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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. 

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

Do you need auto insurance with a learner’s permit?

Drivers who have a learner’s permit are not legally required to have their own car insurance policy. In fact, it’s difficult to get a car insurance policy without a driver’s license. However, first time drivers must learn to drive on a car that is insured. So, if a new driver is learning to drive in their parent’s vehicle, their parent must have an active car insurance policy. 

Can you get car insurance with a learner’s permit?

From a legal perspective, you can get car insurance with a learner’s permit. There’s no law that prohibits car insurance companies from issuing policies to drivers without a license. However, getting good insurance for new drivers with only a permit can be challenging and is often expensive. In addition, not every car insurance company will cover a driver that only has a learner’s permit, regardless of their age.

Do I need to add my child with a permit to my car insurance?

After your child gets their learner’s permit, it’s a good idea to add them to your car insurance policy, especially if they are going to be driving your vehicle. To add a first time driver, contact your insurance company and let them know that your child will be learning to drive with your car. 

Depending on your car insurance company, you might not have to formally add the new driver as an operator until they have their license. However, the insurance company will still want to know if a new driver is learning to drive on a vehicle they are insuring.

How to get car insurance for new drivers over 21-year-olds?

Getting car insurance for new drivers over 21 starts with comparing quotes from top providers and selecting a policy that fits your needs and budget. Some providers also offer discounts for new drivers to lower the cost of car insurance.  

Compare how much insurance costs at the top insurance companies near you

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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.