Cheap Car Insurance for 18 Year Old Drivers (2023)

18-year-old drivers pay an average of $390 per month for full coverage car insurance—but staying on a parent’s policy could save you 40%.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Edited by Kathleen Flear
Car insurance
costs 18-year-old drivers an average of $390 per month—but with tons of rating factors affecting insurance costs for teenagers, it’s even more important to
compare insurance quotes
  • As high-risk new drivers, 18 year olds pay an average of $390 per month for
    full coverage car insurance
  • 18-year-olds who stay on a family policy save about 40% compared to 18-year-olds on their own policies. 
  • USAA and GEICO are the best major insurers for 18-year-olds, but small companies like Dairyland and Bristol West may offer lower average rates. 
  • A used Mazda 3 hatchback or Toyota RAV4 are two of the best cars to insure for an 18-year-old.

How much is car insurance for 18 year olds? 

Car insurance costs 18-year-old drivers an average of $390 per month, or $4,680 per year, for a separate full-coverage policy. But 18-year-olds who stay on a parent’s policy pay considerably less—just $231 per month, on average. 

Average cost of car insurance for teenage drivers

Age
Cost of standalone policy
Cost to add to a family policy
16
$470 per month
$275 per month
17
$445 per month
$260 per month
18
$390 per month
$231 per month
19
$358 per month
$212 per month
18-year-old drivers pay 12% less than 17-year-olds, but 9% more than 19-year olds. 
By 18, most teen drivers have been on the road for at least a year, and that driving experience translates into slightly lower car insurance premiums. But age isn’t the only thing that affects
teen auto insurance rates
. Other
key rating factors
include: 
  • Gender: 18-year-old male drivers pay 15% more, on average, than 18-year-old female or non-binary drivers. 
  • Accidents and violations: An at-fault accident or moving violation will add surcharges to your car insurance policy regardless of age group—and teen drivers have a higher rate of both. 
  • Vehicle type: Teens that drive affordable vehicles with high safety ratings have lower premiums than teens driving sports cars or luxury vehicles
card cover
Why is car insurance more expensive for teen boys?

Female drivers aged 16 to 19 pay approximately 15% less than male drivers for the same coverage. Why? 

  • Car insurance companies see teen boys as a higher risk for speeding, unsafe driving, and insurance claims. 
  • According to IIHS, the fatal crash rate for male drivers aged 16-19 is nearly twice the rate for female drivers in the same age range. 
  • Statistics show that male drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behavior like drinking while driving, speeding, and not using seatbelts. 
  • California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania ban insurance providers from using gender as a rating factor. 

The cheapest car insurance companies for 18 year old drivers

To find the best rate for 18-year-old car insurance, you’ll need to compare quotes from several different insurers. In our analysis of car insurance rates for 18-year-olds, we found that: 

The best major insurers for 18-year-olds

Insurance company
Average annual rate for an 18-year-old driver
USAA
$3,457
GEICO
$4,075
State Farm
$4,352
Nationwide
$4,849
Allstate
$5,815
Progressive
$6,658

The best small insurance companies for 18-year-old drivers

Insurance company
Average annual rate for an 18-year-old driver
Dairyland
$2,188
The General
$2,425
AAA
$2,836
Bristol West
$3,695
Stick to the family plan: For most 18-year-olds, it’s approximately 40% (!!!) cheaper to stay on a parent’s auto insurance policy than to buy their own policy. Staying with your family’s current insurer could help you preserve any loyalty or bundling discounts—but it’s also worth comparing rates whenever you add a new driver. 

How much car insurance coverage does an 18-year-old need?

If you have an 18-year-old driver in your household, your car insurance policy should include: 
  • High liability limits:
    State minimum coverage
    can leave your family underinsured. Aim for $100,000/$300,000 of bodily injury liability and $100,000 of property damage liability coverage. 
  • Collision and comprehensive: If an 18-year-old is driving your car, it should be covered with both
    collision coverage
    and
    comprehensive coverage
    sufficient to replace the vehicle. 
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay: Some form of
    PIP
    can supplement your health insurance coverage in the event of an accident—which is common with 18-year-old drivers. 
  • Other state-mandated coverages: If your state requires
    uninsured motorist coverage
    or other add-ons, you’ll need to have them on your policy. 
  • Roadside assistance: While it’s not essential,
    towing and labor coverage
    is a cheap add-on for a full coverage car insurance policy that can add peace of mind for families with teen drivers. 

How comparing car insurance quotes can help teens and families save on car insurance

  • Insurers handle risk differently: All insurance companies base premiums on the estimated risk associated with drivers in your household, but they calculate risk differently. For example, Progressive assigns a much lower risk factor to drivers with DUIs than other insurers. 
  • Discount amounts vary: Most insurers offer a good student discount to young drivers with good grades in high school or college, but the amount and terms of the discount vary from company to company. 
  • Usage-based insurance apps aren’t created equal: A telematics discount that offers savings based on actual driving habits can be a game-changer for families with teens—but some usage-based apps, like
    Progressive’s Snapshot
    and
    GEICO’s DriveEasy
    , could actually raise your rates. 

Can an 18-year-old get their own car insurance?

Yes, but it’s typically not a good idea. 
As legal adults, 18-year-olds can purchase car insurance on their own without input from a parent or guardian, but it’s almost always cheaper to keep an 18-year-old on a parent’s policy as long as their permanent address remains the same. 
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.

The best safe driving programs for 18 year olds

Even if you don’t have violations or accidents on your record, a short driving history means high rates—but usage-based insurance programs are starting to change that. 
Most insurance companies now offer telematics programs that use a GPS-powered app or plug-in device to track driving behavior in exchange for potential discounts. Here are some of the best usage-based insurance programs for teens and young adults: 
  • State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save / Steer Clear: State Farm offers two safe driving programs, including one specifically for drivers under 25, for a total potential discount of 45% off your premium.
  • Safeco’s RightTrack: Safeco offers drivers who enroll in the RightTrack program a discount of up to 30%, including an automatic discount just for signing up.
  • American Family’s Teen Safe Driver: American Family offers an app that tracks distracted driving and other unsafe teen driving behaviors to improve performance and earn a 10% policy discount.

An SUV or hatchback could help lower insurance costs for 18-year-old drivers 

According to experts at IIHS and Consumer Reports, the best cars for teen drivers are small or midsize SUVs, hatchbacks, and sedans—preferably a few model years old. 
The 2023 IIHS/CR Safe Vehicles for Teens list includes the following used and new models as “Best Choices”: 
Opting for a safer used vehicle over a brand-new sports car or truck could translate to significant savings on car insurance for 18-year-olds. 

Insurance cost comparison: Mazda3 hatchback vs. Dodge Charger GT

Model
Average annual insurance premium
$1,904
$4,349

The best car insurance discounts for 18-year-old drivers

When shopping for auto insurance for an 18-year-old driver, look for companies that offer the following discounts: 
  • Safe driver/accident-free discounts: Many insurers reward policyholders who stay accident-free for three to five years with discounts that average around 20%.  
  • Good student discounts: A good student discount is one of the largest discounts available for teens, with an average savings of 11%. 
  • Multi-policy discounts: Bundling a car insurance policy with a homeowners or renters policy can soften the blow of adding a teen to your policy. 
  • Distant student discounts: If your 18-year-old is off to college at least 100 miles from home, check to see if your insurance company offers a student away-at-school discount. 
Other ways to save: Raising your deductible, improving your credit score, or enrolling all household members in a defensive driving course could all lower your rates with an 18-year-old driver. 

FAQs

Methodology

Our editorial team analyzed rate information from publicly available sources including ValuePenguin, MarketWatch, QuoteWizard, Forbes, The Zebra, MoneyGeek, Bankrate, Carinsurance.com, Insurify, Way.com, and PolicyGenius to arrive at the average estimates included in this article. Quoting information for Dairyland, The General, AAA, and Bristol West comes from an analysis of quotes for real Jerry customers. 

Sources

The cheapest insurance for 18-year-olds is a parent’s policy. Always compare car insurance quotes from at least three different providers when adding a new driver to your policy. 
Jerry is a licensed insurance broker app that compares real quotes from over 55 of the nation’s best car insurance companies in under a minute, saving families time and money.
Car insurance rates typically go down by an average of 12% at age 18, but they’ll stay higher than the national average for a few more years. 
The average cost to insure a Ford Mustang is $3,104 per year—but for 18-year-olds, you can expect the cost to be considerably higher: around $5,000 or more. 
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