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What’s the cheapest car insurance for a teen? Depends on your state

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  • Age, gender, and lack of driving experience makes teens expensive to insure.
  • It costs more to add your son than your daughter as a teen driver.
  • On average, parents can expect an 130% increase, or an extra $2,300, when they add a teen driver to their car insurance policy.
  • On average, Erie Insurance offers the best rates for adding a teen driver — but it’s only available in certain regions.
  • See our picks for the best affordable car insurance companies »

A driver’s license is the first step towards independence  —  freedom behind the wheel.

For parents, that driving freedom can come with concerns over insuring their children on the road. Some states allow a 16-year-old to get a car insurance policy on their own, but most states require that you must be at least 18 years old to purchase car insurance, Laura Adams, an analyst for Coverage.com, told Business Insider. 

Therefore, when we are talking about car insurance for a teen, we mean the cost of adding them to a parent or guardian’s existing policy. Unfortunately, a study by Coverage shows that the cost to add a teen to an adult’s car insurance significantly increases the premium. 

Adams says the average parent can expect an 130% increase, or an extra $2,300 in their premium, when adding a teen driver.

According to data from ValuePenguin, the cost for an 18-year-old with a clean driving record on a parent’s policy with Erie is estimated at $2,532 per year, while other larger companies like State Farm, Nationwide, and GEICO all estimate $3,400 or more for coverage. For drivers on the west coast, Mercury Insurance offers coverage under $3,000 per year for a teen driver. 

Company Average annual car insurance premium with a teen driver
Erie* $2,532
USAA $2,588
Nationwide $3,406
GEICO $3,432
State Farm $5,176
Progressive $5,232
Allstate $9,054

*Available in mid-Atlantic, north central, and southeast regions of the US
Data from ValuePenguin 

There are many factors that affect your car insurance rates, like:

  1. age
  2. gender
  3. driving experience
  4. driving record
  5. credit score
  6. where you live
  7. previous insurance coverage

Adams notes that 16 years old is the most expensive age to insure because someone at this age has little driving experience and statistically, drivers have more accidents at this age. The good news is that premium rates go down with teens as they age, and rates should get more affordable every year.

The death rate among male teen drivers is twice as high as it is for female teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For this reason, your son will be more expensive to insure than your daughter. 

While some states, like Vermont, allow younger people to be charged more, other states regulate insurance prices differently. For instance, California and Massachusetts do not allow age to be a determining factor.

These are the top five most expensive states to insure your daughter by percentage added to your premium, and by annual premium costs:

Most expensive states to insure 16-year-old female (by %) Most expensive states to insure 16-year-old female (by premium)
  1. Vermont: 190%
  2. Tennessee: 158%
  3. Massachusetts: 155%
  4. Virginia: 154% 
  5. Ohio: 153%
  1. Louisiana: $5,787
  2. Florida: $4,949
  3. New York: $4,914
  4. Nevada: $4,858
  5. Michigan: $4,759

Data from Coverage.com

These are the top five most expensive states to insure your son by percentage added to your premium, and by annual premium costs:

Most expensive states to insure 16-year-old male (by %) Most expensive states to insure 16-year-old male (by premium)
  1. Vermont: 216%
  2. Tennessee: 194%
  3. Ohio: 186%
  4. Virginia: 176%
  5. West Virginia: 172%
  1. Louisiana: $5,988
  2. Florida: $5,362
  3. New York: $5,264
  4. Nevada: $5,116
  5. Rhode Island: $4,888

Data from Coverage.com

The following states do not allow gender to be a determining factor: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Additionally, Hawaii doesn’t allow time behind the wheel to be used.

These are the top five least expensive states to insure your daughter by percentage added to your premium, and by annual premium costs:

Least expensive states to insure 16-year-old female (by %) Least expensive states to insure 16-year-old female (by premium)
  1. Hawaii: 4%
  2. New York: 79%
  3. Michigan: 80%
  4. Delaware: 92%
  5. South Dakota: 94%
  1. Hawaii: $1,276
  2. Idaho: $2,165
  3. Iowa: $2,226
  4. North Dakota: $2,255
  5. Maine: $2,356

Data from Coverage.com

These are the top five least expensive states to insure your son by percentage added to your premium, and by annual premium costs

Least expensive states to insure 16-year-old male (by %) Least expensive states to insure 16-year-old male (by premium)
  1. Hawaii: 4%
  2. Michigan: 83%
  3. New York: 92%
  4. District of Columbia: 107%
  5. Delaware: 114%
  1. Hawaii: $,1,275
  2. Idaho: $2,372
  3. North Dakota: $2,581
  4. Iowa: $2,592
  5. Wisconsin: $2,720

Auto insurance companies may offer some programs to get a discount on coverage for your teen. In most cases, you can’t “stack” your discounts, or combine them to get a massive discount. But still, you’ll want to ask your provider what, if anything, they offer for teens to earn discounts on their premium.

Good student discount

Adams said the good student discount can save the average parent 8% off their premium for their high school, college, and graduate students up to age 25. Most carriers offer this discount if your child maintains a B average and is a full-time enrolled student.

Away from home discount

This is usually when your teen goes away from home for college and doesn’t take the car with them.

Safe driving training discount

Adams noted some providers reward teen drivers for taking programs to improve their driving skills. This can help you save around 8%.

Monitoring and usage apps

Using a monitoring app can save up to 20% if you’re considered a good driver based on the metrics. Insurers like Progressive, use the app to monitor how hard you hit the brakes, how fast you turn corners, and your average speed.

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