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Car insurance for 17-year-olds

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Being on the threshold of adulthood is typically an exciting prospect for 17-year-olds, but not so much when it comes to car insurance. Teenagers between the age of 16 and 19 are usually charged the highest auto insurance premiums because they are considered especially risky, engaging in unsafe driving practices. To protect against the risk, insurance companies set higher premiums for young drivers. Compared to the $1,555 a year national average, 17-year-olds pay two to three times more in annual premiums for full coverage car insurance.

While in this case age is the primary factor for the exorbitant cost of insurance, several other reasons contribute to the amount paid in premiums, such as the type of car the teen drives, gender, the insurance company, location and driving record. These factors were examined and compared to get the average cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds (added to their parents’ policy). However, this article offers ways to save money on premiums as well. 

Car insurance for 17-year-olds

A teenager’s first exposure to auto insurance is usually when they are added to their parent’s policy. However, adding a 17-year-old to any car insurance policy results in a surge in premium for the parent. Adding a 16-year-old male teenage driver to the parent’s total increases the original policy about $3,789 a year, and for female teens, around $3,526 annually. The rates included in this article represent the additional cost to a parents’ policy when a 17-year-old driver is added.

If we look at the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s easy to see why insurers charge teenage drivers the highest rates. According to the NHTSA, car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States, and 2,121 young drivers under the age of 19 were killed in road accidents in 2018. 

Distracted driving is at its peak among teen drivers, besides speeding, drunk driving and drowsy driving. The lack of responsibility, driving skills and experience escalates the danger, not only claiming thousands of young lives every year but also costing insurance companies in liability and collision coverage. Those that survive crashes may face jail time, license suspension, court and attorney fees, and loss of scholarships, academic eligibility or other awards.

Age becomes less impactful for car insurance as the motorist gets older but for 17-year-olds it is what makes the price of insurance surge, even for safe drivers.

17-year-old car insurance rates: male vs female

The statistics of male drivers with risky driving behaviors have always been higher than those of their female counterparts and the same applies to teenage drivers. Fatal crashes are more than twice the number for men compared to women, which is why insurance companies factor gender into premiums. This factor is much more significant for 17-year-olds, because records have consistently shown boys to be more likely to end up in an accident behind the wheel than girls.

From the table below, we find that a 17-year-old male driver is charged about $250 more than a 17-year-old female, although this price may vary by state and insurance company. The good news is that gender becomes less of an impact to rates with age, and some states do not allow the use of gender as a determinant of car insurance premiums. 

GenderAverage annual rate
Male$3,789
Female$3,526

Quadrant information services, 2020

How much is car insurance for 17-year-olds in my state?

The price of insurance for 17-year-olds also depends on their exact location. Insurance is state-regulated and based primarily on ZIP code, with prices often varying significantly accordingly. 

Most states make it mandatory to carry minimum liability coverage, whereas some places require drivers to have additional coverage — which adds to the overall cost of insurance. The more populated a state, the denser the traffic, and the higher the risk of road accidents. 

Coastal regions experiencing floods, hurricanes and storms are also typically more expensive in terms of car insurance. If your location is considered high-risk by insurance companies, 17-year-old drivers can expect to pay even more for car insurance. The table below indicates rate variances by state.

StateAverage annual rate for 17-year-old femaleAverage annual rate for 17-year-old maleOverall average annual rate for 17-year-old
Alaska$3,210$3,144$3,178
Alabama$3,237$3,645$3,443
Arkansas$4,589$3,704$4,189
Arizona$3,291$3,626$3,456
California$4,190$3,920$4,058
Colorado$4,195$3,828$4,025
Connecticut$3,256$3,472$3,362
Washington, D.C.$3,238$3,236$3,237
Delaware$3,460$3,499$3,479
Florida$5,585$5,159$5,397
Georgia$3,789$3,968$3,876
Hawaii$1,203$1,203$1,203
Iowa$2,090$2,423$2,257
Idaho$1,891$2,152$2,021
Illinois$2,991$3,141$3,065
Indiana$2,200$2,361$2,281
Kansas$2,783$3,096$2,939
Kentucky$3,867$3,777$3,825
Louisiana$5,908$5,054$5,550
Massachusetts$3,233$3,233$3,233
Maryland$3,933$4,247$4,085
Maine$1,320$1,570$1,445
Michigan$6,532$4,277$5,559
Minnesota$2,982$3,182$3,082
Missouri$3,644$4,065$3,851
Mississippi$3,036$3,551$3,292
Montana$3,140$3,140$3,140
North Carolina$2,435$2,350$2,393
North Dakota$1,950$2,200$2,075
Nebraska$2,456$2,813$2,635
New Hampshire$2,343$2,737$2,540
New Jersey$3,580$3,383$3,486
New Mexico$2,728$3,125$2,927
Nevada$4,295$4,526$4,406
New York$7,377$5,238$6,560
Ohio$2,200$2,494$2,347
Oklahoma$3,378$3,853$3,613
Oregon$2,752$3,028$2,890
Pennsylvania$3,474$2,986$3,237
Rhode Island$4,400$3,738$4,106
South Carolina$2,608$2,934$2,771
South Dakota$2,384$2,614$2,499
Tennessee$2,722$3,065$2,893
Texas$4,204$4,004$4,110
Utah$2,856$3,260$3,058
Virginia$2,385$2,765$2,575
Vermont$2,122$2,447$2,284
Washington$2,741$2,782$2,761
Wisconsin$2,154$2,305$2,230
West Virginia$2,814$3,249$3,031
Wyoming$2,303$2,746$2,525

Quadrant information services, 2020

Most expensive states for car insurance for 17-year-olds

  • New York
  • Michigan
  • Louisiana
  • Florida
  • Nevada 

Two of the primary reasons why car insurance is more expensive in these states are population density and the risk of crashes and collisions. These factors result in New York being the priciest state in the U.S. for car insurance for 17-year-olds, at $6,560 a year for full coverage, followed closely by Michigan, at $5,559 a year. Not only are they no-fault states, requiring drivers to carry sufficient additional coverage, but rates in these states may be affected by higher cost of living, number of uninsured drivers or high neighborhood crime rates.

Regions prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and storms also have expensive car insurance. Louisiana and Florida are two such states where susceptibility to natural disasters increases auto insurance premiums for 17-year-olds, with full coverage premiums averaging $5,550 and $5,397 a year respectively. Relaxed alcohol laws and the year-round Las Vegas party scene make Nevada another highly expensive state for car insurance for teens, at $4,406 a year on average for 17-year-olds.

Least expensive states for car insurance for 17-year-olds

  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Idaho 
  • North Dakota
  • Wisconsin

States with the cheapest car insurance are the ones with a lower population or crime, lower cost of living and generally safe drivers. Hawaii, Maine and Idaho have the cheapest full coverage premiums for 17-year-olds added to their parents’ policy, on average, at $1,203, $1,445 and $2,021 a year respectively. 

Car insurance rates by insurance carrier for 17-year-olds

No two insurance companies are the same when it comes to pricing a 17-year-old’s car insurance premium. Even with the same coverage options, prices can vary depending on a variety of other factors. 

After comparing average rates for full coverage among the major insurance companies (by market share — shown in the table below), Coverage found that Nationwide offers the cheapest annual rate for 17-year-olds, at $2,173 a year, added to their parents’ policy. This is followed closely by Erie at $2,578 a year. The priciest insurer for teens was The Hanover, at $8,211 annually.

When it comes to teen drivers, age is the reason why rates are far higher than what they are for adult motorists. But a 17-year-old will gain valuable driving experience over time, leading to a gradual but consistent drop in rates as they grow older. The cost of auto insurance for teens changes rapidly between the ages of 17 and 25, so shopping around for insurance every six months is a good way to make sure you’re not overpaying. Once you turn 18, you will be able to obtain your own policy, so compare rates on your own versus staying on your parents’ policy to see which saves the most.

CompanyAverage annual rate for 17-year-old
AAA $4,807
Allstate $4,365
American Family  $3,058
Amica $3,930
Auto-Owners $3,290
Erie $2,578
Farmers $3,736
GEICO $3,480
MetLife $5,407
Nationwide $2,173
Progressive $4,099
State Farm $3,435
The Hanover $8,211
The Hartford $3,445
Travelers $3,006
USAA $3,039

Quadrant information services, 2020

How to get cheap car insurance for 17-year-olds

Insuring a teen driver is expensive, but the following are a few ways to save:

Defensive driver discount

Taking a driving course focusing on road safety and traffic rules is one way to prove you are responsible to an insurance company, and save some money on premiums. Not all insurers offer this discount though, but those that do usually require physical proof of the qualification. 

Good student discount

Some insurance companies offer discounts to young drivers with academic excellence. If a 17-year-old holds an average grade of 3.0 or higher, it is possible to get a good student discount with certain insurers. 

Clean driving record

Being safe on the road is essential for every driver, and more so for teenagers. Maintaining a clean driving record, free from tickets and claims, can save 17-year-olds significantly on auto insurance. Most insurers reward safe driving practices, making this one of the smartest ways to save on premiums. Even if you can’t get a specific safe driving discount, avoiding accidents and claims can prevent your rate from being even higher.

Smart coverage

Teen drivers can also save by using an old car that no longer needs a high level of coverage. A vehicle worth no more than $4000 doesn’t need as much damage protection, and by sticking to only liability coverage, you could effectively spend a lot less on insurance. However, it’s best to speak with an agent to ensure your coverage is adequate, regardless of your vehicle type or age.

Shopping around

Every insurance company’s prices vary based on a number of factors. Instead of choosing the first insurer you find, it is always recommended to shop around and get quotes from multiple providers. By comparing prices, coverage options and service every year, 17-year-olds can find the best rate for the coverage they need.

The takeaway

  • Car insurance for 17-year-olds costs two to three times more than the national average.
  • Male teenagers are viewed as higher risk and are charged more than female teenage drivers.
  • Based on ZIP code and insurance companies, insurance prices differ significantly, and some states are significantly more expensive for teen drivers than others.
  • It is possible to save on premiums by driving safe, shopping around, taking advantage of discounts available to teenage drivers and sticking to essential coverage.

Teenagers and young drivers pose a significant risk to insurance companies, and that risk is mitigated in the form of steep premiums. However, the price tends to drop with age, so shopping around for a new policy every year is a smart move towards getting the best rate. With a clean driving record, no claims and academic excellence, 17-year-olds can be eligible for certain discounts that lower the cost of car insurance. 

Methodology

Methodology

Coverage utilizes 2020 data from Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of zip codes across all 50 states. Quoted rates are based on the profile of a middle-aged married couple with a clean driving record that added a 17-year-old driver to their insurance policy. The family drives their Toyota Camry 12,000 miles a year with the following assumed premium details:

  • $100k bodily injury liability per person
  • $300k bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $100k property damage liability coverage per accident
  • $500 collision coverage deductible
  • $500 comprehensive coverage deductible

To look at the effect of a good driver discount, we analyzed rates for the profile both with and without the discount applied. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but note that your actual rates may differ.

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