Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Sep 14, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • Statistics show that teens are at the highest risk for being involved in accidents
  • Insurance companies can sometimes offer a discount for good students and taking drivers education classes
  • You can save by raising deductibles and opting for liability only if your teen is driving an older car


It’s an exciting time for parents when kids start to drive, but it’s also expensive. In addition to the cost of a car, you also need to cover the ongoing expense of car insurance. There are a few ways to save money when you have a teenager on your policy, but there’s also some need-to-know information when it comes time to insure them.

Compare car insurance quotes for your teen driver by using our free rate tool!

Are teenagers at the highest risk for accidents?

Accident statistics clearly show that teenagers are at the greatest risk for being involved in a crash. Taking the average miles driven into account, drivers between 16 and 19 years of age are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers over the age of 20.

According to the CDC, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up roughly 14 percent of the population, yet they cause roughly 29 percent of all accident injuries.

In-depth research has reviewed the groups that are most at risk and determined that:

  • Boys are twice as likely as girls to be involved in fatal accidents.
  • Teens who have teen passengers are more likely to be involved in a crash. The risk rises along with the number of passengers.
  • The highest risk is for teens who are newly licensed.

It’s wise to understand why teens are so prone to accidents. A good deal of it has to do with the following:

  • a general lack of experience
  • inability to recognize hazardous driving conditions
  • the willingness to shorten following distances

Teens are also more likely to speed, and the studies show that they’re the least likely to buckle up when in the car.

Alcohol also plays a role in some accidents. It’s unfortunate, but there is no doubt some percentage of 17-year-old drivers out there who drive under the influence. Considering all of these facts, it’s not surprising that teen drivers are given the highest rates by insurance companies, but there are ways to get those costs down.

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What should every parent know about teen drivers?

In order to avoid problems with the law and your own insurance company, there are certain facts you should be aware of. The first is that teenagers must be insured just like every adult driver.

In some cases, your insurance company won’t require coverage on a teen with a learner’s permit, but you’ll need to have him or her covered when the standard license is issued.

You may want to have your child get insurance in his or her own name, but this is generally only possible if the child owns the car. Most states have laws prohibiting teenagers from owning cars, so this many not be an option. Adding teenagers to an existing policy will no doubt raise the price in most cases, but sometimes that’s still cheaper than them having their own. Auto insurance policies aren’t usually cheap, but there’s a few ways to keep the average cost down.

  • If your child will have his or her own inexpensive car, then have your insurance company assign a specific vehicle to this new driver. You can also exclude them from driving the more expensive cars.
  • When shopping around, be sure to ask to see if a student discount is an option; some companies will offer a discount in exchange for proof of good grades.
  • Invest in a monitoring system that will track your child’s driving habits. Set strict consequences for speeding or driving aggressively. You can have a device installed in the car or just add one to the cell phone.

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Should you increase your liability coverage?

As a driver with a clean driving record, you may have confidently lowered the levels for your personal liability insurance. When you have a teen driver in the house, you need to change those coverage levels.

When the car belongs to you and your name is on the insurance policy, you can be named in any lawsuit.

Protect your assets by boosting the amount of your liability insurance. Ideally, your insurance should be at least enough to cover your personal assets.

You can save on this addition by asking your agent about good driver discounts or shopping around for other auto insurance companies using a comparison tool.

Are there any benefits to insuring a teen driver?

You’re worried about the cost of insurance for a teen driver, and this is completely normal. However, there are also some key benefits that you may not have considered. After you call your insurance company and have the policy adjusted, you can look forward to:

  • Keeping your teenager focused on grades. Good grades often lead to discounts, and you can always take the keys away if the grades slip.
  • Getting your teen back in the saddle after an accident. If you have collision coverage, then you can get the car fixed faster after an accident.
  • Teaching them personal responsibility. Let your teen know how much the insurance rates are and speak openly with them about how personal habits will play a role in the premiums.

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Is the best policy really your own?

You’re probably going to have to put your teen driver on your own policy, so you want to choose the right one for your family. More often than not, this is the cheaper route, rather than your teenager getting a separate policy. Plus, as stated above, this can lead to teachable moments.

Whether you go with a new company for better rates or decide to stay where you’re at, you may want to adjust your plan in order to save money. Consider the following changes:

  • Raise your collision and comprehensive deductibles to keep premiums down. Increase your emergency fund accordingly so that you’ll have the money if there is an accident.
  • If your child will primarily drive an older car that’s paid for and has minimal value, then just go with liability insurance only on the vehicle.
  • Get your child a safe car with excellent crash test ratings for lower premiums.
  • Notify the insurance company if your child goes more than 100 miles away to school and doesn’t take the car along.
  • Request multi-policy or multi-car discounts to save even more money.

One easy way to save on insurance is by having your son or daughter take a driver’s education course. These classes teach your child about safe driving and may reduce the risk of accidents. Explaining the dangers of distracted driving isn’t meant to frighten your teen away from driving, it’s to help them see what it takes to grow into a safe and responsible adult.

Talk to your insurance company ahead of time to find out about the potential discounts and see if they have a list of recommended classes in your area. Rates for teen drivers can sometimes be higher than what we can afford; looking into ways to cut costs is incredibly common. This is why many providers offer a safe driving discount. Your auto insurance provider should be willing to work with you. If they’re not, you can always shop around to find someone who will offer you a cheaper auto insurance premium.

Does the type of car matter?

Just as you shop around for the best insurance, you should also shop around for the best car for your teen driver. It’s not about the make and model as much as what’s under the hood and how safe it will keep your child.

Cars that are affordable to repair and highly rated for safety will typically carry lower rates.

Your child is going to have his own ideas about what type of car he should get, but you can easily steer him towards vehicles with:

  • Heavier weights for reduced rollover risk and improved handling in poor weather
  • Low horsepower rating to limit the acceleration capability and help keep speed down
  • Electronic stability control to help your child stay in control of the vehicle even in wet conditions
  • Five-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Some companies offer pay-as-you-go programs that allow you to pay based on the number of miles driven. This is handy for teenage drivers who will just be going a few miles to school and sports practices.

A device will be placed in your car, and it can help you save a little on the annual premiums. It’s a win-win because you get a cheaper insurance policy, and your provider gets to collect valuable data while your teen drives.

Do rates eventually drop?

The key to getting rates down is for teenage drivers to maintain a safe driving record. You can then call the company at the end of each year and ask to have the history reviewed to see if you can get lower premiums.

Once they develop into a more experienced driver, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier. But until then, you can keep an eye on your teen’s driving behaviors with special smartphone apps that let you track speed, braking, phone use, and other information.

Paying for a teen driver is expensive, and there’s no magic touch that will make it cheaper. Plus, cheap car insurance doesn’t often mean you get the amount of coverage you need for your family. Instead of going with the cheapest option and forfeiting necessary protection, there are other ways you can cut costs. You can save on rates by shopping around for a better plan, adjusting your coverage levels, looking for common discounts, and assigning your new driver to the cheapest car in your household.

Compare auto insurance quotes for your teen driver today by entering your zip code below.