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 (aged 16-19) to a parent or guardian’s policy can increase the premium by an average of $3,726 annually.
  • 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.
Written by:
Erik Martin
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.
Reviewed by:
Laura Longero
reviewer icon
Executive Editor
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.

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, generally, a 17-year-old can obtain their own car insurance policy separate from their parent’s.

“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 also 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 the 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 getting 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 says. “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.

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

Annual full coverage rates for 17-year-olds
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 transferring 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 a vehicle owner. 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 it 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 carefully compare premiums, deductibles, and available discounts. 

Steps to getting car insurance as a 17-year-old     

If you’re a 17-year-old looking for your own car insurance policy, follow these steps and the process will go smoothly.

Step 1: Research state laws and insurance requirements

Start by understanding your state’s specific legal requirements for car insurance, as they can vary. In most states, a 17-year-old can’t enter into a legally binding contract independently. This means a teenager can’t sign anything—even a car insurance contract—and needs an adult to co-sign.

Step 2: Gather necessary documentation

Collect all required documents, including your driver’s license number, Social Security Number and vehicle information – make, model and VIN.

Ask your insurance carrier what you must bring to sign all the contracts. They’ll need to know the name, address, make, model and license plate of the vehicle and any drivers who may get behind the wheel. They also need to know where the car will be garaged, which factors into your rate. For example, you’ll need to explain to your insurer if your mailing address is Dad’s house but your vehicle is kept across town at Mom’s house. Ensure your driver’s license name and address match everything on the documents.

Step 3: Explore your car insurance options

Research different insurance companies to compare policies suitable for young drivers.

Look for insurers offering special programs or discounts for teenagers. As you shop around and compare quotes, you’ll notice some might have better rates for teens or new drivers. Some carriers give great student discounts. Some teens only drive to school and back, so low mileage discounts are a good thing to look out for.

Step 4: Consider being listed on a parent’s policy

Discuss with your parents the possibility of being added to their existing policy, which can often be more cost-effective. Even though you might want independence, being added to a policy rather than purchasing a stand-alone one could save you money.

The average monthly cost for a car insurance policy for a 17-year-old male is $522 and $468 for a female. Some states are more expensive – car insurance for a 17-year-old in Louisiana costs $9,117 annually. 

It’s always a good idea to comparison shop and compare the cost of adding yourself to a parent’s policy versus the cost of a teen policy. Unfortunately, rates for teenagers are expensive.

Step 5: Get quotes for a teen policy

To get quotes for an individual policy, you’ll need a few pieces of information. You can comparison shop online using quote tools or ask an insurance agent for help. You also must be the age of majority in your state.

For accurate quotes, you’ll need your age, gender, ZIP code and the make and model of your car. Also, an important factor is how much insurance you want to purchase. Decide how much comprehensive, collision and liability you need.

Step 6: Evaluate and compare car insurance quotes

Carefully compare the quotes, considering coverage limits, deductibles and premiums. Remember, if you choose a high deductible to get a lower rate, you’ll be responsible for that deductible when you make a claim. Each state has a minimum liability amount you must carry by law, so ensure your policy meets that requirement, especially if you’re buying online.

Read the policy’s fine print and any additional fees or exclusions. In many cases, if you don’t pay your premium, you’ll have a lapse in coverage. Your claim could be denied if you get into an accident and haven’t paid your bill. You don’t need to understand the legal jargon on every page. Just be sure to know about all policy exceptions, rules, cancellations and what exactly is and isn’t covered.

Step 7: Finalize your insurance purchase

Once you’ve chosen an insurer, complete the application process, which may require a parent’s involvement if you’re younger than 18. Review the policy with a parent or guardian before signing. You don’t want to sign anything before fully understanding the contract you’re entering into. This is why people under 18 must have an adult co-sign their documents. 

A parent or guardian will sign with you and take responsibility for you. Once you sign, you’re responsible for paying the bill and complying with the insurance company’s rules if you get into an accident.

Step 8: Maintain good driving habits

One of the best and only ways to completely avoid tickets and, therefore, an increase in insurance premiums is to drive the speed limit and obey all other traffic laws. Any moving violation will cause your insurance to increase significantly.

Consider enrolling in defensive driving courses to learn additional skills and ask your insurer about potential discounts. Your local driving school probably has a special course designed for additional driving skills even after you’ve completed basic driver’s education.

The roles of parents and guardians  

A parent or guardian should be involved every step of the way to help a teenager obtain car insurance.

Step 1: Providing guidance and support

Help your teen understand the importance of adequate car insurance and safe driving habits.

The financial impact of speeding tickets and accidents can be enough to convince teens to adopt safe driving habits. Teen car insurance is already very expensive, and just one moving violation increases it significantly. Prevention is key–obeying traffic laws and posted speed limits goes a long way toward keeping your premiums down.

Step 2: Assisting with research and decision-making

Help your teen understand the financial impact of a stand-alone policy. You may be able to save some money by adding your teen to your policy instead. This will be an attractive option if the teen pays their fair share. 

Bundling discounts for home and auto might be one way to save money by adding your teen rather than purchasing an individual policy. If they are added to your policy, you can ask your insurer about multi-policy and multi-driver discounts.

Step 3: Involvement in the insurance process

Be involved in the insurance application process, especially if the teen is not legally an adult. Make sure your teen understands what they’re signing and what they’re responsible for. Even though you’ll be ultimately responsible since you’re co-signing, make your teen aware of what financial and other obligations come with signing the insurance document.

Step 4: Educating teens about insurance costs and factors

Explain to your teen how their driving records will affect their insurance rates. Teens need to understand that any speeding tickets will increase rates. Any accidents they’re found guilty of will go on their driving record and affect how much they pay for insurance. 

Another thing teens might not understand is that sports cars and luxury vehicles are costlier to insure. Your teen might want to spend their graduation money or their part-time job money on a fancy car only to find they can’t afford to put it on the road because the insurance is significantly more than what an economy car would be.

Step 5: Monitoring and encouraging safe driving

It’s hard to know what your teen does once they leave the house, but setting rules and expectations for their car use is important. Some parents and guardians use monitoring systems built into the vehicle to record driver activity, such as speeding. Some of these are tied right into insurance companies so they can reward drivers with discounts for safe driving.

Step 6: Reviewing and updating the policy

Review your teen’s insurance policy to ensure it remains the best fit and is up-to-date. This is a good idea for anyone with any type of insurance policy—homeowner, auto or life. If anything has changed, like your address, a new car, or another driver added to the household, notify the insurance company and update the policy.

By following these detailed steps and understanding the crucial role of parents or guardians, 17-year-olds can more effectively navigate the process of obtaining car insurance, ensuring they are adequately covered and aware of their responsibilities as young drivers.

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. However, this could mean that you may pay considerably more in the event of an accident.
  • 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, Moss says emancipated youth must still follow the same path to obtaining a driver’s license and will likely pay higher insurance costs than if they had remained on their parent or guardian’s policy.

“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.

Resources & Methodology


Governors Highway Safety Association. “Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle.” Accessed April 2024.


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

Ask the Insurance Expert

Laura Longero

Executive Editor

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.

John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

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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.