New drivers pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the nation, but it is no mystery why.

Insurance companies base auto insurance rates on risk, and new drivers are inexperienced and a higher risk for accidents and resulting insurance claims. Higher risk means higher insurance rates.

Adding a new 16-year-old driver to your policy will result in an average rate increase of 256%, depending on where you live and whether the new driver is male or female. If the new driver gets their own policy instead, the rates will be even higher — according to 2022 data.

Insuring a new driver is expensive, so it’s natural to wonder how long you are considered a new driver.

How long are you considered a new driver?

author-img
Written by:
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.
author
Reviewed by:
John McCormick
reviewer icon
Editorial Director
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.

Who is considered a new driver?

A new driver is someone who has no driving history. This might include a teenager getting their driver’s license for the first time, someone getting a driver’s license later in life or a driver who has never had a license in the U.S.

How long are you considered an inexperienced driver for auto insurance?

Each insurance carrier used a different formula for defining what it takes for someone to move from new-driver status to experienced-driver status. For some car insurance companies, drivers are considered “new” until they have three years of experience on the road, for others, it can be up to nine years.

Some carriers do not look at the date you were first licensed, but instead, use your age as the only determining factor. In this case, typically that means you are deemed an inexperienced or “new driver” until age 25.

How long does an accident stay on your driving record for insurance purposes?

Whether you’re a new driver or not, an accident will most likely cause a noticeable car insurance rate increase. But if you’re a new, inexperienced driver already paying high rates, how long that accident will stay on your insurance record is a concern.

Typically, an insurance company will charge you more after an accident for three years after the date of the incident. State laws vary, however, on this issue, so in some cases, it can be as long as five or seven years. Major infractions, such as a DUI, remain on your driving report longer than a fender bender. 

If your rates are too high due to being a new driver in an accident or convicted of DUI, see how high-risk drivers can get lower car insurance rates

What is the best car insurance for new drivers?

The best car insurance company for new drivers depends on the situation. Are you looking for car insurance for new drivers under 25? Ultimately, the best car insurance for new drivers is the company that offers the best rates for the coverage levels you need.

Resources & Methodology

Methodology

CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to run auto insurance rates for a 2022 Honda Accord LX at several coverage levels for a driver with a clean driving record in all ZIP codes in each state.

– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.

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

Ask the Insurance Expert

John McCormick

Editorial Director

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.

Leslie Kasperowicz

Ask the Insurance Expert

Leslie Kasperowicz

Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

Ask the Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir

Managing Editor

Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

Please Enter Valid Question. Min 50 to max 250 characters are allowed. Only (& ? , .) charcters are allowed.
Please Enter Valid Email.
Error: Security check failed
Thank You, Your message has been received. Our team of auto insurance experts typically answers questions within five working days. Note that due to the volume of questions we receive, not all may be answered. Due to technical error, please try again later.
Get quotes near you!
Please enter valid zip
author image
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.