How much is car insurance for 18-year-olds?
Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com
Turning 18 is an exciting time when kids are experiencing the freedoms of adulthood. Many head off to college, move out of their childhood home, and get their first job. And for 18-year-old drivers, they might be getting their own car insurance policy.
In the United States, the average cost of car insurance for any driver is $1,555 per year. But even though 18-year-olds are technically adults, they’re still viewed as youthful and inexperienced in the eyes of insurance providers.
With just two years of driving experience under their belt, insurance companies consider 18-year-olds “high-risk,” and charge enormous premiums because of it. In fact, 18-year-olds pay more than 3 times the national average rate.
If you recently turned 18, or if you’re the parent of an 18-year-old, it’s important to know how much you can expect to pay for car insurance, and which carriers offer the lowest rates.
Car insurance for 18-year-olds
Let’s start off with the bad news—the average cost of car insurance for an 18-year-old is $5,335 per year, which breaks down to roughly $444 each month. Compared to the national average rate of $1,555, it’s immediately apparent that insuring 18-year-old drivers is not cheap.
Parents who add their 18-year-old child to their car insurance policy will also see a huge rate increase, but not as much as an 18-year-old would pay as the main policyholder. The average cost of adding a teen driver to an insurance policy is around $4,048 for a male and $3,819 for a female.
When an 18-year-old purchases their own car insurance policy, there are a few factors that impact their rate. Mainly, insurance companies look at their state and zipcode, their claims history, and the type of car they drive. As the driver gets older, their car insurance premium will start to drop. However, they won’t see a significant reduction in premium until they are well into their 20’s.
18-year-old car insurance rates: male vs female
Many people don’t realize that gender plays a role in car insurance rates, especially among a younger demographic. On average, 18-year-old females pay $5,009 per year for insurance, and males pay $5,661 per year—that’s a pretty significant difference. Women tend to have cheaper insurance rates because statistically, they are less likely to get into a major accident or get charged with a DUI.
Annual rate for 18-year-olds
|Gender||Average annual rate for 18-year-olds|
Quadrant information services, 2020
Adding a teen driver to a parent’s insurance policy is cheaper than an 18-year-old buying their own insurance. In addition, the difference between male and female insurance rates is much smaller. Adding a female driver costs roughly $3,819 per year, and adding a male driver costs $4,048. That’s only a difference of about $200, compared to the $600 difference between 18-year-old male and female drivers.
As drivers get older, gender becomes less of a factor in determining their car insurance rate. In fact, premiums for drivers who are 30 and older are significantly less than they are for drivers under 20.
How much is car insurance for 18-year-olds in my state?
Car insurance rates vary significantly by state. This is the case for all drivers, regardless of their age. In the table below, we’ve listed the average car insurance rates for 18-year-old drivers based on state and gender.
Average cost of insurance by state for 18-year-olds
|State||Average annual rate for 18-year-old female||Average annual rate for 18-year-old male||Overall average annual rate for 18-year-old|
|District of Columbia||$5,031||$6,196||$5,613|
Quadrant information services, 2020
Most expensive states for car insurance for 18-year-olds
18-year-olds pay the most money for car insurance in the following five states:
- New York—$7,978
- Rhode Island—$7,954
- New Jersey—$7,647
Why is insurance so expensive in these areas? Well, these five states happen to be among the most expensive states for car insurance for drivers of all ages.
New York, New Jersey, and Michigan are considered no-fault states, which means drivers have to carry personal injury protection (PIP), which comes at an added cost. Drivers in Rhode Island and Nevada pay huge premiums because they have a high population density, which means many drivers are sharing the same handful of roads, which increases the chance of an accident.
Least expensive states for car insurance for 18-year-olds
Now for the least expensive states for car insurance as an 18-year-old:
- North Carolina—$4,058
These states are the cheapest for car insurance, in part, because they all have a low rate of uninsured drivers. In fact, Maine has the fewest number of uninsured drivers of any state, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Hawaii and Maine also have a relatively low rate of fatal car accidents.
Car insurance rates by insurance carrier for 18-year-olds
Every insurance provider charges a slightly different rate for insurance. Based on our sample quotes, Erie, USAA and Geico offer the lowest rates for 18-year-old drivers. In comparison, The Hanover, Farmers and MetLife had the most expensive premiums.
For most 18-year-old drivers, we recommend checking out Erie and Geico. Erie offers a discount for drivers who are under 21, and accident forgiveness is included in every policy. Geico offers a good student discount based on GPA, along with a long list of other savings. Slightly higher in average premiums, Travelers also offers some great discounts for young adults, including a good student discount, student away at school discount and driving training discount.
If your spouse or parent is affiliated with the military, we also suggest looking into USAA. Not only does USAA typically offer competitive rates, but they also have amazing customer service, a driver training discount and a good student discount. USAA insurance is also available to ROTC students and officer candidates in a commissioning program.
The chart below compares the average car insurance premiums for male and female 18-year-olds based on provider.
|Company||Average annual rate for 18-year-old female||Average annual rate for 18-year-old male||Overall average annual rate for 18-year-olds|
How to get cheap car insurance for 18-year-olds
As the data above clearly illustrates, car insurance for 18 years olds is substantially more expensive than average. Fortunately, there are always things you can do to save money and lower your rate. Here are a few options:
Raise your deductible
Your deductible is the amount of money you’re required to pay out-of-pocket towards a covered loss before the insurance company will reimburse you. The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly payments will be — particularly with collision coverage. If you choose this option, make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford if you need to file a claim.
Take advantage of discounts
Most insurance companies offer discounts that can lower your premium, so make sure you’re taking advantage of all the discounts you are eligible for. If your car has certain safety features that qualify for a discount, like anti-lock brakes, make sure your insurance company knows. Also ask if there are any unadvertised discounts you can claim. For instance, you might be able to save some money by enrolling in paperless billing.
Take a defensive driving course
It’s common for insurance companies to offer a discount to drivers who take an approved defensive driving course — or other driver safety class. Some insurance companies will even offer to pay for it. The actual discounts vary by company, but regardless, you will see additional savings on your premium.
The best way to save money on your car insurance is to shop around and get quotes from different providers. That way, you can compare rates and see which company can offer you the best deal for the coverages you’re seeking. Compare the discounts each company offers as well because that can lower your rate even more.
Car insurance rates for 18-year-olds with good student discount
Fortunately for this age group, it’s common for insurance companies to offer a good student discount for drivers who get good grades in school. On average, students who can claim a good student discount save about 9% on their annual insurance premium.
For example, an 18-year-old who pays the average rate of $5,335 can lower their rate to $4,925 if they qualify for a good student discount. That’s a savings of over $400.
In what states does the good student discount save you the most?
18-year-olds who live in Minnesota, Maine and Vermont will reap the biggest benefit from a good student discount. Here’s a look at the average good student discount savings in 10 states:
Good student discount savings
|State||Average annual rate for 18-year-olds with discount||Average annual rate for 18-year-olds without discount||Savings|
- 18-year-olds pay an average of $5,355 for car insurance.
- Males pay more than females—over $600 more per year.
- Young drivers should take advantage of discounts to lower their rate.
Car insurance for 18-year-olds is incredibly expensive—there’s no way around it. 18-year-olds have minimal driving experience, and because of that, they pose a high risk to insure. However, most insurance companies offer various discounts aimed at helping young drivers lower their rate. Before choosing an insurance provider, 18-year-olds should shop around, get multiple quotes and compare rates to find a policy that doesn’t blow their budget.
Coverage utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of zip codes across all 50 states including Washington D.C. Quoted rates are based on the profiles of a 18-year-old male and female, each with a clean record driving a 2016 Honda Civic. The drivers had the following coverage details:
- $50k bodily injury liability per person
- $100k bodily injury liability coverage per crash
- $50k property damage liability coverage per crash
- $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.