Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • Teenagers are the highest risk age group in terms of driving and car insurance rates
  • Teen drivers tend not to be able to recognize situations that are hazardous and dangerous and, as a result, drivers ages 16 to 19 get into accidents four times as much as drivers in other age categories
  • Make sure to shop around to compare the best rates for the coverage that you need for your teenager

Four things that will undoubtedly raise your teen car insurance rates are the following:

  • getting a speeding ticket
  • causing an accident
  • driving a new flashy sports car
  • getting caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Car insurance rates for teenagers are through the roof. They’re at the very beginning of their driving career. So they lack experience, and things that come naturally to older drivers are still new to them. This and other age-related factors make teen drivers high-risk drivers meaning rates will be higher until they reach a certain age with a clean record.

Just like other drivers, teens can do things that will increase or decrease their auto insurance rates. Taking a defensive driving class or getting good grades could help with some insurers. Keeping a clean driving record free of traffic violations is the biggest thing that will help combined with time.

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Teenagers are the highest risk age group in terms of driving and car insurance rates. There are multiple reasons for this and most of them are just due to age and inexperience.

As your experience increases, your rates may stay the same, decrease, or increase. It is important to be aware of what will increase and decrease your premiums.

What Else Makes Teen Auto Insurance Rates So High?


One of the biggest reasons for high car insurance rates for teenagers is inexperience on the road.

This combined with other factors makes it more likely teens will be in an at-fault accident leading to a claim insurance companies have to pay out on.

Teen drivers tend not to be able to recognize situations that are hazardous and dangerous and, as a result, drivers ages 16 to 19 get into accidents four times as much as drivers in other age categories.

Breaking the speed limit tends to be common among teen drivers. Also, keeping the appropriate distance between their vehicle and the one ahead of them seems to be an issue for many teenagers. This is not due to physical issues with eyesight, but rather inexperience.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are certain groups of teenagers that are at even higher risk.

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Are Boys Riskier Drivers than Girls?

According to the average rates for teen drivers, yes. Male teen drivers get into more accidents than female teen drivers, and their death rate from motor vehicles is twice as much as it is for females. This reflects in higher average premiums for teen boys.

Teenage drivers who are in their first year of driving have a higher crash risk than other teenagers.

Having other teenagers as passengers in the car also increases the risk of crashing, and this increases with the number of teens present.

How Much Can Not Speeding Save You in Teen Insurance Rates?

Speeding is a big issue in terms of teenage drivers. It is also something that will raise insurance rates. Every time you get a speeding ticket, you are given a certain amount of points. The more points you have, the higher your insurance premiums will be. This is without ever getting into an accident. The more your teen speeds, the more likely they are to also file a claim.

Speeding increases your rates as speeding was the cause of 37 percent of fatal crashes for drivers ages 15 to 20 in 2005, according to the CDC. Male drivers tend to speed more than their female counterparts, which is another reason why car insurance rates for them are higher. What can parents do? Aside from enforcing no speeding rules and using apps to track kids, parents can lead by example by also following the speed limit. You could keep the annual premium for your whole family down by avoiding tickets.

Do Teens Really Cause More Accidents?

Accidents occur frequently on our roads and highways. If you’re in even one accident, it will lead to an insurance rate increase unless you have accident forgiveness. This is not always available for teens.

You can’t control other drivers, but you don’t want to be the cause of accidents. With smart, defensive driving, many accidents caused by other drivers can also be avoided. Causing an accident is one of the biggest reasons for increased insurance premiums. Because of their lack of experience with driving, teenagers tend to cause the most crashes driving up collision coverages. This also affects comprehensive coverage as not all accidents teens are in are with another car or in the narrow definition of a “collision.”

With most insurance providers, only one accident will cause your rates to rise because you are now considered to be a driver of higher risk.

If the accident results in serious injuries or death, your insurance rates may not only increase substantially, but your insurance company may decide to cancel your policy entirely.

For sure, three or more violations will negatively affect you. If you are a teenage driver with that type of driving record, the chances of your policy not getting renewed or canceled are pretty good.

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Driving a High-Risk Vehicle

The vehicle that you drive will affect your car insurance rates. If you are fortunate enough to be able to get a new car along with your new license, choose your car with care.

If there are multiple vehicles in your household to choose to drive as your main vehicle, you will save more money if you choose the family sedan over the sports car.

Cars that are considered to be high risk, such as a flashy sports car, will cause your insurance premiums to increase.

This is because these cars are associated with driving fast and taking chances. Even an older driver will pay higher insurance rates for a sports car. A teenager will pay even more.

If you are insured under your parents’ auto policy and there is a sports car listed on the policy, there may be a way to save some money. Have your parents list you as an excluded driver of the car. This exclusion will often keep their rates a little lower.

It also means that you are not allowed to drive the car. If you do and are in an accident, the insurance company will not pay for the damages.

Driving Under the Influence


Drinking and driving is the biggest mistake that a driver of any age can make. Drinking slows your reflexes and causes you to make poor judgments, which does not mix well with operating any type of motorized vehicle.

Teenagers are especially susceptible to getting into major trouble when driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Due to multiple things, teenagers have a higher risk of crashing with any level of blood alcohol compared to older drivers. Twenty-five percent of teenagers who were killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2008 had a 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol content) or higher.

The CDC reports that 26 percent of fatal crashes involving teenagers are due to drinking.

Even if your driving while drinking does not result in injury or death, there are many consequences associated with it. Being convicted of a DUI will definitely increase your rates, and for some teens, their policy will be canceled altogether.

If your current insurance provider cancels your policy, you can probably find some type of policy elsewhere, but it will cost you big time.

If you have trouble finding coverage with a standard insurance company, you may have to contact a high-risk provider or get coverage through your state government. Both of those choices should be avoided if at all possible.

Things that May Decrease Teen Car Insurance Rates


Although there are many things that can cause an increase in car insurance rates for teens, there are things that you can do to help decrease, or at least control, your rates. One way is to ease your teen driver into high-risk driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a program known as graduated driver licensing, or GDL.

Forty-six states have already integrated this program into their state driving laws to help decrease crashes related to teen driving. In fact, this strategy has decreased accidents anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.

GDL introduces different levels of risk to teen drivers in a progressive way. Young drivers are eased into driving by starting in conditions of low risk. As their skills increase and they are more comfortable on the road, higher elements of risk are introduced.

Not only will participating in graduated driver licensing programs result in safer drivers, some insurance companies will give a discount of up to 10 percent to those teens that do.

Just as driving a fast sports car will increase auto insurance rates, driving a safer car will help to lower rates. Vehicles to be avoided besides high-performance cars include SUVs and trucks because they are more likely to be involved in rollovers.

Visit the website for Safer Car to find a car that scores high for safety. This will help keep your rates lower.

Many car insurance companies will reward teenagers and other students for getting high grades. Student drivers who have a 3.0 GPA or better, which equals a “B” average, will often save up to 10 or 15 percent on their car insurance policy.

Also, check with your insurance company to see if discounts are available to teenagers who take a driver’s education course or safe driver program.

An education course results in more practice, and also more confidence, on the road, which helps them better handle road conditions and situations.

Teenagers who participate in programs for safe drivers will often have to sign a contract for certain things, such as saying they will not drive while under the influence. Some drivers also get discounts if there are tracking devices, such as GPS, in the vehicle.

This helps to limit teenage driving as, if they travel too far or go over a particular speed, the parents are sent an automatic message.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, just being a good role model as a parent and driver can affect the driving habits of your teenager. When you wear a seatbelt and avoid drinking and driving, this often rubs off on your teen.

Also, have discussions with your teen driver about the different dangers of driving distracted:

  • cell phones
  • radio controls
  • friends in the car

Lay out a plan if they are ever in a situation in which they are passengers in a car of a friend who has been drinking and insists on driving.

Almost three out of every ten teens has admitted to being a passenger in a car of someone who has been drinking, according to the CDC. Knowing how to handle that situation may help prevent a lot of accidents and injuries.

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