Auto Insurance Basics

How Age Affects Car Insurance Costs

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Age is one of the primary factors that insurance companies consider when coming up with a car insurance quote. To an auto insurance company, a driver’s age is a general measure of driving experience and accident risk. Based on insurers’ statistics and past experience insuring other drivers, the more years behind the wheel that a driver has, the less likely he or she is to get into an accident and submit a claim for reimbursement. This typically means that he or she will cost less to insure, which means a cheaper quote.

Average Car Insurance by Age

We took a look at quotes across more than twenty companies. We found that the youngest and oldest drivers pay significantly more than drivers in the middle. 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 3x as expensive than quotes for a driver in their mid-thirties, and cost nearly 4x the rate for an experienced driver in their mid-fifties. Once teenagers gain more experience under their belt and hit 25, their car insurance costs drop about 30%. Costs continue to generally decline with each birthday, with drivers in their 50s seeing the best rates. Around 60, however, auto insurance costs reverse their trend and begin to increase slightly, although rates comparable to what drivers in their 40s see.

How Gender Affects Car Insurance Rates

How much each gender pays also is significant. Over a lifetime, males will pay around 12% more than females, though the price difference varies by age. Until the age of 21 for example males paid an average 20% more than females in the four cities we sampled. This gap reverses however after age 30 however where we found our sample female driver paid about 2% more than our sample male driver. You can see how age and gender affect auto insurance premiums in the table below:

Driver's AgeMale DriverFemale DriverAverage
16$7,778$5,776$6,777
17$6,852$5,597$6,225
18$5,889$5,056$5,473
19$4,489$3,838$4,163
20$4,109$3,524$3,816
21$3,268$2,845$3,057
25$2,180$2,188$2,184
30$1,902$1,942$1,922
35$1,878$1,937$1,907
40$1,828$1,897$1,863
45$1,791$1,841$1,816
55$1,679$1,702$1,690
65$1,727$1,747$1,737
75$2,035$2,038$2,037
85$2,475$2,358$2,416

Why Do Young and Old Drivers Pay More for Car Insurance?

Young drivers pay more because statistics show that teenagers and beginner drivers are more likely to get into car crashes and accidents than other age groups. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers aged 16 to 19 are 3x more likely to be in a car accident. Furthermore in 2015, drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 accounted for 10% of all fatal accidents despite only accounting for 7% of all licensed drivers. Thus, since your insurer thinks you're more likely to crash when you're young, your rates are going to be expensive.

Mature drivers in their mid-thirties to late-fifties 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 aging and slower reflexes begin to impact driving. Insurers typically start to charge seniors the most significantly once they enter their 70's. An 80 year old driver ends up paying nearly a bit more than a 25 year old driver in fact.

How to Save Money on Car Insurance as a Young or Old Driver

The most effective way for youthful and elderly drivers to save money on auto insurance is by shopping around, applying for discounts, and for young drivers to join their parents policy.

Shopping Around

Shopping around is the most effective money saving strategy when it comes to insurance costs. Certain companies are better at pricing young drivers than others as we found in our study of the best car insurance for teens. In that study, we found Erie to be the most affordable insurer for young drivers. Another surprise we found was the GEICO tended to be more expensive for younger drivers than State Farm, though it is often the opposite for drivers over 25.

We would recommend you get quotes from at least three companies, though the more the better. Most large insurers let you start a quote online allowing you to easily compare prices.

Discounts

Discounts are an easy way for young and senior drivers to save money on their premiums. Maintaining good grades (for young drivers still in school), and taking defensive driving or other driver re-education courses can save drivers up to 10% on their car insurance costs.

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

Joining Your Parents Policy

We found on average it costs about half as less to join your parent's auto policy than to start your own. The reason being is 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 parent's rates will become significantly more expensive. If they are willing to add you, that will be a surefire way of getting a lower rate.

Methodology and Sources

To find the rates for each age group we took two sample drivers: a male and female, both drive a 2015 Toyota Camry for 12,000 miles per year, opting for 25k/50k/25k with collision and comprehensive coverage. We got quotes for each age group reported above for both drivers in three cities located in New York, California and Michigan.

Statistics on Teenage Accidents: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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