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First-Time Driver Insurance

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

That first time behind the wheel is a special moment most of us remember. For many teenagers, obtaining a driver’s license is the first taste of true independence. But before a new driver can hit the open road, they’ll need insurance.

Car insurance is mandatory in every state, but it’s more difficult for some people to get a low premium on their policy. First-time drivers and teens fit in this category. Car insurance for new drivers tends to be more expensive.

New and teen drivers are notoriously expensive to insure, due to statistics that show the amount of car accidents they experience every year. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.

Auto insurance providers are well aware of the risks associated with insuring young drivers, and providers charge more because of that risk. Due to insurers’ stance on teenage drivers, it might take some time to find an affordable policy that provides the desired coverage.

The best way to find the right policy is to shop around and get quotes from a few providers. After gathering and comparing quotes, it should be easy to determine which policy will be the best fit for the first-time driver.

Why are new driver insurance premiums expensive? 

Auto insurance companies take many factors into account when providing a quote for a new policy. The price of the policy is impacted by personal information, driving history and which car the policyholder will drive under the insurance.

A few of the factors taken into account include:

  • Age of the driver
  • Driving record
  • Credit score
  • The make and model of car you drive
  • Location
  • Insured history

Auto insurance providers are in business to make money, so they won’t usually provide coverage for a young driver without charging a high premium to account for the extra risk.

One of the main reasons for this is a lack of driving history, which is an important factor in how much an auto insurance policy costs. Because first-time drivers don’t have a lot of experience, auto insurers charge a higher rate than they would otherwise.

However, there are ways young drivers can mitigate the expense of car insurance. 

If I am a new driver, how can I lower my car insurance cost? 

Searching for the best insurance for new drivers can be daunting, especially when a provider quotes a premium well out of their price range. Finding affordable car insurance usually takes time and effort for young drivers, but there are methods to reduce the cost of coverage.

1. Include a new driver on an existing policy

Instead of searching out a new provider, many teenagers decide to join their guardian’s existing auto insurance policy. Going this route to obtain auto insurance for new drivers has a few advantages.

When a teen without a driving history is added to an existing insurance policy, then it lends credibility to that person in the eyes of the insurer. Although the existing policy will go up after adding a teen driver, the average cost will be lower than opening a new policy for the new driver.

Another upside to adding a new driver in an existing policy is qualifying for a discount. Many insurers offer a discount if there are multiple drivers covered under a single policy. When adding a new driver, check with the provider to see if the policy qualifies.

2. Keep a clean driving record

Although the cost of insurance will inevitably be higher for young drivers, that cost will go down over time. The fastest way to reduce the cost of insurance is to keep a clean driving record while under the policy.

Insurance companies know that young drivers are accident-prone. However, companies will also take note of a clean driving record, and that will reduce the premium’s cost over time.  On the other hand, if a first-time driver has issues behind the wheel, their insurance will be expensive for the foreseeable future.

Sometimes insurers will even stop insuring drivers if they are deemed to be too much of a risk. After that happens, high-risk insurance is usually the only option, and it is not a position that any driver wants to be in. Staying safe behind the wheel is an excellent way to reduce the cost of auto insurance.

3. Insure an affordable car

Another big factor in the price of auto insurance is the make and model of the car. Valuable cars understandably cost more to ensure than those less expensive. If a first-time driver will be using an expensive car, the insurer will increase the price of coverage.

Due to the higher cost of insuring expensive cars, many first-time drivers (or their guardians) choose less expensive cars. These cars may not be flashy, but they will lower the cost of insurance. Many insurers will also cut the price if the car has desirable safety features.

4. Evaluate the necessary coverage

The coverages included in a policy has a big effect on the premium’s price. Most states require a minimum of liability insurance, which is used to protect against damage caused by the insured driver. Some first-time drivers also choose to include better (and more expensive) coverages in their policy.

Collision and comprehensive coverage are similar in that they both protect the insured vehicle from damages, which liability insurance does not cover. Generally speaking, collision coverage protects cars from damages incurred in an auto accident, while comprehensive coverage protects cars from damage incurred from other incidents like theft and natural disasters.

When buying car insurance as a first-time driver, look at the difference between the price of including different coverages in the policy and decide whether it’s worth the money to get more coverage for the car that will be driven.

5. Look into discounts

As we mentioned above, auto insurers offer discounts to give cheaper car insurance for first-time drivers. When signing up for a policy, take a close look at the discounts offered by the provider.

Many insurance providers offer discounts for things like maintaining a high GPA, commonly known as the “good student” discount. Because young drivers will not have formal driving records, many providers also offer discounts upon completion of certain driver’s education courses.

The takeaway

Young drivers should expect to have some difficulty finding affordable car insurance because insurance providers consider young drivers to be high-risk. Despite the difficulty, it is possible to find adequate auto insurance for young drivers at a reasonable price.

To find the best auto insurance policy for a first-time driver, compare quotes from a few providers. When choosing the policy, look at the discounts and try to qualify for as many of them as possible. By using discounts, safe driving and inexpensive cars, first-time drivers can find good coverage at more affordable prices.

Julian Dossett

Julian is a freelance writer for Coverage.com, where he writes about auto and home insurance with an eye toward consumer advocacy. His work has appeared at The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, Reviews.com, Blockchain Beach and MSN.com. He’s currently based in New Mexico.

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