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 13, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Car insurance rates are almost always more expensive for young drivers
  • Age is one of the main factors that help to determine rates
  • Gender is extremely important when the numbers are being crunched

Car insurance rates are almost always more expensive for young drivers who do not have experience. If you or someone in your household is about to be licensed, it is only natural to want to know how much you can expect to pay for coverage.

Preparing and budgeting for the premiums will help you relieve the shock if the expense is higher than you imagined.

Before you can start comparing premiums for 18-year-old drivers, you need to understand what goes into calculating auto insurance rates and what key factors will have an effect.

Consumers who are looking for providers of auto insurance need to take the time to comparison shop before they trust that they are receiving the best rates.

Without comparison shopping, even 18-year-old drivers could miss out on saving 10, 20 or even 30 percent off of their premiums.

If you are about to begin, start comparing car insurance rates by entering your zip code above!

Why are car insurance rates higher for teen drivers?


Age may be just a number to some, but age is a very important number to the insurance companies that extend coverage while you are behind the wheel of a motorized car.

Many wonder what age would have to do with how much you should pay for a specified amount of liability or physical damage coverage. The answer has to do directly with accident rates and claims.

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Traffic Crash Statistics

Rate determination is a very important process in selling auto insurance, and as a carrier’s actuaries are reviewing all of the data and identifying where the risks lie, they will look at which age groups have the most accidents.

While the trends can change over time, the data show that 18-year-old drivers are much more risky drivers than virtually all other drivers in other age groups. A teen driver is considered at risk, therefore, even if they have a clean driving record, it’s hard for them to find cheap car insurance.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, drivers between 15 and 20 are responsible for about $40.8 billion dollars of property damage resulting from traffic crashes.

Considering that this population only accounts for 6.4 percent of the population, this number is extremely high. The percentage of people injured or killed in accidents with teen drivers is also very high.

In fact, drivers between 16 and 20 are the most likely to be killed in a crash.

Age can be more than just a number when you are buying insurance.

This is why insurance tends to be much more expensive for drivers who are between 16 and 25, even when the driver has not gotten into an accident or violated a law to get cited. Age is one of the main factors that Age is one of the main factors that help to determine rates, but it is not the only one. For you to really learn about rates for 18-year-olds, you will need to learn about rates as a whole.

What goes into calculating car insurance rates?


Many consumers are shocked to find out that their rates are so much higher than the rates of people who are close to them.

It can be frustrating to learn that you are paying exorbitantly high rates when you know that your cousin, who tailgates and weaves in and out of traffic, pays low rates to cover their sports car.

What you need to understand is that most insurance companies cannot watch you all day to see how you behave behind-the-wheel.

There are some companies with a new “black box” option, which is a device that does record your driving habits to help with your rating.

What all insurers do to assess the risk that you present is use very common rating factors that will either raise or reduce the likelihood that you will file a claim.

All of the risk factors together paint a full and detailed picture for the insurer so that they know what they are getting into before they extend you an offer to protect you for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, some young drivers can qualify for discounts. Ask about a student discount, or any other school discount. Insurance discounts can help teenage drivers save on their average cost of insurance.

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Accident History and Claims Record

Aside from your age, accident and claims history are two of the most important factors that insurers will use to see how you behave when you are driving.

Records and reports can be very difficult to rely on for younger drivers who are only 18 years of age because they have little experience.

When there is a short duration of time to assess your actions behind the wheel, relying solely on your record and reports will not paint an accurate picture.

This is why the carrier must add in additional premiums for being inexperienced. If you do happen to have a ticket or an accident within the short period of time that you have been licensed, your surcharge will be very high.

This surcharge lasts for at least 36 months and can raise premiums and make you ineligible for special discounts like Good Driver and Good Student.

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Gender and Marital Status


Gender is extremely important when the numbers are being crunched. There are premium averages for 18-year-old females and for 18-year-old males.

If you are trying to figure out how much the average driver in your demographic pays, you are going to need to consider your gender.

One of the primary reasons why your gender is so important is because studies have shown that males take more risks when they are behind the wheel. These risks tend to end in more accidents that often involve damage and injuries.

For males that drive safe, do not speed, and do not drive aggressively, it sounds unfair to be charged for the bulk of the male species.

You will pay higher rates as an 18-year-old male, but when you reach your 30’s, you may pay less than females in your age group. Married males do pay less than unmarried males in all age groups.

Vehicle Type and Class

The type of vehicle that you drive is also extremely important. If a young teen is driving a sports car with a high-powered turbo-charged engine, they will pay more than a teen who is driving a modest station wagon.

The body style of the vehicle is not the only thing that will be reviewed.

Cars that cause a lot of damage, that cost a lot to repair, and that hold a lot of injured passengers will cost more for coverage. 

In addition to structural design and engine size, the crashworthiness, safety systems and cost to repair will be considered. You should always consider safety records when you are shopping for a teen’s first car.

What are the average premiums for teen drivers?


How much you pay will depend on the factors above and also on others not listed. In addition to rating factors, you also have to consider how much liability coverage and supplemental coverage that you want to purchase.

If you would like to know the averages in the entire nation, the average for a male is $5411. The actual rates range between $900 and $11,300.

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How to Pay Less than the Average

The average premium listed above can be very intimidating. You will need to consider the averages in your own state before you are scared away.

One way to keep your premiums low is to buy insurance with your parents while you still live in the household. By doing this, you can qualify for policy discounts that you would not receive on your own.

You also need to understand the importance of safe driving. Taking driver education saves you money for 3 years and also prepares you for driving defensively.

You should always take driver safety training to keep your record clean if you get a ticket and you are eligible.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!

The most effective way to save money on your car insurance premiums is to shop around.  Start comparing car insurance rates by entering your zip code below!