How Age Affects Car Insurance Costs

How Age Affects Car Insurance Costs

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Younger drivers pay considerably more than older drivers for car insurance, but rates also rise after age 60.

Age is one of the primary factors insurance companies consider when coming up with a car insurance quote. To an auto insurance company, a driver's age measures their driving experience and accident risk.

Average car insurance by age

The youngest and oldest drivers pay significantly more than middle-aged drivers, a ValuePenguin analysis found. Rates fall dramatically from age 16 to 25 and then start rising again after age 60.

Here are the average costs of car insurance by age:

This graph plots auto insurance costs by age for 16- to 70-year-old drivers

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Quotes for teenagers are three times as expensive as quotes for drivers in their mid-30s and closer to four times the rate for drivers in their mid-50s. Once young drivers gain more experience and hit age 25, their car insurance costs drop about 33%.

Costs continue to generally decline with each birthday. Once drivers reach age 50, they'll see their best rates. Around age 60, however, auto insurance costs begin to increase and compare to what drivers see in their 40s.

Cheapest insurance companies for young drivers

As a young driver, picking the right insurance company can mean major savings. The difference between companies can be more than $10,000 per year.

Which insurer is the best option can change each year, so we recommend you get multiple quotes whenever your policy comes up for renewal.

Cheapest car insurance for 16-year-olds

Farm Bureau has the lowest rates we found for 16-year-old drivers, at an average of $3,003 per year. That's a little cheaper than Erie ($3,111) and USAA ($3,935).

Company
Annual rate
Farm Bureau logo
Farm Bureau$3,003
Erie logo
Erie$3,111
USAA logo
USAA$3,935
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Erie is only available in 12 states, but it also offers multiple discounts for young drivers. Farm Bureau has a young drivers safety program, but coverage options can vary depending on what state you're in.

Cheapest car insurance for 17-year-olds

Farm Bureau also offers the cheapest rates for 17-year-old drivers, followed by Erie, USAA and State Farm. Farm Bureau's rate of $2,660 per year is less than half the overall average, a savings of more than $3,000 per year.

Company
Annual rate
Farm Bureau$2,660
Erie$2,904
USAA$3,296
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Cheapest car insurance for 18-year-olds

Farm Bureau, Erie and USAA offer the cheapest rates for 18-year-old drivers. Those three companies have average rates that are 47% cheaper than the overall average for drivers that age.

Company
Annual rate
Farm Bureau$2,581
Erie$2,687
USAA$2,801
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USAA and Erie are not available to the majority of drivers, and Farm Bureau's options can change depending on where you live. If you're looking for the security of a national insurer, Travelers offers a cheaper-than-average rate of $3,219 per year, with options for accident forgiveness and several discounts for young drivers.

How gender affects car insurance rates

Gender also plays a significant role in car insurance costs. Over a lifetime, men will pay around 9% more than women, though the price difference varies by age.

Until the age of 21, for example, men pay an average of 13% more than women. This gap shrinks after age 30, when a female driver's rates are less than $20 per year cheaper until her mid-60s.

Driver's age
Male driver
Female driver
Average
16$7,403$6,624$7,013
17$6,377$5,656$6,016
18$5,577$4,905$5,241
19$4,420$3,853$4,136
20$3,938$3,448$3,693
21$3,139$2,816$2,977
25$2,049$1,939$1,994
30$1,753$1,736$1,745
35$1,715$1,707$1,711
40$1,678$1,674$1,676
45$1,654$1,643$1,648
55$1,523$1,505$1,514

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Why do younger and older drivers pay more for car insurance?

Young drivers pay more because statistics show that teenagers are inexperienced, making them more likely to get into car accidents compared to other age groups.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

  • Drivers aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be in a car accident compared to older drivers.
  • In 2019, drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 accounted for 7% of all fatal accidents.

Thus, since your insurer thinks you're more likely to crash when you're young, your rates will be expensive. Experienced drivers in their mid-30s to late-50s have greater driving skills and road maturity, which typically means lower accident rates.

Once drivers enter their 60s, however, the trend begins to slowly reverse as age and slower reflexes begin to impact driving. Insurers typically start to charge seniors the most significantly once they enter their 70s. An 80-year-old driver ends up paying a bit more than a 25-year-old.

How to save money on car insurance as a younger or older driver

The most effective way for youthful and elderly drivers to save money on auto insurance is by shopping around, applying for discounts and joining someone else's policy.

Shopping around

Shopping around is the most effective way to save money when it comes to insurance costs.

We would recommend you get quotes from at least three companies. Most large insurers let you start a quote online, making it easier to compare prices.

Discounts

Discounts are an easy way for younger and senior drivers to save money on their premiums.

Maintaining good grades (for young drivers still in school) and taking defensive-driving courses can save drivers up to 10% on their car insurance costs.

For senior discounts, companies like Allstate offer a "55 and Retired" discount where safe, retired drivers over the age of 55 will automatically qualify for a 10% discount. Some companies also allow drivers over the age of 55 to take defensive-driving courses to qualify for discounts.

Joining your parents' policy

We found it costs about 62% less to join your parents' auto policy than to start your own as a 18-year-old driver.

That's because your parents are taking on part of your risk as a young driver, so the insurance companies are more comfortable giving a lower price.

Be wary, however, that your parents' rate will increase significantly. If they're still willing to add you, it's a surefire way to get a lower rate.

Methodology and sources

To find the rates for each age group, we checked out two sample drivers:

  • A male and female
  • Our sample drivers had a 2015 Toyota Camry
  • They each drove 12,000 miles per year
  • The drivers had 50/11/25 liability insurance with collision and comprehensive coverage

ValuePenguin gathered hundreds of thousands of quotes from every ZIP code in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Georgia.

Rate data was collected using Quadrant Information Services. Your quotes will differ, as rates should be used for comparative purposes only. Rates are publicly sourced from insurer filings.

Statistics on teenage accidents came from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.