-year-old can get car insurance in most states, but as a minor, a parent or guardian must co-sign on the policy. Teen drivers are high-risk drivers because they’re inexperienced and at a high risk of motor vehicle accidents.
“In 2019, almost 2,400 teens in the United States aged 13-19 were killed, and about 258,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes,” the CDC says. “In addition, motor vehicle crash deaths among teens 15-19 years of age resulted in about $4.8 billion in medical and work loss costs for crashes that occurred in 2018.”
- The age of majority in most states is 18, except for Nebraska and Alabama, where it’s 19.
- Contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles is the best way to understand your state’s requirements.
- If your state allows 17-year-olds to own and register cars in their names, the teens’ parents must check with their insurance carrier to see whether they can be covered.
- Emancipated minors can buy, register and insure a vehicle in their names.
- Can a 17-year-old get their own car insurance policy?
- What is the average cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old?
- Can you transfer a car title to a 17-year-old?
- Can a 17-year-old register a car in their name?
- How do you save on car insurance for 17-year-old drivers?
- 17-year-old emancipated minors can buy, register and insure cars
- Resources & Methodology
Can a 17-year-old get their own car insurance policy?
To legally sign an auto insurance policy or another legally-binding contract, a person must be of the age of majority, and a teen who is 17 years old does not meet that requirement.
The age of majority is when a child legally becomes an adult in each state. Once a person reaches the age of majority, they can consent to medical treatment, sign a contract and join the military.
The age of majority varies by state, but in all states, it is at least 18. There are a couple of states where it is even higher – Alabama and Nebraska put their age of majority at 19.
So, in most states, a teen cannot buy or insure a car independently because minors can’t own property in most states or sign contracts, so a parent would own that property until the child becomes an adult.
Read expert recommendations on how old you must be to buy car insurance
What is the average cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old?
For a 17-year-old driver, car insurance costs about $6,272 for a year of full coverage on their own policy, which is $4,500 above the national average of $1,682 for 40-year-old drivers.
Check out our detailed guide: How much is car insurance for a 17-year-old?
Can you transfer a car title to a 17-year-old?
As with other car ownership issues, it varies depending on the state you call home. State laws vary regarding at what age someone can title a car independently. The best way to determine the requirements in your state is to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Following are a few state examples of various legal differences:
Texas registration requirements for 17-year-olds
The Lone Star state doesn’t have an age restriction for drivers wanting to be recorded on the title and registration as the vehicle owner so that you can title a car in a teen’s name.
However, Texas requires proof of financial responsibility (liability insurance) to register a vehicle. In most cases, a 17-year-old cannot purchase a policy without the help of a parent or guardian.
North Carolina registration requirements for 17-year-olds
North Carolina doesn’t have a minimum age limit when it comes to ownership of a vehicle. A car can be titled in a minor’s name as long as the owner can sign their name on the application for the title.
While you can title a car in a minor’s name, a license plate cannot be issued without proof of liability insurance on the vehicle. Since most insurance companies won’t write policies for minors, the parent or guardian must sign the insurance documents (contract).
Ohio car registration requirements for 17-year-olds
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) allows teens to title a car, but a parent or guardian must sign a form. If a driver younger than 18 wants to title a vehicle. In that case, their parent or legal guardian must complete a minor consent form and accompany the minor when they appear in front of the title office to have a vehicle titled in a minor’s name.
Can a 17-year-old register a car in their name?
If you’re under the legal driving age, it’s wise to register your car in an adult’s name and let the adult list you as a driver on that vehicle. But if your state allows a teenager to own and register a car in their name, the parent will need to see whether they can place the teen’s vehicle on their policy. Your best bet is to contact insurance companies regarding their guidelines regarding a minor obtaining their own auto insurance policy.
The best way to determine if your state has any regulations regarding the minimum age to buy an auto insurance policy is to contact your state’s insurance regulator.
Read about the difference between title and registration
How do you save on car insurance for 17-year-old drivers?
If your state allows a teenager to own and register a car in their name, it will be up to the parent to see if they could place the teen’s vehicle on the parent’s policy. Technically, the parents do not have an insurable interest in the vehicle, so the insurance company may refuse to add the teen’s car to the parent’s policy.
If so, the vehicle’s auto insurance must be in the 17-year-old’s name. This can be difficult due to the age of majority issue as teens cannot legally enter into a contract. Hence, insurers are reluctant to write an insurance policy for an underaged driver.
Usually, the best advice is to contact insurance companies regarding their coverage requirements for minors obtaining their own policies. While some insurers may agree to put a policy in a teen’s name, most will require a parent or guardian to sign or co-sign the car insurance policy. But in most cases, the parent will be on the hook for the cost of premiums.
Whether the policy ends up in a teen’s or a parent’s name, prepare for a massive increase in your insurance bills.
Check out a guide for parents on the cheapest way to insure teenage drivers
17-year-old emancipated minors can buy, register and insure cars
There is an exception to this rule: Emancipated minors can buy, register and insure vehicles independently. Emancipation is the process where a minor is legally freed from the control of a parent or guardian.
There are several ways that a minor can be emancipated and the most common methods are:
- Minor enlisted in the military: Enlisting as a minor requires parental consent.
- Getting married: In most states, this requires parental consent.
- A court order from a judge: This doesn’t require parental consent.
Once emancipated, a minor can legally enter into a contract, including insurance car policies. Emancipation laws vary by state.
Resources & Methodology
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention “Teen Drivers: Get the Facts.” Accessed May 2022.
CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services in 2022 to field rates for full coverage auto coverage data by ZIP code for 17-year-old and 40-year-old drivers.