The Best Cheap Car Insurance for Teens (2024)

Nationwide is the best major insurance company for families with teens, but smaller insurance companies also offer competitive rates.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Edited by Kathleen Flear
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Teen drivers pay the highest rates for
car insurance
of any age group thanks to limited driving experience and high car-accident rates. 
  • Full-coverage car insurance for teen drivers costs an average of $3,962 per year, or $330 per month. 
  • It costs approximately $2,055 more per year to buy a standalone policy for a teen driver than to add them to an existing car insurance policy. 
  • Nationwide is one of the best car insurance companies for families with teens, thanks to low rates and generous discounts. 
  • In most cases, it’s best to keep a teen on a family policy until they move out permanently.
  • Compare car insurance quotes
    from multiple providers when adding or removing a teen from your insurance. 

How much is auto insurance for teens?

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The Cost of Teen Car Insurance

  • Average cost to add a teenager to a parent's policy: $2,934 per year
  • Average cost of a standalone policy for a teen driver: $4,989 per year
  • Average cost of coverage for teen boys: $5,502 per year
  • Average cost of coverage for teen girls: $4,772 per year
Young drivers pay the highest rates for car insurance when insured on a separate policy. A teenager with a good driving record can expect to pay between $358 and $470 a month for a basic
full-coverage insurance
policy. 
As driving experience increases, the cost of coverage decreases. A 19-year-old driver pays $1,344 less in annual premiums, on average, than a 16-year-old driver. 
Age
Monthly cost of a standalone full-coverage policy
Monthly cost to add to a parent's full-coverage policy
16
$470
$275
17
$445
$260
18
$390
$231
19
$358
$212

The best car insurance companies for teen drivers

USAA, Nationwide, and GEICO are the cheapest major insurance companies for a full-coverage policy with teen drivers. Compare rates from high-profile insurers in the table below. 
Insurance company
Average annual rate to add a teen driver
Average annual rate for 18-year-olds  (standalone policy)
$1,497
$3,457
$2,078
$4,849
$2,369
$4,075
$2,830
$4,351
$3,517
$5,815
$3,714
$6,658
USAA is a good choice for military families, and GEICO is the best option for low-priced coverage for drivers with clean driving records and good credit. But for most families, Nationwide has significant advantages: 
  • Full-time students aged 16 to 24 years old with a B average or better can earn an average of 15% off their car insurance with Nationwide’s
    good student discount
  • Nationwide’s optional accident forgiveness ensures that your rates won’t go up after your first at-fault accident. 
  • Nationwide offers two usage-based insurance products:
    SmartRide®,
    which offers savings for safe drivers, and SmartMiles®, which offers low pay-per-mile rates for teens who don’t drive much. 
  • According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Nationwide has a significantly lower rate of customer complaints than USAA or GEICO. 

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The cheapest car insurance companies for teen drivers on their own policy

Most teen drivers find the best auto insurance rates on a family member’s existing policy—but what if you need to find insurance coverage on your own? 
Many solo teen drivers are best off with
a smaller insurance company
that offers affordable car insurance to drivers with high-risk levels. The table below compares average rates from some of the best smaller companies for teen drivers aged 16 to 19. 
Insurance companyAverage annual premiumAverage monthly premium
Nationwide$1,677$140
State Auto$1,971$164
Electric
$2,092$174
Anchor General$2,274$190
Commonwealth Insurance$2,279$190
National General$2,358$196
Kemper$2,477$206
Aspire Advantage$2,519$210
Infinity$2,566$214
Plymouth Rock$2,622$219

How to optimize your car insurance policy for teen drivers

  • In 2021, 3,058 teenagers aged 13 to 19 died in the US from injuries related to a car crash. 
  • Teen crashes are more likely to involve driver error, especially excessive speeds. 
  • 26% of fatally injured teen drivers aged 16 to 19 had positive blood alcohol concentrations (BACs). 
  • The risk of a car accident goes up when teens drive with passengers. 
  • The fatal crash risk for drivers aged 16 to 19 is 4 times higher at night. 
Teen drivers pay high car insurance rates because of the added risk they carry as new drivers. While safe driving habits can help to lower those rates, it’s a good idea to carry a higher level of coverage with a teen driver on your policy. 

Any car insurance policy that covers teenage drivers should include… 

  • 100/300/100 liability insurance: A single crash with a teen driver can generate liability costs well above $100,000. Aim for 100/300/100 in bodily injury and property damage
    liability coverage
    as long as you have a teen driver on your policy. 
  • Generous full coverage: If you don’t already have
    collision
    and
    comprehensive coverage
    on your auto insurance policy, add enough to cover the value of your vehicle. (Tip: A higher deductible can help offset the extra cost of coverage.)
  • Roadside assistance:
    Towing and labor coverage
    is a smart add-on for inexperienced drivers, who often aren’t equipped to handle a mechanical breakdown. 
  • Accident forgiveness: Choose an insurance provider that won’t raise your premiums after your (or your teen’s) first at-fault accident—minor or major. 
MORE: How much do car accidents cost?

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How to add or remove a teen driver from your insurance

In general, you should add your child to your car insurance policy as soon as they earn their driver’s license (or, in some states, their learner’s permit). Adding a teen driver to your car insurance will raise your rates by an average of 46%, but it could save you over $2,000 compared to purchasing a separate policy. 
To add a teen driver to your family policy: 
  • Option A: Call your insurance agent and ask to add a driver to your policy. You’ll have the opportunity to adjust your coverage. 
  • Option B: Log onto your online account or your insurer’s mobile app and add your teen under the policy management section. 
  • Option C: Compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers to evaluate whether it’s time to switch. 
Adding a new driver to your policy can significantly raise your insurance premiums, so it’s always worth comparing quotes to find the best fit for your changing household. 
In most cases, it’s cheaper to keep a teen driver on your policy until they reach about 22 or 23. But if your teen gets married, moves to a different permanent address, or owns their own vehicle, you may need to remove them from your policy. 
To remove a teen driver from your policy: 
  • Option A: Call your insurance agent and explain the situation. If your teen still lives in your household, you can have them listed as an “excluded driver” on your policy—meaning they won’t be covered if they drive your vehicle. 
  • Option B: Log onto your online account or your insurer’s mobile app to remove your teen under the policy management section. 
  • Option C: Compare insurance quotes from new providers and find the company with the lowest rate without your teen. 
When to remove a teen driver from your car insurance
There is no age cutoff for teens on a parent's policy. Here's when to take your child off your policy:
  • When they move out: If your child has a different permanent address, they will need a separate car insurance policy.
  • When they buy their own car: If your child has a vehicle registered in their own name, they'll need their own insurance policy where they are listed as the primary named insured.
  • When they turn 22 or 23: It's not an exact science, but this is the average age when it becomes cheaper for most young drivers to have their own car insurance policies.

Keeping the cost of car insurance for teen drivers low

Teen car insurance is notoriously expensive, but it’s not impossible to save. Use the targeted tips below to save on the cost of coverage: 
  • Ask your insurer about discounts: Most insurance companies offer car insurance discounts to teens with good grades, college students away at school, and good drivers who track their driving with a telematics app. 
  • Enroll in a defensive driving course: In most states, taking a defensive driving course can earn you a discounted rate on car insurance—not to mention improving your teen’s driving skills. 
  • Look into teen safe driver programs: Some insurance companies, like State Farm and American Family, offer driving programs for teens that combine driver education with safe driver discounts. 
  • Buy a slow SUV with ESC: Large vehicles with low horsepower and electronic stability control (ESC) are the safest vehicles for teen drivers, according to IIHS.
    3
     
  • Bundle your policies: Multi-policy and multi-vehicle discounts can help you save on coverage, especially if your teen has their own car. 
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Methodology

Our editorial team analyzed publicly available data from a wide range of sources, including ValuePenguin, MarketWatch, Forbes, QuoteWizard, The Zebra, Insurify, CarInsurance.com, PolicyGenius, and Bankrate. Average cost data is based on full-coverage policies. 
Our team also analyzed real insurance quotes from thousands of Jerry customers to generate average costs for Nationwide, State Auto, Electric, Commonwealth Insurance, National General, Kemper, Infinity, Aspire Advantage, Plymouth Rock, and Safeco. 

Sources

  1. https://www.iihs.org/topics/teenagers#vehicle-choice
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