Cheap car insurance for teens

This page features nine important FAQs pertaining to teen car insurance.

This information will help families of teens who are learning to drive, getting their first cars, and getting their first drivers’ licenses. It’s as exciting a time for teens as it is a scary time for parents. It’s painful watching our kids grow up. We miss them already and they haven’t even left home yet. We worry about them getting hurt, and now they want to operate motor vehicles.

Nonetheless, some rites of passage cannot be avoided. It is only natural for children to grow up, and driving is still a necessity (not to mention a glorious milestone of freedom!) for so many million teens across America. So it will serve us well (and perhaps also save us some money) to at least stay informed of the auto insurance options available for teen drivers in the United States. We can also impart a few safety tips. After that, we can only keep our fingers crossed.

Here are the nine most frequently asked questions regarding teen driving and teen car insurance.

What are the best companies for teen car insurance?

Most car insurance companies are willing to write teen car insurance policies. However, some car insurance companies will not write policies for people who have no prior insurance. Still, other companies will. We can always get insurance for our vehicles if we shop around enough. Here are nine major auto insurance companies that have special discounts, programs, and other accommodations specifically designed for teen drivers. Visit any of the following websites for teen car insurance quotes:

Allstate Insurance: Allstate has quite a few discount programs for teen drivers. You should also visit Allstate’s website for a few handy apps, such as Allstate Mobile, Allstate Motor Club, Drive Wise, Digital Locker, and Quick Trip. The Allstate website also features a socially responsible “teen memory wall,” where each brick displays the image of a teen that died in a traffic accident. The teen memory wall serves as a sobering reminder for teens to always practice safe driving.

Esurance: Esurance features a number of discounts to entice teen drivers. Included in the discounts at Esurance are the good student discount (for students under the age of 25 who maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average), the vehicle safety discount (for driving vehicles with factory installed safety features such as dual airbags), and the multi vehicle discount (for teen drivers who add their own cars onto the existing policy of their parents).

Farmers Insurance: The Farmers Insurance website offers important safety tips for the parents of teen drivers. The site also features articles about the dangers teen drivers face, such as distracted driving and impulsive behavior.

Geico: The Geico website features a number of articles pertaining to teen driving, including one that shows you how to transfer from your parents’ policy to your own individual policy at the lowest possible rate.

Liberty Mutual Insurance: This car insurance company offers 12 month policies on teen car insurance, as well as a number of discounts. Discounts that might apply to teen drivers include a 10 percent reduction in premium costs if the teen’s parents are affiliated with any of more than 14,000 organizations that partner with Liberty Mutual. Among these organizations are local employers, alumni groups, and professional associations.

Liberty Mutual also has a live away student discount for students who live more than 100 miles from home, which would mean they rarely use the family car. Other perks from Liberty Mutual that would benefit teens include 24/7 roadside assistance, 24/7 claims service, new car replacement, and a lifetime repair guarantee. You can stay safe and also save money on teen car insurance at Liberty Mutual.

Nationwide Group: This company’s website features many interesting and useful articles aimed at teen drivers. Topics include safe driving tips, the dangers of distracted driving, lowering premium costs on teen car insurance, and quite a few other useful tidbits of advice for teen drivers and their parents. Nationwide also offers a good student discount, an anti theft device discount, a defensive driving class discount, and others.

Progressive Insurance: This company offers a loyalty discount to drivers who wish to add a teen to their policy, as opposed to buying an individual teen car insurance policy. This discount is available to drivers who hold active policies for more than one year. This will certainly cut your costs on teen car insurance.

Shelter Insurance: This insurance company, like the others mentioned here, has its own unique set of discounts and incentives to entice teen drivers. Shelter teen car insurance discounts include the Safe Driver Discount, the Passive Restraint Discount, the Driver Training Course Discount, the Accident Prevention Course Discount, the Good Student Discount, and others.

State Farm Insurance: State Farm offers several teen car insurance discount programs. Among them are the Safety Feature Discount for choosing a car with first rate safety features, the Safe Driver Discount for avoiding accidents and moving violations over a period of three years, the Good Student Discount for earning a GPA of 3.0 or better at any accredited high school or college, and the Steer Clear Driver Discount program, where teens can get a further discount on premium costs for taking a traffic safety class.

What is the minimum legal driving age in America?

The legal minimum age for driving on public roads in America varies from state to state, and also depends on the type of license in question. Restricted licenses can be issued to younger drivers, but rules apply. For instance, in some states, a driver with a learner’s permit can only drive with a licensed driver riding in the passenger seat, and only during daylight hours.

Here is a table showing a list of U.S. States, along with the minimum age in each state for young drivers to get learner’s permits and restricted licenses, as well as full fledged driver’s licenses:

State Learner’s Restricted Full License
Alaska141616 ½
Arizona15 ½ 1616 ½
Arkansas141616 ½
California15 ½ 1617
Connecticut1616 ½ 18
Delaware1616 ½ 17
DC1616 ½ 18
Georgia 151618
Hawaii15 ½ 1617
Idaho14 ½ 1516
Indiana1516 ½ 18
Kansas141616 ½
Kentucky1616 ½ 17
Maine151616 ½
Maryland15 ½ 16 ½ 18
Massachusetts1616 ½ 18
Michigan 14 ½ 1617
Minnesota151616 ½
Mississippi 151616 ½
Montana14 ½ 1516
Nevada15 ½ 1618
New Hampshire15 ½ 1617
New Jersey161718
New Mexico1515 ½ 16 ½
New York1516 ½ 18
North Carolina 151616 ½
North Dakota 141516
Ohio15 ½ 1618
Oklahoma15 ½ 1616 ½
Pennsylvania1616 ½ 18
Rhode Island1616 ½ 17 ½
South Carolina1515 ½ 16 ½
South Dakota1414 ½ 16
Vermont151616 ½
Virginia15 ½ 16 ½ 18
Washington 151617
West Virginia151617
Wisconsin15 ½ 1616 ½
Wyomingn/a1616 ½

What are the best types of automobiles for teen drivers?

The best kinds of autos for teen drivers are the safe and inexpensive kind. If you’re buying a car for your teen, be sure to get a car that handles well, with added safety features such as automatic seat belts and dual airbags. This will help keep your teen safe while driving, not to mention scoring you a discount on your teen car insurance premium rates.

It will also help if you don’t have to break the bank in the event that you decide to purchase a vehicle for your teen. Get a good, reliable, new or used car. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 83 percent of parents who bought cars for their teens bought used cars instead of new ones. This cuts costs considerably on teen car insurance. Used cars are available in all makes and models on eBay. Select one with a good safety rating.

As for new cars, it seems that the cheapest new car in America at this time is the Nissan Versa, which starts at just under $13,000.

Whether new or used, be sure that the car you buy for your teen driver has all the necessary safety features in place.

Which is better: Buying an individual teen car insurance policy, or adding the teen onto the existing family policy?

Generally speaking, it is cheaper just to add a teen to an existing family policy than it is to purchase an individual teen car insurance policy. However, adding a teen to your existing policy can still increase your rates by as much as 100 percent. Also, depending on the responsibility level of your teen, you may be risking some of the policy perks that got you that low premium rate to begin with.

Still, if your aim is to get auto insurance for your teen, adding the teen’s name to your family car insurance policy may be the best way to buy teen car insurance. However, if you own a luxury car, a sports car, or any other expensive vehicle, it might be better to let the teen have his/her own car insurance policy, since all the drivers listed on a policy share all vehicles listed on that policy. Teen drivers operating luxury cars are sure to get an underwriter’s attention, and not in a good way. Premium rates are sure to rise.

How high are the car insurance premiums for teen drivers?

Although rates will vary, teen drivers can expect to pay as much as three times more than the average driver for car insurance, especially if they have their own policies. Teen drivers tend to have that dangerous combination of being naïve, being impulsive, feeling immortal, and learning new skills. In fact, statistics show that teens are about three times as likely to cause accidents as older drivers are.

As mentioned, even just adding a teen to the family car insurance policy can raise the rates to double what they used to be.

When do a teen’s premium rates start to decrease?

As your teen driver continues to exercise safe driving habits, escape accidents, and avoid moving violations, the teen’s driving record will steadily improve, and rates should come down within three years. Then the teen will become eligible for a Good Driver discount.

How can we minimize cost of car insurance premiums for a teen driver?

Your teen can help you minimize costs on car insurance premiums by getting good grades, taking a defensive driving course, and of course avoiding traffic incidents. You can reduce costs even further by looking for and finding all available discounts that apply to you and your family. For instance, if you have been a single-car family and your teen is getting his/her own car, you can get a multi vehicle discount by adding the teen to your family policy.

Also, buy your teen basic, used car with good safety features at a relatively low price. This will be cheaper to insure than a new car, a sports car, or any other fancy vehicle.

Finally, if your teen seems to be a responsible driver, you can also lower your premium rates by raising your deductible amounts accordingly.

What are the accident statistics for teen drivers?

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death of teenagers across the United States.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in car accidents as drivers who are 20 years of age or older.

According to DMV reports, in 2008 alone, there were 6,428 traffic-related fatalities involving young drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2015, approximately 6 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died each day in traffic accidents, with hundreds of thousands more teens seriously injured. What’s worse, the number of teens killed in car accidents increased by 10 percent in 2016. Authorities are convinced that the biggest contributing factor in these crashes is distracted driving.

 What are the most important safe driving habits teen drivers should learn?

Developing safe driving habits are the best way to avoid accidents and keep your premium rates as low as possible. Here are some important safe driving habits that teen drivers are well advised to learn:

  1. Defensive Driving: Your teen can learn defensive driving by taking any of a number of defensive driving courses offered by many auto insurance companies across America.
  2. Avoid Distractions: Put away your cell phone while driving. If it rings, don’t answer it. Don’t even try to see who’s calling until you are safely parked. Minimize talking in your vehicle, and limit your passengers to no more than two.
  3. Regarding Other Drivers, Assume the Worst: Always assume the other driver is going to do something crazy or illegal. This will keep you on your toes. What’s more, keep your car away from drivers who appear to be driving erratically.
  4. Don’t Drive When Tired. It’s that simple. If you’re tired, take a nap. Or get someone else to do the driving. Many drivers have died falling asleep at the wheel.
  5. ALWAYS Use Your Turn Signals: When turning or changing lanes, put on your turn signals, even if you don’t see any other vehicles on the road. Just make it a habit.
  6. Beware of Blind Spots. Every car creates blind spots, because parts of your car physically block your view of the immediate surrounding area. Be intensely aware of your blind spots and always check them before turning!
  7. Reduce Your Speed: When driving in bad weather or passing road hazards, always reduce your speed no matter what.
  8. Keep Your Distance: You need to maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles. Don’t tailgate! Many cars get rear ended by distracted tailgaters.
  9. Check Your Safety Features: Every time you intend to drive, test your turn signals, lights, seat belts, alarms, and other safety devices to make sure they are all in working order.
  10. Get Regular Tune Ups: Proper auto maintenance will keep you safer and also keep your premium costs down. Get your oil changed regularly. Check your tire pressure. Listen to the engine and (especially!) keep your brakes in good working order.
  11. Maintain Courteous Interactions With Other Drivers: Driving is not a competitive sport. When in doubt, let others pass first, and ALWAYS give way to large vehicles.

Whether we like it or not, our children are growing up. Still, we always want to keep them safe, no matter how old they get.

At the end of the day, the best we can do is talk to our teens about safe driving, support them through these troubling times, and wish them the very best of luck.