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The cost of adding a teen driver to your car insurance

Written by Elizabeth Rivelli

Reviewed by Alyssa DiCrasto

Last updated: November 28, 2023

Woman driving car

For most teenagers, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage. But before teens can get behind the wheel alone, they need to have car insurance. As the parent or guardian of a newly licensed teen driver, you might have questions about car insurance for teens , including how much it costs. In this guide, we’ll look at the average cost of adding a teen to car insurance and explain how you can lower your premium after adding a young driver to your policy.

Adding a teen driver to your car insurance policy

After your child gets their driver’s license, you have two options. You can add them to your existing car insurance policy or you can purchase a new policy for your teen. In general, adding a teen to your existing policy is the cheaper option. Teens with their own car insurance policy pay extremely high rates for coverage due to their lack of experience and increased risk.

However, parents who add a teen driver to their car insurance policy will still see their premium increase. During this time, it’s important to find ways to reduce your car insurance rate. There are a variety of ways to get a lower teen car insurance price, including shopping around for new quotes that might be more affordable after adding your child to the policy.

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What does it cost to insure a teenage driver?

If your child has recently gotten their driver’s license, you’re probably wondering how to insure them. You might be deciding whether to add them to your own policy or get a new policy for your teen. Looking at average car insurance rates for teens and parents can help you make the best choice for your financial situation. 

The average cost of car insurance for a teen driver on their own insurance policy is significantly higher than the average rate for a parent on their own policy – by about 340%.

When a parent adds a newly licensed driver to their car insurance policy, premiums go up. Our rate data shows that the average rate for a parent and a teen on the same policy, with a single vehicle, is a little more than double (about 147% more per year) the parent’s policy alone. For a parent and a teen on the same policy with two cars, the average rate sits around 240% more per year.

For parents, adding a teen to an existing car insurance policy can be expensive. However, it’s much cheaper than purchasing a new insurance policy for your teen. Adding a teen to your existing policy and insuring two vehicles costs 36% less than having an individual policy for the parent and an individual policy for the teen.

In the table below, you can see the average cost of insuring a 17-year-old driver on their own policy, and on a combined policy with their parent:

State Teen's Policy Parent's Policy Combined
Alabama 8,588 1,531 4,248
Alaska 6,722 1,524 4,062
Arizona 8,866 1,616 4,700
Arkansas 8,459 1,702 4,101
California 5,144 1,923 4,029
Colorado 10,124 1,848 4,239
Connecticut 10,435 1,994 4,942
Delaware 14,276 2,297 5,573
Florida 11,851 2,300 6,135
Georgia 10,961 1,781 5,109
Hawaii 1,701 1,255 1,263
Idaho 6,314 1,072 2,959
Illinois 8,344 1,652 4,166
Indiana 5,906 1,335 3,335
Iowa 6,025 1,390 3,300
Kansas 8,713 1,771 4,114
Kentucky 9,611 1,861 4,942
Louisiana 12,724 2,780 7,497
Maine 5,074 1,186 2,934
Maryland 10,951 2,159 5,581
Massachusetts 6,079 1,647 3,627
Michigan 9,433 2,406 5,799
Minnesota 7,199 1,796 4,551
Mississippi 7,787 1,486 3,920
Missouri 9,264 2,004 4,950
Montana 7,143 1,384 3,008
Nebraska 6,894 1,693 3,885
Nevada 12,800 2,136 6,701
New Hampshire 6,315 1,280 3,259
New Jersey 12,246 2,087 5,676
New Mexico 7,604 1,450 3,591
New York 10,545 3,334 6,903
North Carolina 4,918 1,525 3,172
North Dakota 7,281 1,431 3,427
Ohio 5,703 1,184 2,991
Oklahoma 11,037 1,974 4,412
Oregon 7,873 1,417 3,892
Pennsylvania 7,192 1,863 4,821
Rhode Island 11,605 1,908 5,718
South Carolina 6,972 1,579 4,791
South Dakota 8,051 1,916 4,093
Tennessee 7,514 1,522 4,285
Texas 9,313 2,068 5,204
Utah 10,063 1,582 3,885
Vermont 4,647 1,114 2,958
Virginia 8,420 1,517 4,678
Washington 7,774 1,467 3,735
Washington DC 9,225 1,940 4,399
West Virginia 7,725 1,450 4,402
Wisconsin 6,646 1,364 3,427
Wyoming 4,450 1,178 3,270

When does my teen need car insurance?

A teenager needs car insurance before they can legally drive on their own. Typically, your insurance policy will cover your teen while they have their learner’s permit and are supervised by a licensed driver at all times. But once the teen is licensed, they need to be insured.

You should add your teen to your car insurance policy as soon as they get their driver’s license. If you’re adding them to your existing policy, you can call your car insurance company and request to add a new driver, or add them to your policy online.

If you’re purchasing a new policy for the teen, you will need to shop around and get quotes, and submit an application. If you take out a policy on your teen’s behalf, the policy will likely need to be in your name, even if your teen is paying the premiums.

Should I put my child on my car insurance?

Most car insurance agents recommend adding your child to your existing car insurance policy. Purchasing a new policy just for your teen is incredibly expensive, and rates typically don’t come down until the driver reaches their mid-twenties. Although your rate will go up after adding a teen to your policy, it’s the cheaper option. Additionally, there are a variety of ways to lower your premium while the teen is insured on your car insurance policy.

How to add a teen driver to car insurance

Adding a teen driver to your car insurance policy is usually a simple process. You can contact your insurance company and let them know that you want to add your teen to your car insurance policy. Many car insurance companies also allow you to add a new driver through your online account or the company’s mobile app.

You will need to provide basic information about the teen, like their date of birth and driver’s license number. If your teen has their own vehicle, you will also need to add the car to your policy. Have the make, model, year, VIN, and odometer reading ready when you add the vehicle. Adding a second vehicle to your policy could help you earn a multi-vehicle discount.

How to save money on teen car insurance

There are many ways to reduce your car insurance premium after adding a teen to your policy. One of the best options is to look for discounts. Most car insurance providers offer discounts for taking a defensive driving course, bundling your policies, paying your premium in full, having no recent claims on your record, and insuring a new vehicle.

If your insurance provider offers a telematics-based insurance program, enrolling and participating can also help you save money. These programs use a smartphone to track your driving behaviors during trips, such as your speed, brake force, phone use, and time of day. If you consistently demonstrate safe driving habits, you could earn a discount.

For policies that require a deductible, like collision and comprehensive insurance, choosing higher deductibles can reduce your premium. However, make sure you can afford to pay the higher deductible out-of-pocket in the event that you need to file a claim.

Another great way to save money on car insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. Comparing quotes can help you find the most affordable rate for your situation. You can take our short quiz to see how much you can expect to pay for car insurance when you add your teen.

Discounts for teenagers

Many car insurance companies offer discounts specifically for teens. While every car insurance provider offers different discounts, the most common discounts are good student discounts and students away at school discounts.

With a good student discount, teens can qualify for a reduced premium if they maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) or receive honors, such as making the Dean’s List. With a student away at school discount, teens can save money if they attend school at least 100 miles away from home and don’t take their vehicle with them. Typically, this discount is only available on collision and/or comprehensive insurance.

Some insurance companies may offer other teen discounts, such as savings for taking a driver safety course or driver’s ed program. You can ask an insurance agent about what savings your teen might qualify for.

Frequently asked

Do you have to add your child to your car insurance policy?

Parents and guardians are not required to add their child to their car insurance policy. However, teens must be insured before they can legally drive alone. If you don’t intend to purchase a new car insurance policy for your teen, you will need to add them to your existing policy.

How much does it cost to insure a 16-year-old?

The average cost of car insurance for a 16-year-old is $4,800 per year. However, car insurance rates depend on many factors besides age. Your location, vehicle type, coverage limits, and insurance company are several other factors that can affect personalized premiums.

Is it cheaper to be on your parent’s insurance?

Yes, it is generally cheaper to be insured on a parent’s insurance policy. The average 17-year-old pays $7,401 per year for their own car insurance policy. For comparison, the average rate for a teen on their parent’s policy, with one vehicle, is $4,189 per year.

Can I insure my child’s car if they don’t live with me?

Most insurance companies don’t allow parents to insure children that don’t live in the same household. Typically, you can only add people to your car insurance policy that live in the same household and share the same address. However, every insurance company has its own rules, and some may allow you to insure a child’s car if they don’t live with you.

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. 

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