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Car insurance for new drivers

Most new drivers are eager to get behind the wheel as soon as they leave the DMV with a learner’s permit. However, new drivers and their parents must be aware of the car insurance requirements for first time drivers. Even without a driver’s license, new drivers must have first time car insurance before they can start practicing. 

In this guide, we’ll explain how young drivers can get new driver insurance, how much it costs and how to find the best car insurance for first time drivers.

New driver with rates

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Our rates are based on public rate filings obtained by analytics company First Interpreter. While we may partner with some of the carriers you see on our site, we maintain editorial independence and it does not affect the rates you see. Read more about our rating methodology or see our rigorous editorial policy. 

Written by Alyssa DiCrasto

Reviewed by Rob Deming

Last updated: February 26th, 2024

The average cost of car insurance for new drivers

How much does car insurance cost for new drivers? In general, the cost of first time driver insurance is expensive. This is because car insurance providers assign rates based on how risky your driver profile is to insure. Because new drivers have the least amount of experience behind the wheel, car insurance providers view them as one of the highest risk groups to insure.

Average rates for new drivers by state

Below are the rates in each state for a 17-year-old new driver with a 2022 RAV4. 

Annual rates for a male driving a 2023 RAV4, estimated using public rate filings sourced from First Interpreter. Rates do not represent actual quotes. Accurate as of January 2024. 

Average rates for new drivers by company

Below are the average rates for a 17-year-old new driver with a 2022 RAV4 by top national companies. 

Company Average Annual Premium
USAA 5,551
Auto-Owners Insurance 5,768
Nationwide 6,677
State Farm 7,061
Geico 7,728
Travelers 8,090
Progressive 9,878
Allstate 10,780
Farmers 12,128

Annual rates for a male driving a 2023 RAV4, estimated using public rate filings sourced from First Interpreter. Rates do not represent actual quotes. Accurate as of January 2024. 

Cost of adding a new driver to an exisiting policy

The rates above assume the new driver is the primary driver on the insurance policy. It’s often much cheaper for new drivers to join an existing policy, such as a parent’s policy. Parents who add a first time driver to their policy can expect their premium to increase significantly. 

How adding a teenager affects your rates 2 infographic_Teens - New Drivers - How adding a teenager affects your rate

Remember, the car insurance price for new drivers will be unique to each individual. Insurance companies calculate premiums based on factors like the driver’s age, their location, the desired policies and coverage limits, the make and model of the vehicle and the annual mileage.

In addition, you can often get cheap car insurance for first time drivers by taking advantage of discounts. For example, many insurers offer special discounts to students who get good grades in school or new drivers that completed a driver’s education course. Parents may also qualify for discounts for bundling policies, paying the premium in full, insuring two or more vehicles on the same policy and maintaining a clean claim history.

The best car insurance for new drivers

The best insurance for a new driver depends on many factors. There isn’t a single best car insurance company that is the best option for everyone. For example, some drivers want the cheapest rates they can find. Others are looking for certain coverage options or discounts. And for others, the best insurance companies for new drivers have the best customer service.

Find the best car insurance for new drivers by taking our five-question quick start quiz. Based on your responses, you’ll receive personalized rate estimates for the top-rated car insurance companies in your state. You can click “get a quote” to see how much you’ll pay for the type and amount of coverage you want.

For a deeper look into car insurance for teens, visit one of the guides below to see data, insights, and recommendations specific to the age you’re most interested in:

Cheap car insurance for first time drivers

What are the different types of car insurance for first time drivers?

New drivers are required to have car insurance before they can legally drive. However, they aren’t required to have their own car insurance policy. In most cases, young adults who receive a learner’s permit are insured on their parent’s policy until they get a car of their own.

First time drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, based on the laws in their state. In most states, all drivers (regardless of age) must carry personal liability insurance, with minimum coverage limits per person and per accident. Here’s what personal liability insurance covers:

  • Bodily injury liability: If you cause an accident, your bodily injury liability policy will compensate the other driver for their medical bills and lost wages if they get injured.
  • Property damage liability: If you hit another driver and their vehicle gets damaged, property damage liability insurance helps pay for their car’s repairs. It may also cover the cost of repairing private property, like a fence or mailbox, if you cause an accident.

The most important thing to know about liability insurance is that it does not provide any protection for you or your vehicle. As a result, most first time drivers can benefit from additional coverage. Here are some coverage options that can be beneficial to new drivers:

  • Collision insurance: Helps cover repairs to your own vehicle after an accident you cause, up to the actual cash value (ACV) of your car, minus your deductible.
  • Comprehensive insurance: Pays for your vehicle’s repairs after a non-collision incident like theft, vandalism, weather damage or flood damage. Often, comprehensive insurance policies pay out based on the ACV of your car, less a deductible.
  • New car replacement coverage: If your car gets totaled, this policy compensates you for the cost of a new vehicle of a similar make and model to your old car.
  • Gap insurance: If your car is leased or financed and the vehicle gets totaled before it’s paid off, gap insurance covers the difference between the car’s diminished value and the remaining balance.
  • Roadside assistance: Covers the cost of basic roadside repairs, such as a new battery, towing up to a certain mileage and flat tire changes. It will also cover fuel delivery if you run out of gas.

How to get affordable car insurance for new drivers

Whether you’re a brand new 16-year-old driver or in your 20s looking for cheap car insurance for young adults, you have options. Here are a few steps you can take to get the best car insurance rates.  

1. Shop around and compare car insurance rates

To find affordable car insurance regardless of your driving history, shop around and compare rates from top auto insurance companies. There can be a big difference in rates from one company to the next, so it’s important to compare your options from three to five companies.  

Start today by finding the top insurance providers for your driver profile with Rate Retriever 

2. Ask about driver discounts

Some auto insurance companies offer discounts to help lower the cost of car insurance for new drivers, such as completing a Driver’s Education course or a Defensive Driving course. 

3. Only purchase the coverage you need ​

Each state has auto insurance requirements for the type and amount of insurance every driver must carry to operate a vehicle legally. However, you may find that you want more coverage than your state’s minimum requirements. It’s most important that you feel safe and confident on the road, and your policy meets your unique needs. 

4. Raise your deductible

Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket for accident damages before your insurance covers the rest. If you raise your deductible, you will typically pay less annually for your premium.  However, you should only raise your deductible if you can afford to pay the higher deductible out-of-pocket in case of an accident. 

Car insurance FAQs for new drivers

How to get car insurance for a new driver over 21 years old?

To get car insurance for a new driver over 21 years old, you can start by comparing quotes from different insurance companies. You will need to provide personal information, like your age, driving history, and the type of car you drive. It’s important to shop around for the best coverage and rates that fit your needs and budget. Finally, choose a policy that meets your state’s requirements and offers adequate protection for you and your vehicle. You may find that your insurance premiums are higher, as insurance companies tend to charge more for people without a history of being insured. In this case, your rates should go down each year as you maintain a clean driving record and insurance history.

How does car insurance work for new drivers?

Car insurance works for new drivers by providing coverage in case of accidents or damages to their car. New drivers usually pay higher rates because they are considered higher risk due to their lack of driving experience. Insurance companies evaluate factors such as age, gender, and location to determine rates. New drivers can lower their premiums by completing driving courses, maintaining a clean driving record, and choosing a higher deductible. It is important for new drivers to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance companies to find the best coverage that fits their needs and budget.

What factors affect the cost of car insurance for new drivers?

The factors that affect the cost of car insurance for new drivers include age, driving record, type of car, location, and level of coverage. Younger drivers typically have higher insurance premiums due to their lack of experience on the road. A clean driving record can lead to lower rates, while accidents or tickets can cause them to increase. The type of car being insured, where it’s located, and the amount of coverage also play a role in determining the cost. Shopping around and comparing quotes from different insurance companies can help new drivers find the best rates.

Can I get car insurance as a new driver if I don’t own a car?

Yes, you can get car insurance as a new driver even if you don’t own a car. This type of insurance is called non-owners car insurance and it provides coverage when you drive someone else’s car. It’s a good option for new drivers who may occasionally borrow or rent a car. Non-owners car insurance typically offers liability coverage, which pays for damages you cause to another person or their property while driving. Be sure to check with insurance providers to see if they offer this type of coverage.

Are there any specific types of coverage that are essential for new drivers?

Yes, there are specific types of coverage that are essential for new drivers. Liability insurance is required by law in most states and helps cover costs if you’re at fault in an accident. Collision coverage pays for damage to your car in a crash, while comprehensive coverage helps with damage from things like theft or weather. Additionally, uninsured motorist coverage can protect you if someone without insurance hits you. It’s important for new drivers to have these types of coverage to stay protected on the road.

Can I stay on my parents’ car insurance policy as a new driver?

Yes, as a new driver that lives at home, you can usually stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. This can help save money because insurance companies often give discounts to families with multiple drivers. However, it’s important to check with your parents’ insurance company to make sure they allow new drivers on their policy. They may require you to be a certain age or have a clean driving record. It’s also important to understand that adding a new driver to the policy may increase the cost, so make sure to discuss this with your parents before making any decisions.

How does my driving experience affect my car insurance rates as a new driver?

As a new driver, your driving experience can greatly impact your car insurance rates. Insurance companies consider how long you have been driving, any accidents or tickets you may have had, and how you drive in general. The more experience you have and the safer you drive, the lower your insurance rates may be. On the other hand, if you have a history of accidents or moving violations, your rates could be higher. It is important to drive safely and responsibly to not only protect yourself and others on the road, but also to potentially save money on your car insurance.

Are there any discounts available for new drivers to help lower insurance costs?

Yes, many insurance companies offer discounts for new drivers to help lower insurance costs. These discounts can include good student discounts, safe driver discounts, and discounts for completing driver’s education courses. New drivers may also be able to save money by bundling their auto insurance with other policies, such as home or renter’s insurance. It’s important to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance companies to find the best deal.

What should I do if I’m involved in a car accident as a new driver?

If you’re in a car accident as a new driver, the first thing to do is stay calm. Check if anyone is hurt and call 911 if needed. Exchange information with the other driver, like names, phone numbers, and insurance details. Take pictures of the scene and any damage to the cars. If you have a smartphone or camera, document as much as you can. Contact your insurance company to report the accident. It’s important to stay patient and cooperate with authorities to handle the situation responsibly.

Do I need to notify my insurance company if I get a speeding ticket or other traffic violation as a new driver?

Yes, as a new driver, you should notify your insurance company if you get a speeding ticket or any other traffic violation. Not telling them could lead to higher insurance rates or even having your policy canceled. It’s important to be honest with your insurance company to avoid any surprises down the road. It’s better to be safe than sorry and communicate any changes to ensure you are properly covered.

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Rate Retriever rates are based on public rate filings obtained by analytics company First Interpreter. This data comes from the rating plans insurance carriers submit to each state’s department of insurance. Rating plans detail how each carrier calculates premiums using factors such as location, age, gender, and driving record, and they ensure that insurance premiums are both fair and competitive.  

For the data on this page, we made the following assumptions: a single male with a clean driving record and Good credit score, driving a 2023 RAV4. We adjusted this profile by age to determine the rates you see on this page. 

These rates are not actual quotes and should be used only for comparative purposes. Your rates can vary significantly based on your unique driver profile. 

About Rate Retriever

At Rate Retriever, our mission is to make the way you shop for insurance transparent and fair through user-friendly tools that respect your privacy and deliver reliable, comprehensive results 

So we took everything we hated about comparing insurance quotes online – the spam, the long questionnaires, the limited choices, the inaccuracy of quote prices – and threw it out the window, favoring a short form that more accurately estimates what you’ll pay at each of the top insurance providers near you. 

Rate Retriever is an independent company that is not owned by an insurance provider, nor do we provide insurance ourselves. This independence allows us to be your free and impartial insurance research tool, helping you make the best decisions for your insurance needs.  

We may earn a commission when you click one of the links or call one of the providers listed on our site; however, we do not allow our partnerships to influence which information we provide.