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Why Teenage Boys Get Such High Car Insurance Quotes

May 19, 2015
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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If you’re the parent of a teenager, you may have experienced the unique horror that is getting a first car insurance quote. If your child is male, that horror was probably magnified by a quote that was even higher than you expected. A 17-year-old boy in San Francisco who drives a 2012 Toyota Camry would pay an average of $317 per month for car insurance, according to NerdWallet’s car insurance tool.

Your teenager may well be a responsible driver, and the rates he’s charged may seem unfair. But statistically, teenage boys earn their reputation for bad driving, and their high rates. Here’s why.

They’re males

Men aren’t just more likely to die in car crashes than women — they’re more than twice as likely, according to data spanning 1975 to 2013, published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an industry group. Men are also more likely to be in deadly crashes involving speeding or alcohol, though gender differences diminish with age.

The differences between male and female drivers’ rates also decrease as they get older. A teenage girl in San Francisco, also driving a 2012 Camry, would pay an average of $283 per month for her insurance, not accounting for the cost of comprehensive or collision coverage. But at 25, San Francisco men’s and women’s average rates for the Camry only differ by $4 a month, and by 40, men actually pay slightly less.

They’re young

Age is also an important factor when it comes to auto insurance quotes and premiums. Drivers ages 16 to 19 get in fatal car crashes almost three times as often, per mile driven, than those 20 and over, according to the IIHS. Drivers who are 16 and 17 get in almost twice as many of these crashes as 18- and 19-year-olds.

Luckily for young drivers, rates start to level out along with their crash risk as they age. By 20, men and women in San Francisco driving the same Camry would pay an average of $180 per month for insurance, a $120 savings from when they were 17. And by 25, they’d pay an average of $124 a month.

Here is a look at average insurance rates by age and gender, again using the scenario of a San Francisco-based driver in a 2012 Camry:


Age 17 (single) Age 20 (single) Age 25 (single)
Male $317/month $182/month $122/month
Female $283/month $178/month $118/month

They’re single

It may seem irrelevant to your crash risk, but men and women both get a better rate on car insurance after they get married, and not just because of the discounts that come from combining policies. This is especially true for young drivers, although older drivers also save money by getting married.

For example, using the same San Francisco scenario, 20-year-old single men pay an average of $182 per month for car insurance, while 20-year-old single women pay an average of $178. However, add marriage to the equation, and the average rate for men drops $33 per month. The average rate for married women is $38 lower. For 40-year-olds, premiums drop by about $10 per month per driver after marriage.

Here is a look at average insurance rates for singles and married people, using the same scenarios as above:

Age 20 (single) Age 20 (married) Age 40 (single) Age 40 (married)
Male $182/month $149/month $99/month $90/month
Female $178/month $140/month $102/month $91/month

Any one of these factors — being young, male or single — would increase a driver’s rates. But teenage boys have to contend with all three, which can make premiums unmanageable. Fortunately, many insurance companies offer discounts to make car insurance for teens more affordable. Common discounts reward young drivers for completing driver training courses or getting good grades. These discounts can help you save 15% to  25% on auto insurance quotes from major carriers.

Find the best rates for your situation with NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.

All quotes are based on an average of the three lowest quotes available at a moderate level of coverage for drivers with no tickets or citations.

Alice Holbrook is a staff writer covering insurance and investing for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @alicenerdwallet and on Google+.


Photo via iStock.