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: Apr 20, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • First-time drivers have much higher car insurance rates than the average driver
  • A driver’s age, credit history, and any previous driving experience indicate the level of risk an insurance company assumes
  • Shopping online, looking for discounts, and purchasing minimum coverage can help provide the cheapest rates for first-time drivers

The thrill of getting your license can be marred by the sticker shock of shopping for car insurance, which is a requirement for getting behind the wheel in most states. And you cannot ignore that this crucial financial protection carries quite the expense. Fortunately, you can shop around for the cheapest car insurance for new drivers and get the best deal for your budget.

When car insurance is required by the state, there are generally minimum coverage terms to follow. Our guide can help you narrow down what to look for in car insurance as a new driver.

How To Find the Cheapest Car Insurance for New Drivers

Car insurance rates are determined by a number of factors, and as a new driver, several of these factors could work against you. Driver age and history play a big part in assessing the potential liability of a driver, and as a new driver, there is very little information for a car insurance company to work with.

If you are under the age of 25, your insurance rates will often be higher than the average driver in the United States, which is right around $1,009 per year. This averages out to $84 a month.

Though the rates may be higher for a new driver, it’s still possible to find great coverage at a rate you can afford. When buying your first car insurance, you can start with an online quote tool to give you a basic overview of the costs between companies.

By comparing car insurance basics like age, vehicle type, or geographic location, you can find the cheapest car insurance for your driving situation.

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What information do first-time drivers need to compare insurance rates?

Before you can shop for the best rates, you need to gather some personal information. The more information you can provide for a quote, the better you will understand your potential insurance costs.

Make sure to have the following on hand when you start researching quotes:

  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license
  • Address
  • Marital status
  • Education level
  • Occupation
  • Insurance history
  • Driving history

As a first-time driver, you may be included on a parent or legal guardian’s insurance policy, or you could seek your own personal policy. These details could be considered as a part of prior insurance history, just as taking a driver’s education course should be included.

Average Cost of Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers

Car insurance rates vary from state to state, but on average, first-time drivers can expect to pay anywhere from $4,759 to $8,000 per year in coverage. First-time drivers who are older than 25 could see a bit of a break in the rates, but an individual’s driving experience is also an important factor when companies are quoting insurance.

Inexperienced drivers are more likely to get into accidents, either from overconfident, risky driving behaviors or from hesitation and lack of situational awareness. Looking at the average cost of insurance by age highlights the impact of this factor on a policy’s cost.

In the table below, we compiled a list of the average rates for first-time drivers:

Driver’s AgeAverage Yearly Rate
16-Year-Old$3,343
17-Year-Old$2,752
18-Year-Old$2,415
19-Year-Old$1,812
20-Year-Old$1,618
21-Year-Old$1,250
22-Year-Old$1,134
23-Year-Old$1,053
24-Year-Old$998
25-Year-Old$862

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As you can see, the older you get the lower your rate continues to go, as long as you don’t have any serious driving infractions and/or tickets on your record.

What else affects the rates for first-time drivers?

The type of vehicle you drive also impacts your rates. The make and model of a vehicle affect the affordability of repairs and maintenance, and expensive SUVs and sports cars have higher costs. An economy sedan is typically cheaper to insure and has a higher safety rating than luxury vehicles on the market.

Choosing to drive an expensive car as a first-time driver all but guarantees your rates will be higher than average.

Young, first-time drivers also tend to have a limited credit history, sending red flags to insurance companies. Your credit score gives a company insight into how much of a risk you may be, and not having a credit history or having bad credit indicates a higher risk.

Male drivers also present more risks than female drivers. Even with these concerns, though, it’s still possible to find cheap rates when buying your first car insurance policy.

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10 Tips for Getting Cheaper Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers

Finding the best deal for the cheapest car insurance means comparing rates across multiple companies and looking for potential discounts. You can also proactively try to lower your rates through the following tips:

  • Ask to be added to an existing policy of a parent, guardian, or friend.
  • Use online comparison tools to determine coverage options from multiple sources.
  • Purchase the minimum required coverage amounts for your state.
  • Look for companies that offer a variety of policy discounts.
  • Avoid accidents and traffic citations when driving.
  • Choose a higher deductible for your policy.
  • Build or maintain a strong credit history through on-time bill payments.
  • Consider your vehicle’s coverage cost before buying a car.
  • Adjust your policies coverage limits.
  • Shop around for rates every six months to a year.

These tips can help you avoid overpaying for car insurance, even if it’s your first time choosing a policy.

Start Your Search for the Cheapest Car Insurance Rates for First-Time Drivers

As a first-time driver gets older and gains more experience behind the wheel, car insurance rates should start to improve.

However, lower rates depend on the type of driving and credit history established over time. Keeping these records clean impacts the other factors involved when getting new quotes for cheap car insurance. Armed with this information, you can find the best rates for the coverage you need.