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 Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Nov 6, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • A 17-year-old may be able to obtain their own insurance but not by themselves
  • Teens can save more money by being added to a parent’s insurance policy
  • Teens can also access car insurance discounts just like adults
  • Shopping around and comparing prices is the best way to find a policy that will fit your lifestyle

Being 17 years old is kind of like being in the gray area between being a teen and a legal adult. At this stage in your life, having the freedom to drive is probably very important to you.

Whether you have a job or just need the ability to get around, driving is an important aspect of life as you near maturity.

Find out what you need to know about getting car insurance at age 17. Then, compare car insurance quotes to find the best price for the coverage you need.

Can a 17-year-old get their own car insurance?


Most states consider 18 years old as being the legal age in order to sign legal documents. Since a car insurance policy is considered a legally binding contract, you must be 18 years of age in order to sign.

However, this doesn’t totally exclude you from getting a policy of your own. As a minor, you have two options for car insurance:

  • Either your parents or legal guardian must be present with you to sign on the policy with you
  • Your parents can add you as a driver to their policy

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What are the pros and cons of obtaining an individual teen insurance policy?

Obtaining your own insurance as a teenager is a big step toward independence. One of the highlights of having your own policy is that you can establish a line of credit very early on. This is a great starting point to build excellent credit.

Taking out your own insurance policy as a teenager can be difficult. Some insurance companies even refuse to insure teenagers as individuals because of the increased risk factor for an accident.

According to statistics, teens have the highest risk of getting into an auto accident than any other age group. Insurance companies do not tread lightly on these facts. This is why insurance companies charge higher rates for teenagers.

What are the pros and cons of being added to your parent’s policy?


There are many benefits that you can take advantage of when you are added to your parent’s car insurance policy. For one, you can benefit from their good driving record.

While being added as a licensed driver to your parent’s insurance policy will make their insurance go up, it is still a much cheaper option than getting your own. Yes, it’s more expensive for them, but they won’t see their rates skyrocket because of it.

When comparing your two options for obtaining car insurance, the better choice is obvious. If you have the option to be added to your parent’s policy, it will most likely be much more cost effective and less stressful than taking out a policy of your own.

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What kind of car insurance coverage should a teenager have?

Each state has their own set of laws regarding minimum insurance requirements. Even teenagers must abide by these laws. Typically, you must have some form of liability insurance.

In order to fully protect yourself, consider adding the six coverages that make up a basic auto insurance policy, including:

  • Bodily Injury Liability helps pay for injuries to the other party or his passengers in an auto accident where you are at fault. It is important to have high limits of liability in case of a serious accident where the other party could sue you for damages.
  • Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) helps pay for your injuries or the injuries of your passengers in your vehicle in an auto accident.
  • Property Damage Liability helps pay for damages caused to someone else’s property in an auto accident. This is usually the other person’s vehicle, but could also include property such as a mailbox, telephone, or any other structure you hit.
  • Collision helps pay for damage to your vehicle in an accident, no matter who is at fault.
  • Comprehensive reimburses you for theft or damage caused to your vehicle caused by something other than an auto accident.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage helps pay for damages for accidents caused by those who do not have insurance or not enough insurance. An example of this situation would be a hit-and-run.

Depending on the age of your vehicle, determine whether you actually need collision or comprehensive insurance. It may cost more to insure an older vehicle than what it’s actually worth.

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How can I save money on car insurance?


There are ways to save money on car insurance, even for teenagers:

  • Good grades can earn a discount
  • Taking a driving class can help you pay less for coverage
  • Raising your deductible will result in lower payments
  • Shopping around will ensure the best rate

Most insurance companies will provide a discount for getting good grades in school. All you have to do is submit your report card or school records (with good grades of course) in order to receive the benefit.

Most insurance companies honor this discount because those who get good grades are less likely to file claims when compared with those who are not performing well in school.

Another way teenagers can save money on car insurance is to enroll in and complete a safe or defensive driving class. Simply turn in your forms issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles for the discount.

This is another way insurance companies can reward those who aim to be safer drivers.

If your parents are adding you to their policy, see if they are willing to increase their insurance deductible. By raising the deductible to at least $1,000, it will help lower insurance rates overall.

Just make sure you are able to pay the deductible in the event that your or someone else on the policy gets into an accident.

Ultimately, shopping around and comparing prices will help you find the best insurance for the price. Some insurance companies will offer much better deals for teen drivers than others.

Even the insurance company that offered the best price to your parents may have some of the highest rates for adding a teenager to a policy.

The easiest way to shop for car insurance is to do so online. There are many car insurance comparison tools that allow you to get multiple quotes from different companies all at once. This convenience helps you get the coverage you need for the right price.

Insurance companies consider teens high-risk drivers, but once you hit 25 you will see your rates start to go down as long as you keep a good driving record. Meanwhile, don’t let the higher rates get you down.

There are ways that you can save money if you just do your research. Enter your zip code below and see how much you could save on car insurance.