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Finding the Cheapest Car Insurance for Teen Drivers

Car insurance for teens can be expensive. There are ways to save, but the cheapest option is to be included on a parent's or guardian's policy.
Oct. 8, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Finding the cheapest car insurance for a teen driver can be difficult. Since teenagers are inexperienced drivers, they’re considered very risky to insure, and policies can cost thousands of dollars a year.

It’s usually a lot cheaper to add a teen driver to an adult’s auto insurance policy than it is to purchase a separate policy. And the best way to find the cheapest coverage is to shop around and get quotes from multiple companies.

 

While it may not always make sense for a teen driver to purchase a stand-alone policy, looking at those rates can give you a sense of how much car insurance costs for teen drivers and how much prices vary. With this in mind, NerdWallet checked car insurance rate estimates from the largest auto insurers in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. We analyzed rates for hypothetical male and female teenagers driving a 2017 Toyota Camry LE with no tickets or traffic violations.

While it’s cheaper for a teen to stay on a parent’s or guardian’s policy, in our analysis, these numbers can provide a benchmark for car insurance costs.

How much is car insurance for teen drivers?

Mile for mile, teen drivers get into car crashes four times as often as drivers 20 and older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Further, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That all translates to higher insurance costs for teens, but how much depends on the state where the teen lives, gender and age, and whether the teen is the primary policyholder, among other factors. Our analysis shows that a newly licensed 16-year-old driver can pay an average of 44% more for full coverage than a more seasoned 19-year-old driver.

While the cost of car insurance for teen drivers varies widely by state, here are the average annual prices we found for both full and minimum coverage, by age:

  • 16-year-olds: $6,613 for full coverage; $2,733 for minimum coverage.
  • 17-year-olds: $5,373 for full coverage; $2,206 for minimum coverage.
  • 18-year-olds: $4,837 for full coverage; $1,938 for minimum coverage.
  • 19-year-olds: $3,716 for full coverage; $1,451 for minimum coverage.

Full coverage policies in our analyses include comprehensive and collision coverage, as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and increased liability limits. Minimum coverage policies include state-mandated coverage only.

Cheapest car insurance for teen drivers from large companies

To determine the cheapest insurers for teen drivers, we first looked at large companies that are available in almost every state.

The five largest auto insurance companies in the country are Allstate, Geico, Progressive, State Farm and USAA. However, USAA insures active military members, veterans and their families only.

Below we’ve ranked the largest companies, excluding USAA, from cheapest to most expensive based on average annual prices for both full and minimum coverage.

Geico
AgeAverage full coverage rateAverage minimum coverage rate
16$4,148 $1,574
17$3,566 $1,333
18$3,158 $1,167
19$2,533 $916
State Farm
AgeAverage full coverage rateAverage minimum coverage rate
16$6,329 $2,613
17$4,922 $2,007
18$4,414 $1,774
19$3,455 $1,365
Allstate
AgeAverage full coverage rateAverage minimum coverage rate
16$7,779 $2,892
17$6,356 $2,278
18$5,545 $1,831
19$4,299 $1,327
Progressive
AgeAverage full coverage rateAverage minimum coverage rate
16$9,139 $3,460
17$7,684 $2,874
18$6,514 $2,393
19$3,911 $1,417

Coming from a large company doesn’t make an insurance policy better — local and regional insurers often have the cheapest rates in those areas. Before choosing a car insurance company, make sure to shop around for quotes to find the cheapest insurer in your state.

» MORE: Allstate, Geico, Progressive or State Farm: Which one is best for you?

Cheapest car insurance for teen drivers by state

The cheapest car insurance company for a teenager varies depending on the state. For example, the cheapest average full coverage rate for a teen driver in Hawaii is around $950 annually, while the cheapest average rate in Alabama is over $3,000.

Use the map to see the cheapest car insurance company for teen drivers based on average annual full coverage rates.

Average cost of car insurance for 16-year-olds

Sixteen-year-old drivers are the most expensive to insure because they are minimally experienced.

Hawaii is the cheapest state for both full and minimum annual coverage policies for 16-year-olds because the state doesn’t allow the use of age to price car insurance. The average full coverage rate in the state is between $1,000 and $1,100 for a driver of any age.

Meanwhile, Louisiana is the most expensive state for annual full coverage policies for teenagers. Average full coverage rates for a stand-alone policy are over $11,500 per year. If you’re a 16-year-old driver in Louisiana, it’s highly recommended that you try to get on an adult’s auto insurance policy to take advantage of multidriver and other discounts.

See how your state stacks up for full and minimum coverage rates for 16-year-old drivers.

StateAverage annual full coverage rateAverage annual minimum coverage rate
Alabama$7,286 $2,821
Alaska$5,434 $1,738
Arizona$6,362 $3,259
Arkansas$10,416 $4,150
California$6,184 $2,147
Colorado$7,689 $2,640
Connecticut$10,177 $5,023
Delaware$8,447 $4,503
Florida$8,600 $2,310
Georgia$7,703 $3,502
Hawaii$1,079 $352
Idaho$4,146 $1,654
Illinois$6,131 $2,585
Indiana$4,669 $1,837
Iowa$3,937 $1,192
Kansas$5,342 $1,894
Kentucky$10,596 $4,662
Louisiana$13,409 $5,447
Maine$4,242 $1,799
Maryland$7,451 $3,456
Massachusetts$4,979 $2,020
Michigan$10,423 $5,234
Minnesota$4,315 $1,954
Mississippi$6,657 $2,469
Missouri$8,194 $3,090
Montana$6,988 $2,071
Nebraska$4,728 $1,626
Nevada$9,150 $4,823
New Hampshire$5,232 $2,115
New Jersey$9,561 $3,997
New Mexico$5,773 $2,054
New York$7,904 $4,189
North Carolina$3,173 $1,332
North Dakota$4,819 $1,657
Ohio$4,059 $1,759
Oklahoma$6,973 $2,285
Oregon$5,675 $2,885
Pennsylvania$5,499 $1,988
Rhode Island$11,948 $6,407
South Carolina$6,399 $2,955
South Dakota$4,952 $1,335
Tennessee$5,350 $1,982
Texas$10,210 $4,016
Utah$6,690 $3,097
Vermont$4,765 $1,480
Virginia$5,961 $2,540
Washington$5,113 $2,249
Washington, D.C. $7,242 $3,459
West Virginia$6,034 $2,199
Wisconsin$4,719 $1,765
Wyoming$4,492 $1,379

Average cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds

While not as costly as for a 16-year-old, car insurance for a 17-year-old driver will be a hefty sum. The national annual average rate for a 17-year-old is just over $5,370 for full coverage and $2,206 for minimum coverage.

Besides Hawaii, North Carolina has the lowest annual average rate for a full-coverage policy for a 17-year-old at just under $2,660. The cheapest annual minimum coverage rate for a 17-year-old in Iowa is just over an average of $930. On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana has the highest average full coverage rates for 17-year-olds — $9,255 for a 12-month, full-coverage policy. Michigan has the most expensive annual minimum coverage rate at just under $4,070, on average.

See how your state stacks up for full and minimum coverage average rates for 17-year-old drivers.

StateAverage annual full coverage rateAverage annual minimum coverage rate
Alabama$6,400 $2,481
Alaska$4,403 $1,405
Arizona$5,341 $2,693
Arkansas$8,201 $3,033
California$5,730 $1,984
Colorado$6,253 $2,126
Connecticut$7,807 $3,965
Delaware$6,732 $3,597
Florida$7,406 $1,991
Georgia$6,765 $3,198
Hawaii$1,079 $352
Idaho$3,385 $1,342
Illinois$4,817 $2,048
Indiana$3,951 $1,552
Iowa$3,112 $933
Kansas$4,704 $1,649
Kentucky$8,198 $3,675
Louisiana$9,255 $3,761
Maine$3,618 $1,521
Maryland$6,699 $3,108
Massachusetts$4,285 $1,762
Michigan$8,224 $4,068
Minnesota$3,629 $1,637
Mississippi$5,622 $2,090
Missouri$6,067 $2,316
Montana$6,032 $1,749
Nebraska$3,954 $1,339
Nevada$7,559 $3,842
New Hampshire$4,296 $1,777
New Jersey$7,211 $3,115
New Mexico$4,598 $1,651
New York$7,265 $3,867
North Carolina$2,656 $1,073
North Dakota$3,827 $1,315
Ohio$3,298 $1,436
Oklahoma$5,862 $1,901
Oregon$4,280 $2,201
Pennsylvania$4,833 $1,753
Rhode Island$8,395 $4,160
South Carolina$5,356 $2,413
South Dakota$3,992 $1,051
Tennessee$4,442 $1,680
Texas$7,349 $3,048
Utah$5,223 $2,451
Vermont$4,047 $1,210
Virginia$4,734 $2,036
Washington$4,284 $1,903
Washington, D.C. $5,885 $2,787
West Virginia$5,217 $1,905
Wisconsin$3,886 $1,417
Wyoming$3,852 $1,144

Average cost of car insurance for 18-year-olds

The national annual average rate for an 18-year-old driver with full coverage is just over $4,830, while the average rate for minimum coverage is $1,940 per year. Besides Hawaii, North Carolina offers the cheapest average full coverage rate at $2,398 annually, and Iowa offers the cheapest minimum coverage at $812. Louisiana has the most expensive rate for full coverage, while Michigan is highest for minimum coverage.

See how your state stacks up for full and minimum coverage average rates for 18-year-old drivers.

StateAverage annual full coverage rateAverage annual minimum coverage rate
Alabama$5,728 $2,179
Alaska$3,947 $1,214
Arizona$4,790 $1,926
Arkansas$7,196 $2,541
California$5,399 $1,856
Colorado$5,710 $1,902
Connecticut$7,178 $3,606
Delaware$5,894 $3,093
Florida$6,559 $1,774
Georgia$6,241 $2,945
Hawaii$1,079 $352
Idaho$3,063 $1,199
Illinois$4,300 $1,801
Indiana$3,474 $1,342
Iowa$2,771 $812
Kansas$4,270 $1,464
Kentucky$7,401 $3,292
Louisiana$8,213 $3,335
Maine$3,310 $1,373
Maryland$6,147 $2,790
Massachusetts$4,084 $1,680
Michigan$7,274 $3,702
Minnesota$3,326 $1,461
Mississippi$4,928 $1,808
Missouri$5,480 $2,029
Montana$5,540 $1,568
Nebraska$3,623 $1,195
Nevada$6,941 $3,196
New Hampshire$3,756 $1,520
New Jersey$6,290 $2,666
New Mexico$4,146 $1,420
New York$6,430 $3,404
North Carolina$2,398 $907
North Dakota$3,467 $1,156
Ohio$2,996 $1,299
Oklahoma$5,305 $1,712
Oregon$3,835 $1,953
Pennsylvania$4,440 $1,595
Rhode Island$7,111 $3,314
South Carolina$4,892 $2,175
South Dakota$3,604 $906
Tennessee$3,827 $1,425
Texas$6,673 $2,723
Utah$4,713 $2,185
Vermont$3,711 $1,101
Virginia$4,260 $1,812
Washington$3,862 $1,684
Washington, D.C. $5,476 $2,566
West Virginia$4,711 $1,682
Wisconsin$3,472 $1,248
Wyoming$3,465 $976

Average cost of car insurance for 19-year-olds

Nineteen-year-old drivers are the cheapest teenagers to insure because they typically have been licensed longer and have more experience on the road. The average annual national rate for a full coverage policy for a 19-year-old is about $3,717. A 12-month, minimum-coverage policy averages to about $1,451.

Besides Hawaii, the cheapest state for a 19-year-old driver is North Carolina, which averages $1,490 annually for full coverage and slightly under $550 annually for minimum coverage. Meanwhile, Louisiana has the most expensive full coverage average — over $6,240 per year. Michigan has the most expensive minimum coverage policy for an 18-year-old, averaging about $2,890 a year.

See how your state stacks up for average full and minimum coverage rates for 19-year-old drivers.

StateAverage annual full coverage rate Average annual minimum coverage rate 
Alabama$3,994 $1,473
Alaska$3,194 $919
Arizona$3,600 $1,428
Arkansas$5,650 $1,906
California$3,775 $1,283
Colorado$4,235 $1,390
Connecticut$5,105 $2,544
Delaware$4,503 $2,314
Florida$4,850 $1,290
Georgia$4,731 $2,182
Hawaii$1,079 $352
Idaho$2,390 $912
Illinois$3,547 $1,459
Indiana$2,903 $1,106
Iowa$2,346 $653
Kansas$3,413 $1,132
Kentucky$6,101 $2,597
Louisiana$6,242 $2,463
Maine$2,743 $1,111
Maryland$4,916 $2,250
Massachusetts$2,652 $1,052
Michigan$5,677 $2,890
Minnesota$3,014 $1,276
Mississippi$3,669 $1,346
Missouri$4,579 $1,645
Montana$4,201 $1,125
Nebraska$2,860 $879
Nevada$5,465 $2,422
New Hampshire$2,878 $1,145
New Jersey$4,533 $2,001
New Mexico$3,069 $1,024
New York$4,853 $2,443
North Carolina$1,491 $546
North Dakota$2,470 $798
Ohio$2,265 $968
Oklahoma$3,718 $1,163
Oregon$3,004 $1,514
Pennsylvania$3,408 $1,158
Rhode Island$5,332 $2,404
South Carolina$3,728 $1,641
South Dakota$2,637 $658
Tennessee$3,017 $1,105
Texas$5,393 $2,129
Utah$3,572 $1,639
Vermont$3,232 $899
Virginia$3,430 $1,436
Washington$2,994 $1,259
Washington, D.C. $3,925 $1,697
West Virginia$3,697 $1,286
Wisconsin$2,685 $938
Wyoming$2,754 $731

» MORE: Compare car insurance rates

Why is car insurance for young men so expensive?

Young women can pay a lot for car insurance, but in general, young men see some of the highest auto insurance rates among people with clean driving records. In part, that’s because they are inexperienced and don’t have a driving record for insurers to use to set rates.

When insurance companies can’t reference a driving record to determine how likely you are to file a claim, they rely on statistics to gauge risk and set prices. A newly licensed teenager receives high insurance quotes because his peers file a lot of claims, more expensive claims or both.

Male teenagers cause crashes at higher rates than any other group. Teens ages 16 to 19 cause nearly three times as many fatal accidents as adults 20 and over, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Teenage boys caused roughly two-thirds of those crashes in recent years, down from 75% in 1975, the data shows.

In addition to the risk that they will crash, teens typically lack a credit history, are unmarried and haven’t completed as much education — all of which can increase car insurance rates.

See below for how the top five auto insurance companies stack up for female and male teen drivers, for both full and minimum coverage policies.

Average annual full coverage rates by gender from the five largest U.S. auto insurers
CompanyFemale teen driversMale teen drivers
Allstate$5,563 $6,427
Geico$3,126 $3,577
Progressive$6,454 $7,170
State Farm$4,328 $5,232
USAA*$3,253 $3,556
*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.
Average annual minimum coverage rates by gender from the five largest U.S. auto insurers
CompanyFemale teen driversMale teen drivers
Allstate$1,991 $2,174
Geico$1,180 $1,316
Progressive$2,440 $2,632
State Farm$1,759 $2,120
USAA*$1,288 $1,369
*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

How teens can save on car insurance

If you’re a teen driver, the best way to save on car insurance is to get on a parent’s or guardian’s insurance policy. If that isn’t an option for you, start by shopping around for multiple car insurance quotes to find the cheapest rate.

When shopping for car insurance, be on the lookout for possible discounts, including:

    • Good grade discount. Some auto insurers offer discounts for maintaining a high GPA or getting straight As.
    • Defensive driving discount. If you take a defensive driving course, some car insurance companies may offer you a discount on your rate.
    • Student away-at-school discount. If you’re enrolled in college or go to school away from home, you could qualify for a student-away discount.
NerdWallet averaged insurance estimates from the largest insurers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., for single male and female drivers with good credit and no tickets or violations. For full coverage policies, we used the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. Some policies include additional coverages at the insurer’s discretion. For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state. We used a 2017 Toyota Camry LE for all drivers and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven. We analyzed rates for drivers of the following ages: 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80.

These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.