The Best Cheap Car Insurance and Average Costs for 18-Year-Olds

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Adding a teenage driver to your car insurance can be a shocking experience. Because they have little or no driving experience and are, as a group, prone to more high-risk driving behavior, insurance rates for teen drivers are higher than any other category. Just because teen insurance prices are high doesn’t mean there isn’t cheap car insurance for an 18-year-old, however. There are several strategies parents can use to reduce the cost of insurance for their newly licensed drivers.


How Much Does Car Insurance Cost for an 18-Year-Old?

Teens and adults alike are looking for the best car insurance rates. Teens, however, are entering the insurance world with a blank slate, which means they have no driving record to review. Because of this, they are given the highest possible rates to compensate for potential claims. While rates vary from state to state, nationally, it costs an average of $2,867 per year to add an 18-year-old driver to a family policy and $3,997 for an 18-year-old to have an individual policy. Expensive, yes, but adding an 18-year-old to a family policy can save an average of $1,130 a year.

Cheapest Car Insurance for 18-Year-Old Males and Females

While some states don’t allow insurance companies to set rates for teens based on gender, many places in the U.S. take gender into account when determining your rate. When it comes to 18-year-old drivers, males have higher rates because they typically have higher accident rates and file more insurance claims. Nationally speaking, 18-year-old females pay $2,686 average annually, while 18-year-old males pay $3,048, reflecting an average difference of $362 based on gender.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 18-Year-Old Drivers

Insurance companies have their formulas for determining rates, which means that the same driver could get quotes from multiple companies with significant price differences. The best car insurance for an 18-year-old driver added to a family policy can range from an average of $2,526 to $3,687, which is a 32% difference in price. Keep in mind that this is a national average. Depending on the state you live in and other rating factors, your premium could be significantly more or less than either of these extremes.

Cheapest Companies for 18-Year-Olds Added to Family Policy

Adding a teen to a family policy is one way to save a significant amount of money on insurance premiums. Because insurance companies typically offer discounts for having multiple cars on a policy and bundling policies, an 18-year-old who is added to a family insurance policy benefits from all of those discounts.


Car Choice Matters When Insuring a Young Driver

One of the best ways for teens to keep insurance costs low is to choose their vehicle wisely. Expensive, high-performance vehicles will drive up rates, and lenders require that financed vehicles carry comprehensive and collision coverage. Selecting a used Toyota or similar vehicle over a new muscle car can save you quite a bit of money on car insurance.

Teen Car Insurance Rates by Vehicle Type

Strategies to Save Money on Car Insurance for an 18-Year-Old

There are many ways to save money on insurance for your 18-year-old driver. As mentioned above, adding your teen to your family policy offers significant savings over having an individual policy. This isn’t the only way to save money on insurance for teen drivers, however.

Compare Quotes for the Best Policy for Your Family

Comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies is one of the most effective ways to save money on car insurance. Getting multiple quotes will help you find the lowest available rates for an 18-year-old driver, with our studies showing price differences of up to 40% between the cheapest and most expensive policies for teens.

Monitor Your Teen Driver to Ensure a Clean Driving Record

A clean driving record is absolutely necessary to keep teen insurance rates as low as possible. A single ticket or accident can cause their insurance rates to increase significantly. A relatively new way to save money on car insurance for teens is to sign up for a driving tracker. Many insurance companies now offer a variety of devices and mobile phone apps that can monitor your driving habits and reward you for safe driving. This only saves money for teens who are safe drivers, though, so consider this option carefully.

Find Companies That Offer Teen Discounts

Some car insurance discounts only apply to teen drivers. For example, most insurance companies offer good student discounts. GEICO offers this discount for students who have a B average or higher. Still, each company has its own standards, so it is essential to check with your insurer to determine exactly what the requirements are for the good student discount.

Another common discount offered by many insurance companies is an “Away At School” discount. This discount could apply if your 18-year-old is going to college at least 100 miles away from home and leaving their car behind. If they take their car with them to school, the discount does not apply.

Safe driving courses can also earn your teen driver a discount on their insurance. Beyond the immediate discount, taking a safe driving course can help reduce accident rates, which will save your family money over time. You will need to check with your insurance company to make sure they offer this discount before you sign up your teen for the class.

Lower the Coverage Amount

When thinking about what car to choose for a teen driver, an older, more affordable vehicle can help you save money on your car insurance. If you can afford to replace the car out of pocket, a liability-only car insurance policy can be an excellent way to save money on your insurance.

If you buy a new vehicle with a loan, the lender may require that you carry comprehensive and collision coverage. In contrast, a vehicle that costs several thousand dollars to replace in the event of an accident may need to carry full coverage even if you aren’t dealing with a lender. Choosing a cheap, older model can let you use liability-only coverage to keep insurance costs low.

Choose a Sedan Over a Sports Car

Choosing the right vehicle for your teen can save you hundreds of dollars each year. A sports car or luxury vehicle might be fun to drive, but these cars will significantly increase insurance costs for a new driver. A safe, simple sedan is often the cheapest vehicle to insure for a teenager. For example, the cost of insuring a Toyota Camry for an 18-year-old is, on average, $2,867 each year. On the other hand, the cost of insuring a Mustang GT is about $4,171 each year. You can save an average of $1,304 annually by choosing a Camry over a Mustang.

Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive for an 18-Year-Old?

Car insurance for 18-year-old drivers is expensive because insurance companies use your driving history to determine your insurance rates. If you have no driving experience, they automatically default to a presumption that you will file a claim. Insurers also do a fair amount of research into statistical groups, with years of records indicating that teen drivers are more likely to be reckless behind the wheel than drivers in other age groups.

Traffic Statistics for 18-Year-Old Drivers

Rating drivers on these factors may seem tenuous, but the number of fatal crashes, injuries and other accidents don’t lie. According to the chart below, 16- and 17-year-old drivers were involved in 3.75 fatal crashes for every 100 million miles driven. The numbers show that 18- and 19-year-old drivers were only involved in 2.47 fatal crashes, while 20- and 21-year-old drivers were involved in 2.15 fatal crashes. Driving does get safer as you get older and have more driving experience.

Accidents per 100 Million Miles Driven

While there are fewer teen fatal accidents per capita, there are significantly higher rates of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents per miles driven. Older drivers outnumber younger drivers by a significant amount, but for the number of miles they drive, teens are involved in more accidents.

The number of fatal accidents among teens is higher than among adults. In some instances, teens have double or triple the number of automobile fatalities of other age groups.


States With the Highest Car Insurance Cost for a 18-Year-Old

Auto insurance rates are determined at the state level. This means that the same person could see a significant difference in their insurance rates by moving from one state to another. Teens in Michigan, Louisiana and New York will have some of the highest insurance rates in the nation.

Top 10 Most Expensive States for 18-Year-Old

Some states have much lower rates for teens. Sometimes this is because the legislature doesn’t allow insurance companies to rate customers based on age. Other times, it is because the population of an area is much lower, reducing the likelihood that a driver of any age will be in an accident. Hawaii and Iowa are the states with the lowest rates for 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest Car Insurance Company by State


MoneyGeek collected data for 18-year-old drivers to determine average rates for car insurance. Because insurance rates are based on a variety of personal factors, your rates may be higher or lower than those listed in this article. You can see the information used to determine these averages on our methodology and disclaimer page.

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About the Author


Rachael Brennan is a professional freelance writer. She has been published on a number of websites, including Adweek, Glamour and Cracked. She has also worked in the insurance industry for more than a decade, earning her P&C license in all 50 states and her Life, Health and AD&D license in New York and the surrounding states.