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When your teenager starts driving a car, you’ll have more than just their safety to worry about. You’ll also need to consider the added cost of insuring a teenage driver.

Teen licensing and insurance laws have changed significantly in the past few years. So, as your child starts driving, you’ll need to start thinking about how to properly insure them.

Key Takeaways

  • Talk to your current insurer to know when you should add a teenager to your car insurance policy.
  • As per’s analysis, adding your teen to your policy may increase car insurance rates by 161%.
  • You can get a 5% to 25% discount on your policy if your young driver does well in high school or college.
  • Adding a teenager to a car insurance policy is less expensive than buying them an individual policy.

How to add a teenager to your car insurance policy

Take the following steps to add your teen driver to your policy:

  1. Talk to your current insurance company about when you must add your teen, whether at the permit stage or when the license is obtained.
  2. Get a quote for adding your child to your existing policy with higher liabilities (100/300/100 is recommended).
  3. Shop around and get quotes from other car insurance companies to find the best rates.
  4. Add your child at the appropriate time to your current policy or a new insurer with better rates. Remember to ask for discounts on both.
  5. To keep your child safe and insurance rates as low as possible, monitor your child as a driver and insist on good driving behavior.
  6. Shop at each renewal, or at least once a year, to make sure your rates are the cheapest possible by comparing quotes from the top auto insurance companies. Also, check if new discounts are available, such as if your child has raised their grades and would now qualify for a good student discount.

When to add a teen driver to your car insurance policy

There is no standard rule on whether you should add your teen when they get their permit or wait until your child progresses to a license. Instead, when to add a teen driver varies depending on state laws, as well as your insurance company’s internal guidelines.

Many car insurance companies allow parents to list a teen with a learner’s permit on the policy at no charge until the child becomes a fully licensed driver or turns 18 years of age, whichever is first. At the permit stage, the driver must have a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the passenger seat to supervise, making the teen much less of a risk.

However, not all insurance companies follow this guideline; some companies require you to add teens and start paying premiums for them once they receive their permit. Thus, you should contact your car insurance provider before your child gets their permit to find out when your current insurer requires you to add your teen driver.

If your child wants to wait to get a license, that will certainly save you money. However, don’t be surprised if your insurance company asks you about your teen and if they are licensed. Insurers receive reports that list residents at your address and will know you have a teenager. If your child doesn’t have a permit or license, your insurance company may still list him or her on the policy, but as unlicensed and unrated. That won’t affect your premiums.

What happens if I don’t add my teenager to my car insurance?

If you don’t add your teen to your car insurance policy and they’re in an accident, your car insurance company could deny coverage stating you committed fraud, specifically material misrepresentation, by not informing it of the licensed driver.

Alternatively, your insurer may cover the accident but then require you to pay all premiums that should have been paid since your child was licensed. Instead of having their premium spread out during all the months they were licensed, it will be due all at once. 

How much it costs to add a teen driver to your car insurance policy

Here’s how much it costs to add a teenager to your car insurance policy: found that adding a teen driver increases car insurance rates by an average of 161%. It varies by state and by how much an insurer weighs age and experience into its rating calculations. So, if you live outside of Hawaii, whose laws don’t allow insurers to rate age, your rates may go up between 100 to 200% (or more) when you add a teenage driver to your auto policy.

Teen drivers are inexperienced, which puts them at the top of the risk list for insurance companies. That makes car insurance for teens much pricier than other age groups.

Let’s take a look at risk. The graph below shows teenage motor vehicle crash deaths as a percent of all motor vehicle deaths in 2018:

Death typeTeen crash deathsCrash deaths for all agesPercent of teen deaths from car crashes
Passenger vehicle occupant1,93122,8918
All-terrain vehicle riders3530312

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The California Department of Motor Vehicles points out to parents that male and female drivers ages 16 to 19 have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates of any age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that young people ages 15 to 24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population, but this group accounts for 30% of total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% among females.

We found that adding a teen driver increases car insurance rates an average of 161%. It varies by state and by how much an insurer weighs age and experience into its ratings calculations. So, if you live outside of Hawaii, whose laws don’t allow insurers to rate age, your rates may go up between 100% to 200% (or more) when you add a teenage driver to your auto policy.

Average policy rate increases by state with a teen driver

State Adult alone With teen Percent increase
North Carolina$1,170$2,608123%
North Dakota$1,123$2,688139%
New Hampshire$1,156$3,406195%
New Jersey$1,419$4,590223%
New Mexico$1,498$3,991166%
New York$1,214$3,347176%
Rhode Island$2,011$5,829190%
South Carolina$1,353$4,230213%
South Dakota$1,250$2,776122%
West Virginia$1,467$3,766157%
National average$1,447$3,775161%

*Based on a Honda Accord driven by a 40-year-old male buying 100/300/100 liability coverages with comprehensive and collision coverage and the addition of the average rates for a 16-year-old driver.  

Teenage boys are more expensive to insure than girls

Auto insurance is one industry where the term “gender equality” doesn’t apply – unless you live in the handful of states where there is a law against using gender as a factor in rates.

Teen motor vehicle deaths are on the decline for both males and females. There were more than 9,000 teen motor vehicle deaths in the 1970s. Now, there are fewer than 3,000 each year. 

However, male teens still make up a large percentage of deaths, but the gap has decreased in recent years. Here are the stats for the past five years. 

YearMale deathsPercent of teen motor vehicle deathsFemale deathsPercent of teen motor vehicle deathsTotal

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 

Insurance companies use statistics to create rates, and the numbers don’t lie. While teenagers in general are a high-risk group, teenage boys are significantly higher risk than teenage girls. Therefore, be prepared to pay higher rates for your teenage son (except in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania where it isn’t allowed).

Some good news for males, as they mature behind the wheel and become less aggressive, their rates will decrease. By the time males hit their 30s, their car insurance rates will be on par with female rates. By age 35, typically males will even pay a bit less than female drivers.

How long do you have to add a new driver to your insurance policy? 

There’s no set time when it becomes necessary to remove the new driver from your car insurance policy, as long they are living at home with you. Unlike most other types of insurance policies, such as health insurance that is available to children until they turn 26, there is no cutoff age when it comes to auto insurance.

How to save money on teen car insurance rates

Skyrocketing rates caused by adding a teenager to car insurance can be throttled back, at least a bit, by getting discounts. Here are the common discounts teens or your household can receive:

Good student discount: Insurers advertise discounts of anywhere from 5 to 25% if your young driver does well in high school or college, typically defined as obtaining a GPA of 3.0 or above or ranking in the top 20% of their class.

Good driver discount: Keeping a clean record will allow your child to eventually receive a good driver discount, normally of 10 to 25%, though insurers may require the person be licensed and with a clean license for three to five years.

Driver training discount: Some car insurance providers will offer a discount, usually between 5 and 15%, for driving training courses, while others don’t since it’s part of the licensing process. If driver education training courses don’t get your teen driver a discount, see if defensive driving or other classes will.

Low mileage discount: Discounts start at driving under 10,000 miles a year, but discounts tend to be higher if you drive less than 7,000 or 5,000 miles annually.

Monitor your teen: Teens are better drivers when they know they are being watched. You can monitor your teen by signing up for a pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) telematics program, such as Snapshot by Progressive. The telematics device transmits your insured driver’s behaviors, such as braking, miles driven, speed and time of day the car is in use. Insurers will give you a discount if it deems your driving behavior as good. Auto owners insurance has a specific teen monitoring discount. Discounts vary for PAYD programs from 5% to 45%. 

New driver discount for completing a special program with insurance company: Certain car insurance companies offer discounts to teens who complete special novice driver courses. After completing the course, you receive a discount for your teen. Discounts vary.

Family plan discount: Some auto insurers offer a discount specifically for unmarried young adults under age 21 who live with their parents. Also, some insurers give discounts to young drivers who obtain their own insurance plan with their parents’ insurer.

Student away discount: If your child goes off to college more than 100 miles away from your home and without a car, many insurance companies will offer a discount. The discount varies greatly from 5% to up to 35%, depending on your insurer.

Multi-vehicle discount: When adding another car to your policy, it should be eligible for a multi-vehicle discount.

Here is a sampling of what teen discounts are being offered by car insurance companies:

Teen discounts by insurance company


Teen Discounts’s Overall Rating


State Farm

  • PAYD program – Drive Safe & Save
  • Auto safety features
  • Good student
  • Student away
  • Safe driver
  • Driver training (for those under age 21)


Get quote or additional information


  • PAYD program – Snapshot
  • Good student
  • Student away
  • Minor child (for licensed child under 19 who is on parent’s policy)


Get quote or additional information


  • Auto safety features
  • Good student 
  • Driver’s education training
  • Safe driver
  • Family pricing (when child moves to own Geico policy)


Get quote or additional information


  • PAYD program – SmartRide
  • Auto safety features
  • Good student
  • Family plan
  • Student away
  • Driver safety course %


Get quote or additional information


  • Auto safety features
  • Electronic stability control
  • Good student
  • Driver’s education course
  • Student away
  • Safe driver
  • Completing Farmer’s teen driver YES course
  • Youthful driver (for drivers age 25 or younger on family policy)
  • On your own (under 25 and start own policy after being on parent’s Farmer’s policy for at least 12 months)
  • Shared family car (If have driver age 20 or younger and household has more active drivers than vehicles. Available in Connecticut.)


Get quote or additional information


  • PAYD  program – DriveSense
  • Auto safety features
  • Good Student
  • Student away
  • Safe driver


Get quote or additional information


  • Auto safety features
  • Good student
  • Driver education course
  • Safe driver
  • Occasional driver


Get quote or additional information

* Discount offerings vary by state. Check with the insurer to make sure the discount is available in your state. 

Other ways to save money on your car insurance policy

Pick the right car. A sports car or other high-powered vehicle is all wrong for a novice driver, and the insurance rates will back that up. A family sedan, minivan, or small SUV are typically the vehicles with the best rates for teens. An older car isn’t always the best, as safety features will give you discounts, and protect your teenager better if he or she is in an accident. Compare car insurance rates for a few cars before buying a teen a car.

Share a car with your teen. Instead of adding a new car to your household for your newly licensed driver, share one that is already on the policy. If you have three drivers and two cars, see if you can make your teen a secondary driver on the vehicles. This should cost less than your teen being listed as primary driver since secondary drivers aren’t expected to drive as much.

Assign your teen to the cheapest car. Some insurers automatically assign the riskiest driver to the most expensive car. If your insurance company allows you to assign drivers to cars, you can save by assigning your novice driver to the cheapest car on the policy, meaning that will be the car he or she drives the most. So, your child will be primarily assigned to one car and be secondary to other cars. However, your teen can still drive all household vehicles.

Delay your teen receiving their license. The younger the driver, the higher the car insurance costs. If your teen starts the licensing process at 15 but waits until 17 to be licensed, you won’t have to pay insurance costs for those two years and will pay lower rates when he is 17 than you would when he was 15 years of age.

Drop comp and collision. With a novice driver behind the wheel, keeping high-liability limits is a must since it covers injury or property damage that your teen may cause to others. But if your teen’s car isn’t worth much, consider dropping comprehensive and collision. Comp and collision cover your car, so decide if you need those coverages or if you would rather save on insurance rates by dropping them.

Raise deductibles. If you want to keep collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, then think about raising your deductible, which is the amount you pay before your insurance policy kicks in to pay the remainder of your car’s repairs or total loss. Raising your collision deductible from $500 to $1,000 could save you anywhere from $50 to $200 a year, or possibly more depending on your insurance provider.

Should a teen get their own policy or go on a parent’s policy?

Putting a teen on their own policy is almost always more expensive than adding a teenager to car insurance that is already in place. You have discounts your teen can’t get, including multi-vehicle, multi-policy (if bundled with auto and home policies), longevity with carrier, homeowner and experience.

Keep in mind that when you sign for your teen’s license, most states assign you the responsibility for your child as a driver. For example, in Kentucky, the application for drivers under age 18 must be signed by a parent or guardian who agrees to be jointly liable with the applicant for any damages.

Depending on your state’s laws, those under the age of majority, between ages 18 and 21, cannot sign binding contracts. That means your teen will likely need a parent to sign with them on the paperwork to buy a car and a car insurance policy, which is a binding contract.

Getting your teen their own policy is typically only a good idea if they have already racked up tickets or have been in accidents and are raising the rates on your family policy. Then, it may be time to get them an older car with just liability on their own policy.

Excluding a teen driver from parent’s policy

Excluding a household member is allowable in some states and by some insurers. You typically pay a small fee to exclude a driver from one or more of your vehicles, and in return, your car insurance company doesn’t rate that person for the car(s). When a driver is excluded from a car, it means that there is no coverage extended to that person if they drive that car. 

You wouldn’t want to exclude them if your teen is going to drive all the cars in your household on occasion. However, if your teen driver has already been in accidents or has multiple tickets and your insurer is ready to drop you if they remain on your policy, it may be time to exclude them from your policy. This will keep your current insurer happy. Another option is to comparison shop and see if another insurer isn’t as strict about a teen’s driving record. Another insurer may allow them to be on your policy with more reasonable rates.

What type of insurance coverage your teen should get

You are legally required to have at least state-minimum auto insurance coverage, but that is really not going to cover your needs as a parent of a teenage driver.

First and foremost, your teen driver needs liability coverage – and lots of it. Liability coverage is what pays for damages your young driver may cause to others, either in the form of injuries or property damage. Bodily injuries can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatments, so your basic state-minimum coverage could be easily surpassed even in a low-speed accident. And if your child is unlucky enough to smash into a brand new, classic, or ultra-expensive vehicle, low limits of property damage liability coverage could be exceeded. If your child takes out a fire hydrant, you can be billed for not only the cost of the repairs but also the water that was lost – which can really add up.

If your liability limits are exceeded, both you and your minor child will be responsible for paying outstanding expenses. Obtaining an umbrella policy, which can boost your liability insurance after your car insurance limits are reached, of $1 million or more is a good idea when you have a teen driver in your household.

Comprehensive and collision coverage will be required if the car your teen is driving is financed. If the car is paid for, then it’s up to you if these coverages are needed. If the car is worth a reasonable amount and you want to be able to make claims with your insurer for repairs or its total loss, then certainly carry these coverages on the vehicle. To help lower the expense of car insurance for teens, consider choosing higher deductibles. 

Raising deductibles can help your premiums a bit and also force you (or your teen driver) to pay for minor repairs. If your child hits a mailbox and causes $700 worth of damage and you have a $1,000 deductible, you don’t need to make a claim. Yes, you’re out the cost of repairs, but your insurer doesn’t know about the incident. Therefore, it won’t raise your rates due to your child’s single-car accident.

Advice for parents of novice drivers

The best way to get the best price for car insurance when a teen becomes licensed is to shop around for cheap car insurance for teens. Your current insurance company may offer the lowest premiums for a home without young drivers but could have horrible teen driver insurance rates. When your teen is studying to take the written test for his or her permit, you should be studying car insurance company quotes.

When obtaining quotes, look for any and all discounts that may apply. Also, look at upping liability limits to make sure if the worst-case scenario – a severe accident – is caused by your teenage driver, you will have enough insurance to cover it and won’t be sought out personally for repayment of damages.

Look into bundling auto and home insurance to get a discount and also about adding an umbrella policy. Typically, you must carry both your home and auto policies with the same insurance company to add in an umbrella policy – coverage that can add $1 to $5 million of extra liability coverage. 

Car insurance rates will eventually go down

Car insurance is highest during the early years of being licensed. Parents need to stress how important it is to be free from accidents and violations. As the child matures and shows to be a good driver, he can obtain a good driver discount, which can significantly help auto insurance rates. Also, auto premiums for drivers normally lower slightly each year from age 16 until age 25.

At age 25, drivers are in a new category, one where crash rates and claim payouts are less, thus annual premiums are lower.

Age State minimum 50/100/50 100/300/100

* Obtaining own policy at this age on a 2017 Honda Accord LX; the 100/300/100 liability coverages include comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 deductible

Taking time to understand the process of insuring a teen will give you the confidence to research multiple quotes and understand the coverage options available. You’ll have peace of mind knowing the ins and outs of your selected policy and how it works to protect your family. The expense might be unavoidable, but feeling like you’re in the driver’s seat of your policy is absolutely something you can control.

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Shivani Gite
Contributing Writer


Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions.