The Best Cheap Car Insurance for Teens

Finding the best cheap car insurance for teenagers is relative. The age and type of car, whether the teen is on their parents’ insurance, the teen’s age, sex and whether they are a good student — these are all factors.

Compare Affordable Auto Insurance Rates

Save money on auto coverage with our simple comparison tool.

Matching you with providers.
We found results in
Click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

    Powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838)

    But there are many ways that teens can save money on insurance. For example, joining a parent’s existing policy will usually be much cheaper. Teens can also demonstrate responsibility and low risk by getting consistently good grades, completing driver education courses, and using safe driving practices, leading to better rates.

    Of course, price isn’t everything; you don’t want your teen to hit the road with a skimpy insurance policy. We’ll look at auto insurance premiums for teens, factors in costs and how to save money on auto insurance for teens. We’ll also share our five favorite auto insurance providers for teens.

    In this article

      The 5 best cheap car insurance for teens

      SimpleScore J.D. Power Rating AM Best Rating S&P Rating
      GEICO 4.8 3/5 A++ AA+
      Nationwide 4.4 3/5 A+ AA+
      State Farm 4.6 4/5 A++ AA
      Progressive 4.2 3/5 A+ AA
      Erie 4.2 2/5 A+ AA

      Great overall – GEICO

      Teens who are strapped for cash will benefit from an affordable car insurance policy from Geico.

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A++
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA+
      SimpleScore
      4.8 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore GEICO 4.8
      Discounts 5
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      Geico is a great option for young drivers who are on a budget. The company offers some of the lowest rates and several discounts that are available to teens. When your teen becomes an adult and is ready for their own policy, they can benefit from the Family Pricing Program, which could lower their first individual policy. Geico doesn’t skimp on policy options either — from emergency roadside assistance to mechanical breakdown coverage, you can customize your policy, even on a budget. You and your teen driver will also have access to a highly rated app making it easy to manage you and your teen’s policy.

      Great policies – Nationwide

      In the early days of driving, many teens can benefit from accident forgiveness, which is offered by Nationwide.

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA+
      SimpleScore
      4.4 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Nationwide 4.4
      Discounts 3
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      Nationwide offers a number of coverages that can benefit a teen driver, like roadside assistance and accident forgiveness. In fact, we found that Nationwide has one of the highest number of coverage options, at 15. Additionally, the SmartRide program will let you install a device in your teen’s car to monitor for safe driving habits, encouraging your teen to stay safe and potentially reduce your insurance rate. Other rate reduction opportunities include good student and accident-free discounts.

      Great customer service – State Farm

      Getting car insurance as a young driver can be confusing, but with a State Farm policy, you can work with helpful agents or use online support tools to make the process easier.

      J.D. Power Rating
      4/5
      AM Best Rating
      A++
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      SimpleScore
      4.6 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore State Farm 4.6
      Affordability 4
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 5

      State Farm offers great customer service and claims handling. In fact, J.D. Power ranks this auto insurance provider in the top five in almost every region in the U.S., including No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic with a score of 855 out of 1,000. However, State Farm doesn’t always offer the lowest price. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of discounts for teens to choose from, including a highly reduced rate if your teen goes away to school for most of the year without a vehicle. If your teen is a safe driver, they can enroll in the Steer Clear® program to potentially save money.

      Great for careful driving – Progressive

      Progressive is our pick for young drivers who practice safe driving habits, with and without their parents in the car.

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      SimpleScore
      4.2 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Progressive 4.2
      Discounts 4
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 4
      Accessibility 4

      Progressive is a great car insurance company for teen drivers who practice safe driving habits. Like Nationwide, Progressive also offers a safe driving device called Snapshot, which has an average discount of $145. The provider also offers GAP insurance, which might be nice to have for teens who are driving a newer car that hasn’t been paid off. When you share your Progressive policy with your teen driver, your teen has access to the same policy limits and coverage options as you do — from liability limits to roadside assistance and disappearing deductibles. Plus, when you add a teen driver, your policy may qualify for the teen driver discount.

      Great for new driving – Erie

      New drivers who are freshly licensed may benefit from Erie’s young driver discount and robust coverage options.

      J.D. Power Rating
      2/5
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      Standard & Poor’s
      AA
      SimpleScore
      4.2 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Erie 4.2
      Discounts 3
      Coverage Options 5
      Customer Satisfaction 4
      Support 5
      Accessibility 4

      J.D. Power rates this insurance provider highly for customer satisfaction in the regions where it’s offered, including the Mid-Atlantic, North Central and Southeast regions. The company offers the Youthful Driver Discount, which is specific to young drivers under 21 who live with their parents. Other teen-related discounts include a driver training course for drivers under 21. Plus, Erie offers the Youthful Longevity discount, where unmarried young drivers may qualify for a credit for consecutive years spent insured under another Erie auto policy (like a parent’s policy, for example). Erie also offers many coverage options that are ideal for teen drivers, like first accident forgiveness and a rate lock guarantee.

      How much does teen car insurance cost?

      You may have heard that auto insurance decreases as you get older when you’re under 25, but there is an unfortunate consequence of aging when you’re in that bracket. If you get off your parents’ insurance when you turn 18, your premiums can skyrocket. The premiums below are the average annual full coverage premiums for males and females, by age.

      AgeMaleFemale
      16*$2,783$2,280
      17*$2,485$2,015
      18$5,727$4,983
      19$4,434$3,831
      21$3,149$2,787
      25$2,046$1,932

      *Students were on parents’ insurance.

      Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates were determined by adding a 16- or 17-year-old teen to a 40-year-old married couple’s policy. The parent driver rates were calculated with a clean driving record and good credit.

      Why the disparity? It’s partly due to inexperience. Here are some of the triggers that make teen drivers a risk to insurance companies, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s teen driver fact sheet:

      • Inexperience. Teens often have trouble identifying dangerous situations.
      • Nighttime and weekend driving. The CDC reports that in 2018, 37% of motor vehicle crash deaths among teen drivers and passengers ages 13–19 occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 52% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
      • Not wearing seat belts. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey Controlled Intersection study reports that from 2010-2019, people ages 16-24 were consistently less likely to wear seat belts than adults ages 25 and older.
      • Distracted driving. The U.S. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed in 2019 that 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving.
      • Speeding. The CDC reports that teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next).
      • Alcohol use. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that in 2019, 5.4% of teens reported driving while under the influence, while 16.7% reported riding with a driver who had been drinking.

      The CDC advises parents to warn teen drivers about:

      1. Driver inexperience
      2. Driving with teen passengers
      3. Nighttime driving
      4. Not using seat belts
      5. Distracted driving
      6. Drowsy driving
      7. Reckless driving
      8. Impaired driving

      How to get cheaper car insurance for a teen  

      Join a parent’s policy

      A potential way to save money on a teen’s car insurance policy is by adding him or her to an existing parent’s policy. Even after your teen graduates high school, if they are still living at home and you own or co-own their vehicle, you could consider keeping your adult child on your insurance, as your multi-car or multi-driver discount can cut their costs.

      Use all available discounts

      You can also save money by inquiring about specific discounts teens may qualify for. Discounts such as:

      • Good student discounts: If your student gets good grades, your car insurance provider may be willing to offer them a lower rate in exchange for their demonstration of responsibility. For example, Geico offers discounts to students with an average grade of B or better.
      • Student away discounts: Does your teen spend most of the year away at school without access to the family’s vehicles? If so, let your insurance provider know. Many companies will slash your rates during the time that your teen isn’t actively driving.
      • Low-mileage discounts: Almost anyone can qualify for a low-mileage discount, but teens are usually a better fit for this type of discount since they generally don’t drive as far as most adults. If your teen is only driving to school and back, ask your insurance provider for a discount.
      • Safe driving discounts: Technology is overhauling the car insurance industry. Many providers offer smartphone apps or devices that will monitor your teen’s driving habits. Not only will this encourage your teen to be safer on the road and potentially reduce their risk of accidents, your provider might also discount their insurance rate.

      Pick a cheap car to insure

      The car your teen drives also has an impact on the rates of the policy. You can lower the impact on your premiums by choosing a car that costs less to insure. According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), the least expensive cars to insure include the Honda Odyssey LX, Jeep Wrangler Sport and Subaru Outback.

      How much coverage does a teen need?

      Every state has a minimum required amount of insurance that all drivers must carry. For example, Florida requires 10/20/10, while Alaska requires 50/100/25. (In the case of Florida, this means coverage must include up to $20,000 for total liability in an accident [middle number], subject to a limit of $10,000 for liability for each person [the first number], and $10,000 for property damage liability [the last number].)

      That said, there are optional coverages that can be beneficial. Here are the types of coverages that teens should consider:

      • Collision: Collision coverage pays for damages to your vehicle after a crash if you’re at fault or if you collide with an object.
      • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage pays for vehicle damages from certain events other than an accident. If you live in an area that is prone to extreme weather or animal crossings, consider adding this coverage.
      • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This type of coverage helps protect a driver if they get into an accident with someone who isn’t insured or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover their losses. This coverage also applies to hit-and-run situations.
      • Medical payments: Medical payments coverage will help pay for a driver’s injuries or their passengers injuries after an accident regardless of who is at fault.
      • Accident forgiveness: Accident forgiveness is often an optional coverage, but if your provider offers it, it can be a lifesaver for a young driver.

      Compare Affordable Auto Insurance Rates

      Save money on auto coverage with our simple comparison tool.

      Matching you with providers.
      We found results in
      Click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

        Powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838)

        Factors that affect premiums

        Insurance companies weigh many factors when determining auto insurance premiums, including:

        • Age: Younger drivers have less experience behind the wheel and are statistically more likely to get into accidents, which increases their risk to insurers.
        • Driving record: Teens don’t have much of a driving record to speak of, which makes it difficult for insurance companies to predict how safely they will drive, so they charge more to hedge against that risk.
        • Credit score: Creditworthiness is used as a measure of responsibility and has been correlated with how likely a driver is to file a claim. Teens are again at a disadvantage here because they have little or no credit history they can use to demonstrate how responsible they are.
        • Where you live: If you live in an area where there’s a high risk of car theft, for example, you can expect to see higher rates. Cities, in general, have higher auto insurance premiums than rural areas. Rates are also dependent on what coverages are required by your state.
        • Your vehicle: Vehicles with high safety ratings and safety equipment like anti-lock brakes or an anti-theft device can earn you lower auto insurance rates.
        • Your gender: Although some states have banned the use of gender in rating policies, statistics have shown that women are less likely to get into an accident than men, so they’re usually quoted lower rates, especially during their teenage years. Sorry, guys!
        • Marital status and education level: Being married and having a college degree both decrease auto insurance rates because of a lower perceived risk. Unfortunately, this is also going to work against most teens.
        • Your level of coverage: If you purchase higher coverage limits or optional coverages like accident forgiveness or rental car reimbursement, you can expect to pay more than someone choosing the state minimum.

        Teen car insurance FAQ

        Teen boys are typically more expensive to insure than teen girls because insurers have determined that they are statistically riskier when it comes to safe driving and accidents.

        Many discounts may be available to teen drivers, including good student discounts, student away at school discounts, low-mileage discounts, and safe driving discounts.

        You have to be an adult (at least 18) to purchase your own policy, because you are legally entering into a contract, which isn’t binding if you are under 18.

        We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the auto insurance companies we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

        Methodology

        SimpleScore

        The SimpleScore makes it easy to compare products and services featured here on The Simple Dollar in a transparent, open and honest way. We rate these products and services using five factors and average them to calculate a single SimpleScore. For auto insurance, we compare:

        • Discounts
        • Coverage options
        • Support
        • Customer satisfaction
        • Accessibility

        You can read more about each factor and the details of each score in our auto insurance methodology. Use our ratings and editorial recommendations as you shop for the best auto insurance that fits your coverage needs.

        Car insurance rates: We used insurance rates from Quadrant Information Services. This includes analyzing thousands of rates from all 50 states that were publicly sourced from 2019 insurer filings. Rates are based on a 30-year-old male or female that had a clean driving record. Full Coverage premiums assumed a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible, and we looked at those who had both good and poor credit. These rates should be used to inform your car insurance shopping process, but your own quote may differ.

        Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

        To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.
        However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare State Farm’s home insurance according to our criteria for the best home insurance, it scores a 3.8 out of 5. But when we compare State Farm according to the criteria for the best auto insurance, it scores higher, since the features the company offers can vary by the type of insurance.

        Discounts

        We looked at the number of discounts each company offers — more discounts mean a higher score.

        Coverage Options

        We awarded higher scores to the companies that have the most coverage options.

        Support

        We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

        Customer Satisfaction

        We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each company. (If a company wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

        Accessibility

        We looked at the level of accessibility of each company –– the more resources they have the higher their score.

        Elizabeth Rivelli

        Contributing Writer

        Elizabeth is a contributor to The Simple Dollar, where she reviews insurance providers and policies. She has more than three years of experience writing for top online insurance and finance publications, including Bankrate, Coverage.com and Reviews.com.

        Reviewed by

        • Nashalie Addarich
          Nashalie Addarich
          Insurance Editor

          Nasha Addarich is an editor at The Simple Dollar and a former attorney who specializes in home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and savings. She is a former contributing editor to Reviews.com.