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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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Agent for 15 Years Rachael Brennan

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: Jun 21, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Citations and accidents are two of the primary reasons why you would be a high driving risk
  • Rates are based on the state that you live in
  • There are discounts that are just for young drivers and other policy discounts for everyone who qualifies

Car insurance premiums do not remain the same all throughout your life. There are a variety of different factors that will affect your rates, but one factor that has a direct and dramatic effect on your rates will be your age.

When a 17-year-old has their license and can legally drive on their own, it is only natural for their car insurance rates to be high.

This is because 17-year-olds who have their driving privilege are considered high-risk drivers who are more likely to cost the insurer money.

While it may be difficult to comprehend initially, it is possible to be a high-risk driver even when you have a clear driving record.

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What kind of car insurance does a 17-year-old driver need?

Like all drivers, 17-year-olds must adhere to the minimum coverage requirements set by the state. This generally means liability insurance, but it may also include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and/or personal injury protection.

Liability-only car insurance pays for damages other parties incur in an accident you caused. If you want your insurance to pay for repairs to your vehicle after an accident or other incident, you will need collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. A combination of liability, collision, and comprehensive is called a full-coverage insurance policy.

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Why does age have such a dramatic impact on car insurance rates?


Citations and accidents are two of the primary reasons why you would be a high driving risk.

No matter how responsible you feel like you or your child is, teens are not classified as the most responsible people as a group, and your 17-year-old is not an experienced driver.

Since car insurance companies cannot sit back and observe every individual that applies for an insurance policy, they must consider averages, statistics and group data when they are assessing risk and determining rates.

The underwriter will consider some personal factor, but one group factor that is considered is age and how likely people in an age group are to file a claim.

It is scary for adults to hear that car crashes are the leading cause of death amount people in the 15 to 20 age range.

It can also make you rethink your choice to allow your teen to get licensed when you consider that teens are at three times more likely to get into a crash than someone in their 20’s.

Not only is crash risk higher, drivers between 15 and 24 cause more than 50 percent of the vehicle accident injuries that are reported in the nation.

Age and experience will affect you, but there are ways to offset the negative impact with discounts and other positive rating factors.

What factors put teens more at risk than other drivers?

If you have not quite swallowed the fact that the data says a majority of teens are risky drivers compared to their older counterparts, you should take more time to learn about the factors that lead up to the risk classification.

Generally speaking, teens who are 17 are still attending high school and must get up early in the morning to prepare for class.

Since teens tend to stay up late, they are missing out on the sleep that they need to have a good reaction time and to avoid accidents. This is why many accidents happen early in the morning.

Not all teens are impulsive or irresponsible, but teens will fall into this category over an older driver.

Teens are also more prone to peer pressure, especially males. Males tend to be more aggressive and speedy behind the wheel.

Females tend to get easily distracted with devices and other applications.

The fact that the teenage brain is not fully developed does lead to impulsive decisions. When a teen driver is impulsive and they are operating a two-ton weapon, it can turn into a disaster.

How much will insurance cost when you are at a high-risk age?


Being a 17-year-old driver automatically puts a person in a high-risk class, but not all drivers who are 17 will pay the same amount. Male drivers and female drivers are charged dramatically different rates, even when every other factor is the same.

This is because males are deemed to be much higher risks when you are in the 15 to 25 age bracket.

Because there is data to back up the charges, it is completely legal for an auto insurance company to charge a 17-year-old male more than a 17-year-old female.

If you were to buy insurance for a 17-year-old who drives their own vehicle, it is not absurd to pay between $300 and $500 per month.

These premiums are based on a safe driving record.

For those who are adding a teen to their existing policy without adding a vehicle, listing a driver as an occasional driver will have less of an affect on premiums.

You may still pay between 70 and 100 percent more for your premiums with the added driver, but this will be much less of a price increase than it would be if you were to buy a separate plan.

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What other factors will affect your rates?

There is no way to tell if a teen will double, triple or quadruple your premiums until you start to compare quotes and price shop. The cost of teen car insurance will vary.

To really get a feel for how your personal life and your vehicle will affect your rates, you should learn about all of the factors that will determine your rates in addition to your age.

Age and experience may go together in most cases, but each of the other factors can make premiums skyrocket if you are at the wrong end of the spectrum in the rating class.

Here is a breakdown that will help you understand why you, your mom, and your sibling all pay different rates:

Vehicle Style, Ratings, and Safety Record

Having a safe vehicle can save anyone money, but when you are insuring a vehicle with a primary driver who is under the age of 18, having a safe car is a must.

Insurance companies use a lot of data to determine how safe a car is in accidents. If the vehicle is frequently involved in accidents that result in damage or injury, rates may be high.

If the car has poor crash testing grades, the rates will reflect that. Shop for a safe car with a good safety record for both a peace of mind and low rates.

Usage and Mileage

Driving to school each day comes at a cost. When you use your vehicle to drive to school you will be considered a commuter by an auto insurance provider.

Commuters pay more than people who drive for pleasure because of the conditions that they drive in. You also have to consider how long your commute to school is.

If you are in a high mileage bracket, you could pay higher rates. This is because driving high miles is more exposure and more of a risk.

Zip Code and Territory

Rates are based on the state that you live in, but also on the territory of the state. One of the reasons why your zip code can change rates when you move is because of the crime rates and statistics in the new territory.

If there is a low population and a high incidence of claims, your probability of filing a claim will be high. Whenever the probability of filing any type of damage or liability claim is high, the rates will rise.

What discounts can you take advantage of?


There are discounts that are just for young drivers and other policy discounts for everyone who qualifies. If you want to keep your cost of insurance low, you should take time to learn how you can qualify for savings.

Here are some of the most popular discounts that a majority of insurers offer:

  • Good Student Discount
  • Good Driver Discount
  • Driver Education or Driver Training discounts
  • Daytime driving discounts
  • Multi-car discount for policies with more than one vehicle
  • Multi-policy discount for homes with more than one line of insurance

The best thing teenage drivers can do to keep the cost of their auto insurance premiums low is to maintain a clean driving record. Warn your teen about the dangers of distracted driving. Not only is it not safe, your rates will skyrocket if they get a ticket or cause an accident.

Some companies do not offer affordable auto insurance rates for teen drivers, but others do. It is up to you to comparison shop so that you can find the competitive carriers and weed out the others.

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