- American Family received the highest overall score in our analysis of the best car insurance for teens, with USAA, Nationwide and Erie close behind.
- Adding a teen to a parent policy costs an average of $1,951 per year.
- Teens on their own policy pay an average of $6,598 a year for car insurance.
- USAA, Erie and Geico each offer average rates below $1,500 for teens added to a parent policy.
- USAA, Geico and Auto-Owners each offer average rates below $5,000 for teens on their own policy.
Facing the reality of your teen becoming a newly licensed driver? Insurance will play a vital role in their newfound, road-ready freedom, and choosing the best car insurance for teens and young drivers can save you time, money and sanity down the road.
To help you find the best car insurance for your teen, our experienced car insurance analysts reviewed the top car insurance companies in the nation, comparing their rates, coverage options, consumer complaints and collision scores. Here’s what we found.
Why trust our insurance experts
Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of insurance products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.
- 6,489 rates reviewed
- 143 coverage details evaluated
- 5 levels of fact-checking
Best car insurance for teen drivers
Who has the best car insurance for teens?
American Family offers the best car insurance for teenagers, based on our analysis. It offers competitive rates and a host of features that make it a good fit for teen drivers, such as student discounts and accident forgiveness.
If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance for teenagers, consider USAA, Erie or Geico, each of which offers annual rates below $1,500 for adding a teen to a parent policy.
If you’re a teen shopping for your own policy, consider USAA, Geico or Auto-Owners. Each of these companies offers coverage for less than $5,000 per year. That’s a savings of more than $1,500 compared to the national average.
How much does car insurance for teens cost?
The average cost for a teen driver added to a parent policy is $1,951 per year, according to our analysis of car insurance rates.
The national average for a teen driver on his or her own policy is an eye-popping $6,598 per year. In other words, it’s far more affordable for a teen to go on a parent’s policy than to purchase their own.
How much you or your teen will actually pay for coverage depends on several factors, including:
Insurance rates can vary significantly by insurer, with some companies offering far lower rates for teen drivers. We recommend you compare car insurance quotes before you purchase a policy.
USAA and Erie offer the cheapest car insurance for teenagers, based on our analysis, though each of the insurers in the table below offers coverage below the national average.
Average annual teen rates by company
Teen drivers have notoriously high rates because of their age, which usually indicates a lack of experience behind the wheel. That lack of experience also leaves them more vulnerable to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, which notes that teens who text while driving increase their risk of an accident by 23 times.
A teen who gets a license at age 16 and carries a blemish-free driving record will usually see significantly lower rates by the time they hit 19.
Average annual rate for teen drivers by age
According to data from the CDC, male teen drivers are more likely to be involved in risky behaviors behind the wheel, like drinking and driving or speeding. They’re also more likely to be involved in a deadly crash, with male drivers making up two out of three accident-related deaths among teens. As such, insurers often charge higher rates for male drivers.
Gender-based rates are common in the U.S., but there are some states that ban the practice: California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Vehicle make and model
Regardless of how old you are, the type of car you or your teen drives will directly impact your car insurance rates. In general, the cost to repair or replace a vehicle, its safety rating and the likelihood of theft contribute to the overall rate.
Shopping for a new car? See the least expensive cars to insure.
Young drivers often have higher car insurance rates because they lack experience — i.e., they don’t have a driving record. However, once they get behind the wheel, an accident or moving violation can increase rates when it comes time to renew a policy.
The cost of car insurance can vary significantly by state and even by ZIP code. The table below can give you an idea of how much it may cost to add a teen to a parent policy in your state.
Average annual cost to add a teen to a parent policy by state
Car insurance discounts for teens
Most companies offer car insurance discounts that cater to teen drivers. Keep an eye out for the following teen and young-driver discounts to see if you can secure a lower rate.
- Good student discount. Many insurance companies reward solid study habits and good grades with lower rates. Typically drivers must be considered full-time students and maintain a B or 3.0 GPA, though rules vary by insurer.
- Away-at-school discount. If a young driver is living on campus but leaving their car behind, they may be able to take advantage of this discount. Eligibility is usually based on the distance between the policyholder’s home address and the student’s campus location, with 100 miles or more being a common benchmark.
- Driving education program discount. Many insurance companies offer discounts to teen drivers for completing an approved driver safety course. Developing those good driving habits will also pay off over the long run, as most companies offer discounts for having a consistently clean driving record for a certain period.
- Multi-vehicle discount. You may get a discount for adding another vehicle to your policy.
How to get the cheapest car insurance for teens
We recommend you get at least three car insurance quotes before you settle on a car insurance policy — that goes for teens as well as adults. As you collect quotes, make sure each is for the same type and amount of coverage, and don’t forget to get a quote from your current insurer as well, if applicable.
Check for discounts
Discounts are a great way to reduce rates, and each insurer in our analysis offers some type of teen or young driver savings. Discount opportunities aren’t limited to teens, however. Most insurers offer at least a handful of more general discounts.
If you haven’t already, consider bundling your auto and homeowners insurance with the same company, putting all household vehicles on the same policy and asking about any other discounts the drivers in your household may qualify for.
Only buy what you need
Always buy enough car insurance to meet any state requirements, and if your teen is driving a financed or leased vehicle, you’ll also need to meet any insurance requirements outlined in your lease or loan agreement. After that, you can determine what other types of coverage you may want to include.
For instance, if your teen is driving a newer car, collision and comprehensive car insurance can help protect you against the financial implications if they back into a pole or the car is stolen. However, if their vehicle is relatively old and inexpensive to fix, collision or comprehensive coverage may not be worth the added cost.
Choose the right vehicle
Some cars are cheaper to insure than others, so if you’re shopping for a new vehicle, take the time to get some quotes for each make and model you’re considering.
On a related note, if there is a particularly expensive or dangerous vehicle on the household policy, like a luxury vehicle or sports car you don’t plan to let your teen drive, ask your insurance company if you can save money by not listing your teen as a driver for that car.
Our insurance experts evaluated top car insurance companies to determine which offer the best car insurance for teens based on average rates, coverage features and consumer complaints.
Each car insurance company was eligible for up to 100 points, based on its performance in the following key categories.
Cost: 70 points. Our insurance experts analyzed rates from Quadrant Information Services for good drivers from 16 to 19 added to a parent policy with 100/300/100 in liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage and comprehensive and collision coverage.
Complaints: 20 points. We collected complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which shows the volume of car insurance consumer complaints against each company. When a consumer lodges a complaint to their state’s department of insurance — often about an insurance company’s claims process, delays, denials or settlements — these complaints are logged and tracked.
Accident forgiveness: 5 points. We gave points to car insurance companies that offer accident forgiveness. Since teens have higher accident rates than other drivers, this type of coverage can keep rates from going up if your teen causes a wreck.
Collision repair score: 5 points. The Crash Network releases collision repair scores annually. Scores reflect feedback from more than 1,000 collision repair professionals, indicating how efficiently a company handles collision claim services.
Why some companies didn’t make the cut
Insurance companies with rates significantly higher than the national average, or with a substantial number of customer complaints, did not make the cut.
Car insurance companies with a lack of policy options, such as accident forgiveness, may also have been excluded, depending on how well they scored in other categories.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
It’s usually much cheaper to add a teen driver to a parent’s policy than to buy a separate policy. The average cost to add a teen to a parent policy is $1,951 per year, while a teen on their own policy can expect to pay an average of $6,598 per year — or $4,647 more per year.
A good way to determine if adding your teen to your policy is the best financial option is to check car insurance quotes from your insurance company and any potential new insurers. You can also get quotes for how much it will cost to add your teen as a driver for a specific vehicle.
Our analysis shows that USAA, which also earned a spot in our best car insurance companies, has the cheapest car insurance for teenagers, whether they’re added to a parent’s policy or they get their own. However, USAA is only available for the military community and eligible family members. If you are not eligible, Erie and Geico are also good choices for most consumers.
Teen drivers are inexperienced, can be easily distracted and are statistically more likely to be involved in a crash when compared to other age groups. Since insurance companies set rates based on the level of risk, teens usually pay significantly more for coverage.
As they age, teen rates will typically decrease as long as the driver keeps a clean driving record and avoids other issues, like poor credit scores or a gap in coverage.
You can save on car insurance, including coverage for teen drivers, by shopping around for coverage, taking advantage of car insurance discounts, only buying the coverage you need, adjusting your deductible and limits and bundling home and auto insurance.
Erie ($1,594), Nationwide ($1,774) and Geico ($1,952) have the cheapest car insurance rates for adding a 16-year-old driver to a parent policy, according to our analysis.
For a teen driver on a separate policy, the lowest average rates are from Auto-Owners ($5,383), Geico ($5,890), and Erie ($6,043).
The average cost to add a teen to a parent policy is $1,951 per year, based on our expert analysis of the top car insurance companies in the nation. Teens who have their own policy pay an average of $6,598 per year.
How much your teen will pay for coverage will depend on several factors, including their age, gender, location and the vehicle they drive.
You can lower your teen’s car insurance rates by shopping around for coverage, looking for young driver or teen-specific car insurance discounts and choosing a car that is inexpensive to insure.
You can also consider making policy adjustments, such as increasing your teen’s deductible or decreasing their policy limits, though each can leave you vulnerable to more out-of-pocket expenses if your teen driver is in an accident.
Car insurance rates for teens and young drivers can be affected by several factors, including their age, gender, location, the type and amount of coverage purchased, chosen insurer and vehicle driven.