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When your teenager has just turned 16, there's nothing as exciting and liberating for them than getting their eager paws on a driver's license and being handed the keys to take a family car out for a spin. But before they can relish the sweet taste of freedom of being in the driver's seat and cruising down an open road, they'll need car insurance.

But it’s not cheap. The average insurance rate in 2022 for a 16-year-old driver is more than $7,200 a year for full coverage.

Granted, the rate for a 16-year-old driver depends on the state in which they live, the type of car being insured, the coverage limits and whether the teen has his or her own policy or is being added to a parent’s policy – but note that state laws vary when it comes to a teen's ability to sign for insurance.

If you’re a parent, you're probably tempted to hide the car keys and have them hitch a ride with you indefinitely—it's far less trouble and less expensive that way.

But in this article we’ll look not just at the different rates for 16-year-old drivers, we’ll also suggest ways to find affordable auto insurance for teens.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Car insurance for a 16-year-old is typically far more expensive because they're considered high-risk.
  • It's usually a lot cheaper to add a teen driver to an existing family policy as a secondary driver.
  • Car insurance usually decreases as teens age, with a dramatic decrease once they turn 25.
  • To get the most affordable auto insurance rates, shopping around is essential.

How much is insurance for a 16-year-old?

Make no mistake: Car insurance for a teenage driver comes with a hefty price tag. So how much does insurance cost for a 16-year-old? The average rate is more than $7,200 a year for full coverage insurance for a teen on his or her own policy. This breaks down to more than $600 a month. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Note that teens younger than the age of majority can’t get their own insurance policies unless they’re emancipated adults. But it’s cheaper to list them on your policy, anyway.

Why is car insurance for 16-year-olds so expensive?

Because younger drivers lack experience on the road and have a higher rate of incidents and accidents than other age groups, they're seen as high risk. In turn, auto insurance companies put them in a "high risk" category, making their premiums more expensive.

“Insurance industry actuarial studies show that 16-year-old drivers have the highest accident frequency rate of any age group,” says Mark Friedlander, an Insurance Information Institute representative. “This is due to their lack of experience behind the wheel and a higher incidence of distracted driving – such as using cell phones and talking to friends while operating the vehicle – than more experienced drivers.”

Some somber facts: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that car crashes are teenagers’ second leading cause of death. In fact, approximately seven adolescents aged 13 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle crash injuries.

Sure, you might be eager to keep your teenager at home and wait until they're 30 before handing them the car keys. But realistically, you'll need to deal with the added costs of getting auto insurance coverage for your mini-me.

While insurance for the newbie driver in your life will cost money, there are savvy ways to put money back in your wallet and make sure your 16-year-old has sufficient coverage. Let's break down some price points.

Average car insurance cost for 16-year-old drivers

The average cost of car insurance for a 16-year-old with their own policy:

  • State minimum coverage: $2,511
  • Liability limits of 50/100/50: $3,008
  • Full coverage: $7,625

Consider that this is just an average. The rate can vary depending on your state, whether your child is getting their own policy or is hopping on a parent's household policy.

The cost also varies by gender.

Car insurance for 16-year-old males

Curious how much car insurance is for a 16-year-old male per month? The average national cost for a male is $7,625 for a policy that includes comprehensive and collision coverage, and liability limits of 100/300/100 – $100,000 per person, up to $300,000 an accident for medical bills for those injured in an accident you cause, and $100,000 for property damage that you cause.

That breaks down to $635 a month.

According to Insurance Information Institute research, 16-year-old boys have a higher accident frequency than 16-year-old girls.

“This mirrors a similar trend of adult male drivers having a higher accident frequency rate compared to adult female drivers,” Friedlander says. “Thus, 16-year-old boys are considered a higher risk than 16-year-old girls and will pay more for auto insurance, on average.”

Average car insurance cost for a 16-year-old female

The average cost of car insurance for a 16-year-old identifying female hovers at $6,782 for a policy that includes comprehensive and collision coverage and liability limits of 100/300/100.

If paid monthly, that equals $565 a month.

Compared to their male counterparts, a 16-year-old female pays $840 less yearly than a male.

The chart below displays the average insurance costs for a 16-year-old female and for a 16-year-old male, broken down by state, compared to the cost of insurance if added to their parent's policy.

Average Car Insurance Rates for 16-Year-Olds
StateFemale teen policyParent's policy with female teen addedMale teen policyParent's policy with male teen added
Alaska$5,137$2,847$5,995$3,117
Alabama$6,318$3,128$7,176$3,400
Arkansas$7,165$3,549$8,256$3,915
Arizona$7,415$3,929$8,592$4,456
California$6,257$4,919$6,257$4,919
Colorado$7,488$4,173$8,576$4,492
Connecticut$9,674$2,981$11,001$3,259
Washington, D.C.$6,910$3,540$8,683$4,028
Delaware$10,470$3,237$11,999$3,540
Florida$10,870$6,178$11,960$6,639
Georgia$6,651$3,398$7,969$3,743
Hawaii$1,517$1,338$1,517$1,338
Iowa$4,557$2,263$5,143$2,417
Idaho$5,316$2,257$6,074$2,481
Illinois$7,615$3,416$9,156$3,928
Indiana$5,285$2,821$5,943$2,993
Kansas$5,566$2,968$6,280$3,223
Kentucky$8,580$4,418$9,752$4,805
Louisiana$13,035$7,081$15,540$8,014
Massachusetts$7,067$3,706$7,067$3,706
Maryland$5,740$4,251$7,047$4,909
Maine$4,358$2,491$5,035$2,821
Michigan$8,199$7,781$8,199$7,781
Minnesota$4,890$3,334$5,827$3,563
Missouri$8,399$5,190$9,799$5,858
Mississippi$6,271$3,278$7,195$3,570
Montana$6,922$3,428$6,922$3,428
North Carolina$3,894$3,404$3,894$3,404
North Dakota$6,606$2,459$7,685$2,722
Nebraska$6,924$3,468$8,128$3,767
New Hampshire$5,418$2,260$6,229$2,470
New Jersey$8,999$4,595$10,241$5,125
New Mexico$5,993$3,364$6,598$3,647
Nevada$9,201$4,750$10,200$5,148
New York$6,147$3,849$7,397$4,378
Ohio$4,744$2,367$5,339$2,577
Oklahoma$7,158$3,938$8,419$4,755
Oregon$5,585$3,102$5,912$3,280
Pennsylvania$7,888$3,386$7,888$3,386
Rhode Island$10,114$4,303$12,135$4,839
South Carolina$6,527$3,873$7,274$4,030
South Dakota$5,751$2,638$6,674$2,959
Tennessee$6,399$2,950$7,338$3,223
Texas$8,036$4,330$9,162$4,733
Utah$7,467$4,253$8,487$4,672
Virginia$5,405$3,130$6,382$3,556
Vermont$3,973$2,424$4,698$2,687
Washington$5,710$3,441$6,270$3,635
Wisconsin$6,519$4,220$7,543$4,764
West Virginia$6,569$3,405$7,561$3,854
Wyoming$5,702$3,355$7,271$4,015

How to get the cheapest car insurance at 16 years old

Your best bet for getting inexpensive car insurance for your 16-year-old is to have them added as a secondary driver to your existing policy. Otherwise, expect to pay out the wazoo for a teen's auto insurance policy.

Let's take a look at the rates of the cheapest major insurance carriers to insure your teen:

Cheapest insurance companies for 16-year-old male drivers
CompanyParent policy with male teen added
Island$1,713
New Jersey Manufacturers$2,558
Nationwide$2,700
Mapfre$2,744
North Carolina Farm Bureau$2,897
Frankenmuth$2,967
Erie Insurance$3,107
USAA$3,138

Note: USAA is only available to members of the military, veterans and their families.

Cheapest insurance companies for 16-year-old female drivers
CompanyParent policy with female teen added
Island$1,713
New Jersey Manufacturers$2,332
Mapfre$2,496
Nationwide$2,552
Erie Insurance$2,684
Frankenmuth$2,787
North Carolina Farm Bureau$2,897
USAA$2,946

Note: USAA is only available to members of the military, veterans and their families.

Car insurance discounts for 16-year-old drivers

Your teenage driver may qualify for several different discounts, which can reduce the cost of your insurance premiums. These discounts include:

Good student discount

“Many auto insurers offer various discounts to help defer the high cost of coverage for 16-year-old drivers,” Friedlander says. “Most common discounts offered by national and regional insurers include a good student discount – meaning you must maintain a ‘B’ average or better in high school – and taking a certified driver education course before obtaining your driver’s license.”

Low mileage

The more time a teen spends driving a vehicle, the greater their chances of being involved in an auto accident or moving violation. That's why adolescents who drive a low amount of miles per year may be entitled to a discount. This is usually available to persons who travel fewer than 7,000 miles per year or less than 10 miles every weekday.

Telematics

Some insurers might offer a discount to policyholders with teens who install electronic monitoring devices to track the way teens drive in their cars.

“Usage-based telematics programs are also becoming more common for young teen drivers to help reduce insurance costs. This is where you allow the insurer to track your teen’s driving habits via a mobile app or installed device in the vehicle,” Friedlander says.

Best car insurance for 16-year-olds

As there is no one-size-fits-all car insurance policy for anyone, let alone 16-year-old teens, the best car insurance for a teen hinges on what's best for your situation and budget.

To figure out the best car insurance, do some comparison shopping, and look at the type of coverage, coverage limits and discounts available from different insurers. Check the cost difference between a separate policy for your teen versus adding them to your family policy.

How much does it cost to add a 16-year-old to car insurance?

The cost of adding a teen to a parents’ policy varies greatly – from a little more than $1,000 to more than $8,000 depending on where a family lives, the car they’re insuring and other factors.

But, as mentioned before, the easiest and cheapest route for parents of young drivers is to add a teen to their own policy. 

Remember: Insurance companies base the rates of premiums on a handful of factors – think experience and the policyholder’s driving record. Because a 16-year-old has neither, that means their rates will be higher.

Plus, teens wouldn't be eligible for specific discounts that a parent, who has a driving record, experience, and has carried insurance for several years, will be able to qualify for, such as a multi-vehicle, multi-policy, no-claims period discount and loyalty discounts.

Frequently asked questions

Can a 16-year-old get their own car insurance?

Yes, a 16-year-old teen can hop on their own car insurance policy – with a caveat. It will most likely be far more expensive than if they were added as a secondary driver to their parents' or guardians' family policy. Until your teen is the age of majority in your state, you will most likely need to be listed on their insurance policy, too. Per Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute, a parent or guardian must co-sign, as a 16-year-old cannot sign a legally binding document like an insurance policy on their own.

How does car insurance for a 16-year-old compare to other ages?

Car insurance for a 16-year-old driver is typically significantly higher than for other ages. That's because they are considered high-risk, as they lack experience and a driving record, and data show that they are more likely to get involved in a car crash than any other age group. In fact, car accidents are still the top killer of teens, according to the CDC.

Do car insurance rates go down after age 16?

As long as you maintain a clean driving record, the cost of premiums will usually go down after age 16. Typically, once a driver turns 25, there is a dramatic decrease in car insurance rates.

Does a 16-year-old have to have full coverage?

As laid out by state mandates, teens are required to have the minimum required coverage for car insurance in their states. The types of coverage and amounts vary according to where they live. Most states, however, require that insurance pays for damage or injuries to the other driver.

If a loan on the car still needs to be paid back, then the lender usually requires full coverage—collision, comprehensive and liability insurance.

How much is insurance on a sports car for a 16-year-old?

Car insurance rates depend on a handful of factors, including the type of car one drives. Usually, insuring a sports car is more expensive than other types of vehicles. That's because they're a higher risk to insure than say, a sedan or minivan.

Getting car insurance on a sports car for a teen can be a double-whammy. It's expensive to insure a sports car, and it's also more costly to insure a 16-year-old. So you can expect insurance on a sports car for a 16-year-old to be significantly more expensive.

Methodology:

Insurance.com publisher QuinStreet commissioned Quadrant Information Services in 2022 to field rates for auto coverage data by ZIP code for 16-year-old and 40-year-old drivers.

--Jackie Lam contributed to this article.

Sources:

Facts about teen driver crashes, injuries, and fatalities

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