Insurance companies view young drivers as risky, for they’re inexperienced, sometimes drive aggressively, and have limited driving records. The risky nature of young drivers makes them expensive for companies to insure, and providers pass the higher costs onto drivers in the form of higher premiums.
Higher premiums naturally incline young drivers and their families to seek out the most affordable insurance policies that are available. While price certainly is a factor, it shouldn’t be the sole consideration at the expense of coverage. Forgoing coverages to save on premiums can have devastating financial consequences in the event of an accident or other incident.
(Auto insurance is required for all drivers who operate motor vehicles on public roads. Even if expensive, driving without it is reckless and can lead to serious consequences. Young need insurance.)
Compare the Best Car Insurance Companies for Young and New Drivers
If you have a young driver or new driver in the household, we’ve compared car insurance policies that are intended for teenage and inexperienced drivers.
Below are the best teenage driver car insurance policies, taking into account cost, coverage and customer service. New drivers who are older should generally find that these ratings are also accurate for their situation.
Use our ratings as guidelines for what companies to request customized quotes from. Different insurance companies weigh factors differently, and requesting customized quotes is the only way to confirm that a particular insurer’s policy meets your driver’s needs and indeed is the best choice.
Best Overall: State Farm’s Young Driver Car Insurance
State Farm has a unique educational program that provides lessons on safe driving — and discounts when young drivers complete those lessons. Help is always available through local agents and the customer service number.
Pros of State Farm’s Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Steer Clear offers young drivers discounts for completing safe driving lessons
- Many other discounts are available for all drivers
- Consistently excellent customer service and claims satisfaction ratings
- 19,000 agents and a 24/7 customer service phone number
- Rideshare driving coverage is available
Cons of State Farm’s Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Premiums can be higher than competitors if drivers don’t qualify for discounts
- Drivers who have tickets or accidents on their record pay especially high premiums
- Personal information is required for a customized insurance quote
- Insurance may have to be purchased through a local agent in certain situations
Average Annual Premium for a 17-Year-Old: $3,055*
State Farm has been insuring drivers young and old for a full century. The insurance provider is known for having policies that have robust coverage, agents that offer excellent service, and programs that make many discounts available.
Teen drivers may find that State Farm has above-average premiums if they don’t qualify for discount programs, and young drivers who have accidents or tickets on their record could see particularly higher rates (more than other insurers charge).
Drivers who qualify for discounts will likely find that State Farm has some of the lowest rates for them, and they can get the discounted rates while also receiving excellent customer service.
Steer Clear is the discount program that allows drivers to save money if they successfully complete (relatively easy) safe-driving lessons. The program is available to drivers 25 years old and younger. Other discount programs include savings for students who are away at school, students with good grades, taking a defensive driving course, bundling insurance policies, and more.
Additionally, State Farm offers optional coverage for rideshare driving. Although brand new teenage drivers are unlikely to need this, the option can let drivers keep their existing policy even if they decide to drive for a ridesharing app while in college.
The customer service that drivers of any age receive from State Farm is top-notch. The company’s 19,000 local agents are available to help new drivers understand auto insurance and set up a policy. There’s also a 24/7 customer service phone in case something happens at night or on the weekend.
Who If’s For: New drivers who are willing to take brief online lessons can get affordable car insurance with State Farm. Policies are also well-suited to younger but experienced drivers who have rideshare gigs, and everyone should at least get a quote from this best-overall insurer.
Best for Student Discounts: Allstate Young Driver Car Insurance
Allstate offers exclusive discounts for young drivers who demonstrate conservative driving habits through telematics, which actively encourages safe driving. Multiple roadside assistance plans are also available for drivers who don’t yet know how to change a tire. (Telematics may also give drivers access to usage-based insurance that’s charged by the mile.)
Pros of Allstate Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Drivewise telematics can provide discounts of up to 40% for driving conservatively
- Many other discounts are available for all drivers
- Multiple roadside assistance plans available within policies
- Rideshare coverage is optionally available
- Interactive online guide explains auto insurance basics
- Policies are written for 6-month terms
Cons of Allstate Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Average claims satisfaction ratings despite the agents and customer support number
- Premiums for drivers who are more aggressive may be high
Average Annual Premium for a 17-Year-Old: $4,716*
Allstate has almost 90 years of experience insuring drivers, and continues to offer some of the best policies today. The company is known for its many discounts, flexible policies and numerous agents.
Drivewise is Allstate’s largest potential discount, offering discounts of up to 40% for drivers who demonstrate conservative and safe habits. The program requires on-vehicle telematics that are used to monitor drivers’ habits, so only drivers who truly are conservative behind the wheel receive the maximum discount.
Not all young adults and new drivers will meet the program’s telematics metrics, partly because of their driving habits, and partly because new drivers can be strong on the accelerator and brakes. For new drivers who do meet the telematics metrics, however, this could be the largest discount that any insurance company will offer. Even if drivers don’t have impeccable habits, meeting some metrics can still qualify for some savings.
The Drivewise discount program is especially effective for teens who pay their own premiums, as they personally see the financial benefits of safe driving. Discounts for good grades and/or being away at college can help reduce premiums, too.
A few unique features that new drivers might be especially interested in are Allstate’s available roadside assistance plans and its available rideshare driving coverage:
- Drivers (or their parents) can choose the level of roadside assistance that they’re comfortable with, ensuring that they always have help should something happen on the road.
- Rideshare driving lets drivers earn extra money through rideshare gigs without having to purchase a different insurance policy, which is something drivers might want to do during college or shortly thereafter.
- Coverage for driving in Mexico is also available, which may be a consideration for young adult drivers who want to take a road trip south of the U.S.-Mexico border.
All of Allstate’s auto insurance policies are written for 6-month terms, which is half as long as most companies’ standard 12-month policies. While this is a drawback for most drivers, the shorter timeframe can be a benefit to teen drivers. They may qualify for slightly lower rates every six months if they demonstrate safe driving habits. Standard 12-month policies would only adjust once per year.
Who It’s For: Young drivers who are extra careful can save a lot with Allstate. It’s also an obvious choice for drivers who want extra protection through roadside assistance, and a potential choice for college students who have rideshare gigs.
One of Allstate’s many insurance agents can help drivers with a 6-moth policy that provides the coverages they want and need.
Best Accident Forgiveness Discount: Amica Young Driver Car Insurance
Amica offers many potential car insurance discounts, including generous accident forgiveness if new drivers are ever in a collision. The company is also loved by many of its clients, even if it’s not as well known as some other insurance providers.
Pros of Amica Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Accident forgiveness available for newer drivers
- Generous discounts for those who qualify
- Excellent customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction ratings
Cons of Amica Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Restricted discounts aren’t available to all drivers
- Drivers who don’t receive discounts often pay above-average discounts
- Small number of local insurance agents
Amica offers one of the most extensive car insurance policies for young drivers who want full protection.
Average Annual Premium for a 17-Year-Old: $6,156*
The Amica Platinum Choice Auto Insurance has higher premiums if compared to many new driver car insurance options, but the Platinum Choice also has more coverages. Deductible-free glass repair and replacement, new car replacement, rental car reimbursement without a daily limit, and credit monitoring are all included at this level.
Most importantly, the Platinum Choice Auto Insurance also includes accident forgiveness. Even new drivers won’t see their premiums increase if they’re in an accident, including if the accident is determined to be their fault.
For drivers who qualify, several discounts can help mitigate the higher premiums that come with this level of policy. After a year or two, young drivers might qualify for loyalty, safe driver, bundling and other discounts. Those whose parents already use Amica may get some of these discounts right away, but those who don’t have parents insured with Amica are unlikely to qualify for many discounts during their first year of having coverage.
Although Amica only has local insurance agents in only 12 states and Washington D.C., the company has excellent customer satisfaction ratings. It earned the top place in J.D. Power’s 2021 New England Rankings of car insurance companies. Customers can reach a representative through phone, online chat, or a local agent if one is nearby.
Who It’s For: Young drivers who are concerned about premium increases if they’re in an accident should consider Amica’s accident forgiveness.
Best for Military Families: USAA Young Driver Car Insurance
USAA auto insurance is only available to members of the armed forces and their families (including their children). For families that qualify, USAA has highly competitive rates and outstanding customer service.
Pros of USAA Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Some of the most affordable rates for all drivers
- Excellent customer service that’s available 24/7
- Detailed online comparison and quote tool
- Additional insurance and banking services
Cons of USAA Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers
- Coverage is restricted to military members and their families
- USAA’s SafePilot telemetrics app isn’t available in all states yet
- Online quotes are only available once a member is logged in
- Extremely limited access to local agents
Average Annual Premium for a 17-Year-Old: $2,662*
USAA is celebrating 100 years of serving members, and the company continues to provide industry-leading customer service. J.D. Power consistently ranks USAA as having the best customer service within the insurance industry, and that customer service includes a combination of phone support and online tools.
The policies that USAA offers are also among the top in the industry, as they provide robust coverages and competitive rates. USAA frequently has the lowest premiums of any insurer, and young drivers may qualify for discounts that further reduce premiums. New drivers can immediately get discounts if they’re located on-base and/or their parents are USAA members, and there are other ways to save money too.
Who It’s For: Young drivers who qualify for USAA membership, either through their service or their parents’, should consider USAA. This is considered one of the best (if not the best) insurance providers for qualifying members.
Best on a Budget: Erie Young Driver Car Insurance
Erie Insurance only offers insurance in a small number of states, but drivers in those states will likely find that Erie has the lowest insurance rates for young drivers.
Pros of Erie Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers:
- Some of the cheapest car insurance rates
- No need to qualify for low rates through military service
- Local agents are available throughout the states that Erie serves
Cons of Erie Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers:
- Availability is limited to only a few states
- No support for online claims filing
Average Annual Premium for a 17-Year-Old: $2,248*
Erie has been underwriting insurance policies for almost a century. Although the company continues to only offer insurance in a select number of states, it’s now a Fortune 500 company with solid financial and customer service credentials.
Only drivers residing in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have access to Erie’s auto policies. (Availability is based on residency, and not where a young driver might go to college.)
For drivers who are in these states, however, Erie offers rates that are comparable to USAA’s and sometimes beat the military-focused provider. Rates can be even lower for new drivers who pay in full, enroll in paperless billing, and complete an approved driver’s education course (which is required in some states). Erie also charges unmarried drivers a smaller surcharge than most other insurers do (married drivers regularly get slightly lower premiums).
Erie Insurance also offers two exclusive programs of note. Rate Lock helps guarantee drivers’ rates. Auto Plus combines a few benefits, including waived or diminishing deductibles, increased limits, and reimbursement for certain transportation expenses.
In order to keep premiums low, Erie offers somewhat limited customer support. The company doesn’t have support for claims, which must be processed through an agent or over the phone. Customer satisfaction with the process is decent.
Who It’s For: Young drivers who are residents of states where Erie Insurance operates should check the company’s policies for the cheapest car insurance rates.
*Average annual premiums are based on a 17-year-old who needs a full auto insurance policy. Premiums can vary significantly according to a driver’s age, experience, record, vehicle, needed coverages and many other factors. Individual drivers may find that their premiums are substantially more or less, as rates for young adults can be especially varied.
Average Cost of Car Insurance for Young Drivers
Average car insurance costs vary among all drivers, as insurance companies consider many different factors when calculating rates. This is doubly true for young drivers who have higher rates.
Young drivers and new drivers pay some of the highest auto insurance rates, generally rivaled in cost only by high-risk drivers who have DUIs or similar offenses.
New drivers without anything negative on their record can still pay 2-3 times as much as older and experienced drivers. That difference only increases for drivers who have been in accidents or received tickets.
To know exactly how much they’ll have to pay for auto insurance, young drivers must request customized car insurance quotes from one or more insurance companies. Most drivers without a record will find that insurance costs somewhere between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on their details, the insurance company, and the policy.
Auto Insurance Discounts for Young Drivers
Discounts can substantially reduce any driver’s insurance premiums, and they have an oversized effect on young drivers’ higher premiums. New drivers can ultimately save a lot if they qualify for multiple discounts.
Some common discounts that young drivers may quickly qualify for include:
- Pay in Full: Small discount for paying premiums in full at the time of purchase (as opposed to monthly).
- Paperless Statements: Small discount for opting into e-statements and other electronic documents.
- New Driver Discount: Discount for drivers who switch to a new insurer, and are thus new to the insurer (not to be confused with being a new, recently licensed driver).
- Loyalty Discount: Discount for remaining with the same insurance for consecutive years; young drivers may qualify if their parent’s policy is with the same insurer. (USAA also calls this a legacy discount.)
- Safe Driver Discount: Potentially large discount for taking safe driving lessons, demonstrating safe driving through telematics, and/or remaining claims-free. Usually requires a clean driving record.
- Accident Forgiveness: Feature that ensures premiums won’t increase after a single accident.
- Anti-Theft Discount: Small discount for installing or having a car alarm or other security devices on a vehicle. Many new vehicles automatically qualify.
- Good Student Discount: Small discount for maintaining good grades, which usually require a 3.0 GPA or being in the top 20% of one’s class.
- Multi-Policy Discount: Moderate discount for buying two or more insurance policies from the same company. New drivers might qualify if their parents have other policies with the same insurer, or if they also need renters insurance (or another type of insurance).
Insurance companies offer still more discounts that drivers might take advantage of.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Save Money If I Add a Young Driver to My Auto Insurance Policy?
Adding a teen driver to your auto insurance policy will increase the policy’s premiums even if the driver doesn’t have their own vehicle, and the increase is often significant. This is normally a cheaper auto insurance option than purchasing your child or other young driver their own auto policy is, though.
Additionally, teenage drivers generally can’t have their own policies until they turn at least 18 years old.
If you’re looking for ways to save when adding a teenage driver, check quotes from insurers that offer good student, student at school, safe driver lesson, or similar discounts. Check quotes for both them and you, so you can determine what company offers the cheapest car insurance for both drivers.
How Much Does Car Insurance for Young Drivers Cost?
The premiums that young drivers pay vary dramatically. Their age, driving record, vehicle, state of residence, and chosen coverages, limits and deductibles are just a few of the many details that impact rates.
As a general guideline, expect to pay a few thousand dollars per year for a teenage driver’s car insurance coverage. Rates frequently start in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, with most policies in the middle 50% of this range. Adding a driver to your own policy could cost less than this.
Young drivers should see their premiums decrease slowly as they get older and gain experience, and could eventually have access to cheap car insurance. Any accident or traffic ticket could cause rates to spike, however.
How Are Rates Determined for Young Drivers?
Insurance companies usually calculate young drivers’ rates according to the same criteria that they use for older drivers. Insurers just weigh certain criteria differently for young drivers. Details about the driver being insured and the vehicle being insured heavily influence insurers’ calculations. Some will offer cheap car insurance, while others will have expensive policies.
Each insurance company will consider different factors differently, which is one of the reasons why premiums vary across companies. The only way to know exactly how any specific insurer will calculate premiums for a specific driver and situation is by requesting a customized quote. Young drivers can see how various insurers calculate premiums for them by requesting several customized quotes from different companies.
What Are the Different Types of Car Insurance for Teens?
Teenage car insurance providers make many coverages available through their policies. States mandate minimum levels of certain coverages, and drivers can choose to purchase other coverages. Coverages to consider include:
- Bodily Injury Coverage: Covers injuries to persons in other vehicles, and pedestrians
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Covers injuries to persons within the insured vehicle
- Medical Payments Coverage: Covers medical costs associated with injuries to persons within the vehicle
- Property Damage Liability Coverage: Covers damage to other people’s or businesses’ physical property
- Collision Coverage: Covers damage to the insured vehicle that occurs during multi-vehicle accidents
- Comprehensive Coverage: Covers damage to the vehicle that occurs during non-accident incidents
- Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) Coverage: Covers the difference between a vehicle’s value, and the balance on a lease or loan
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Covers accidents involving insufficiently insured drivers
How Much Coverage Does a Teen Driver Need?
Most states mandate minimum amounts of personal injury protection and property damage liability, and some states have additional requirements. Leases and loans might have additional requirements for comprehensive, collision and GAP coverages, which protect the vehicle.
Teen drivers need at least the levels of coverage that their state stipulates, and the coverages that any lease or loan calls for. Many teen drivers should consider additional coverages and higher limits.
Exactly what coverages and limits a teen driver should purchase depend on the driver’s situation, and the situation of their family if they share a policy with their parents. Drivers should consider different coverages, limits and deductibles in light of how much an accident, injury or lawsuit could cost them. Purchasing substantial coverage in a teen car insurance policy is often wise.
While reducing coverages or other protections can be tempting, coverages shouldn’t be sacrificed simply to save a little on premiums. The potential cost of an accident or other claim is much greater than any premium savings.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Car Insurance for Young Drivers?
Some of the factors that influence young drivers’ insurance rates can be controlled, but other factors can’t.
Driver experience, driver age, location, marital status (presumably single) and credit score (in most states) all affect rates. Young drivers are obviously inexperienced, young, usually single, and have little credit history, and there’s little they can do about this. That’s one of the main reasons why teen car insurance rates are higher.
Some factors that drivers can control include their driving habits, chosen coverages, limits and deductibles, vehicle, driver safety training, grades and similar details.
How We Chose the Best Auto Insurance for Teens
We considered multiple criteria when conducting this car insurance review. We generally considered cost (median annual premium, pricing methodology), availability (regional/national), customer service (complaint scores, J.D. Power ratings, Consumer Reports ratings), and coverage choice.