We analyzed over a dozen car insurance quotes for 16-year-old drivers and found that insurers charge up to $1,700 per month for a teen to get their own car insurance policy, with boys paying about 16% more than girls.
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But teens can reduce what they pay by sharing an insurance policy with their parents, getting quotes from multiple insurers and maximizing how many discounts they get.
What Does Car Insurance for 16-Year-Old Males and Females Cost?
Car insurance for a 16-year-old of any gender is always expensive. We surveyed three of the largest insurers and found that both boys and girls who just received their licenses can expect to pay $5,944 on average for 6 months of auto insurance.
We found a striking price difference among the insurers we analyzed. Progressive and Farmers/Bristol West offered fairly similar prices—insurance from those companies cost $4,195 and $4,309, respectively. State Farm had much higher prices, with an average quote of $9,327 for a 16-year-old's auto insurance.
Additionally, 16-year-old girls appear to pay slightly less for car insurance than boys—our female sample driver was quoted prices that were 16% less than our 16-year-old male driver. This is because on average, young males get into more accidents than young females.
Rates Are Much Cheaper If You're On Your Parents' Insurance
The most substantial way to save money on car insurance as a 16-year-old is to get added to your parents' insurance policy instead of buying your own. We found that a 16-year-old boy can effectively reduce his rates by 50% or more by joining his parents' car insurance policy.
For example, a married couple in their 40s with one car can expect to pay around $1,387 for a six-month insurance policy. Add one teenage boy and one car to that mix, and the rate jumps to $4,673. That's a lot of money, but it's still $3,183 cheaper than buying separate policies for the teen and the adults.
Some insurance companies require you to have one shared policy for everyone in your family. Even if you are able to buy your own policy, you'll likely need your parents to approve the agreement—an insurer won't let you buy a policy on your own as a minor, since minors can't legally sign contracts.
Why is Car Insurance So Expensive For 16-Year-Olds?
Car insurance is much more expensive for 16-year-old drivers than nearly anyone else because they are more likely to get in accidents than older drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen drivers under 20 years old are three times more likely than other drivers to get in a fatal crash. And 16- and 17-year-olds get in twice as many fatal accidents per mile than older teens.
Rates for 16-year-olds are also higher in part because insurance companies don't have existing data to base their models on. Car insurance rates are partly based on your driving history—someone who has driven accident-free for several years will pay less for insurance than someone who has caused several car accidents. But for these teens, who have typically had their driver's licenses for a year or less, there's very little data for insurance companies to base their decision on. This leads to higher costs for every teenage driver, no matter how careful they are.
Does the Law Require Car Insurance For My Teen?
In most cases, you are required to add your 16-year-old son or daughter to your car insurance as soon as they get their license. Some states mandate it by law, and many insurance companies require it, too. Even if it's not required, it's a smart idea to ensure everyone is covered on your car insurance. If you don't, your teen driver will never be able to drive your car, even in an emergency—the insurer will require that they be specifically excluded from your auto insurance policy.
Typically, you only need to add a teen driver to a family policy once they have their license. If your sixteen-year-old hasn't yet passed their license test, they don't need to be listed on your policy.
Other Driving Laws for 16-Year-Olds
Many states have laws limiting how and when 16-year-olds can drive, even after they've passed their license tests. Teen drivers often have intermediate licenses, also called provisional or restricted licenses. These have restrictions that don't apply to adult drivers. For example, 16-year-old drivers in Florida can't drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. And California 16-year-olds can't have passengers under 20 years old, unless a driver age 25+ is supervising.
Common provisional license restrictions for 16-year-olds (varies by state)
- No driving after a certain hour, or after dark
- Only permitted to drive to certain locations, like school or work
- No passengers under a certain age
How to Save on the Cost of Auto Insurance for 16-Year-Olds
Car insurance rates for 16-year-old drivers are very high, but there are ways to bring your monthly premium down. The first, best thing to do is to try to get added to a family member's policy rather than buying your own. We found that it can be up to 70% cheaper for a 16-year-old to get added to a shared family policy than to buy their own plan from the same company.
But there are other ways to get the cheapest possible car insurance for a 16-year-old.
Shop Around at Multiple Insurance Companies
Every insurance company offers different prices, and the discrepancy is particularly high when it comes to teenagers — we found that going with one insurer over another can amount to literally thousands of dollars saved over the course of a six-month insurance policy.
For our sample 16-year-old driver in the Chicago area, we found that Progressive had the best car insurance prices. To add our teen driver on a family policy, they offered us a net price of $1,293. This beat out State Farm and Farmers by $3,538 and $2,442, respectively.
However, who has the best prices for insurance for 16-year-old drivers will vary by region. You should collect quotes from several different insurance companies to be confident you're paying as little as possible.
Discounts for 16-Year-Old Drivers
To offset the high cost of insurance for 16-year-olds, many insurance companies offer a variety of discounts targeted specifically for young drivers. Here are some common deductions to look out for.
- Good Grades: If you're a full-time high school or college student with a certain GPA (often a "B"/3.0 or better), you can see a reduction in rates.
- Driving Tracker: Many insurance companies will provide you with a telematic driving tracker, which reduces your rates after you've demonstrated that you drive safely — for example, that you don't suddenly start or stop, or swerve on the road. These plug into your car's diagnostic port, or use a mobile app, to track your habits.
- Driving Class: Sixteen-year-old drivers are likely to have recently taken driver's education, but many states allow you to take a driver's education course to automatically reduce your car insurance rates — in New York state, it's 10%.
- Student Away From Home: This discount applies more often to college students than 16-year-old high schoolers, but if you're more than 100 miles away from home for school (such as if you go to a boarding school), and you don't have a car with you, you'll usually qualify to have your insurance rates reduced.
- Pay-in-Full: You can get a discount on your car insurance from most insurers by paying for the entire plan in full, rather than breaking the cost up by month.
Buy a Cheaper-to-Insure Car
If you or your parents are buying a new or used car for you to drive once you turn 16, one major consideration to make is how much it costs to insure. The price of car insurance varies significantly by car model — for example, we found in our study of the cheapest cars to insure that a Honda CR-V, the car with the lowest monthly rates, was 33% lower cost to insure than a Ford Mustang.
Buying a fun or fast car — like a Mustang — may seem appealing, but it's likely to be much more expensive to buy, drive and insure than a car like a Honda Civic. Plus, if you do get in an accident, they're more expensive to repair, too.
Omit Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
One of the simplest ways for teenagers to lower their insurance bills is to reduce the amount of coverage they're paying for, and two of the most commonly removed portions of car insurance are comprehensive and collision coverage, which pay for the repair of your own vehicle. Collision covers you if your car is damaged in a crash and no one else is at fault; and comprehensive coverage pays for damage other than a collision, like vandalism or theft.
They're both optional coverages, meaning that you can reduce your car insurance bill by choosing to remove them from your policy. However, you should only do so if you can afford to repair or replace your car without it.
Dropping comprehensive and collision coverage is generally a better idea when your car is older and worth less. This is because the maximum possible payout of coverage (the replacement cost of your car) decreases faster than the cost of coverage, making the coverage a worse deal.
Most leases and loans also require you to carry these coverages, so removing them probably won't be an option if you've financed your car.
How to Get Car Insurance for a 16-Year-Old
For 16-year-olds who are simply adding themselves to their parents' policy, getting behind the wheel can be as simple as calling your insurance agent or going to your insurer's website.
However, adding a 16-year-old to a car insurance policy is an ideal time to check with other insurers to see how much they charge for their prices, and consider switching insurance companies in order to save money.
Adding a teen driver will likely cause a dramatic increase in your car insurance rates — and not every insurance company will increase the cost the same way. For example, we found that a married couple who adds their newly-licensed 16-year-old driver to their Farmers car insurance policy will see their rates go up 149%. Meanwhile, a family that's insured by State Farm will have their policy increase by 474%.
Teens shopping for car insurance on their own will likely have an extra step in the process. Even if they are comparing quotes, signing up and buying car insurance on their own, they'll likely have to have a parent approve or cosign the agreement, as minors can't sign legally-binding contracts.
The quotes we gathered were for a family living in the Chicago area. Our sample drivers all own 2018 Honda Civic LX sedans and had the following coverage limits:
- Bodily injury liability coverage of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability coverage of $50,000 per accident.
- Underinsured and uninsured driver bodily injury liability coverage of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
- Collision and comprehensive coverage with $500 deductibles.
Additionally, quotes we received for solo 16-year-olds from Farmers Insurance were provided by Bristol West, a subsidiary.