Wondering about car insurance for teens?

If more families could figure out the cheapest way to insure a teenage driver, they would save lots of money.

The average cost to insure a teenage driver is an astonishing $2,267 per year. That rate compares to driving in one of the top three most expensive states for auto insurance.

Teen drivers in Michigan, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, or California often end up paying much more.

So do teens who live in “no fault” car insurance states. These states make it easier to get payouts for accident expenses without having to sue, but they require costly Personal Injury Protection coverage.

With all this in mind, car insurance for teens can be a pricey investment. Forget that “new car” they’ve been dreaming of – the first hurdle is to make sure they have the right insurance!

What Car Insurance Do Teen Drivers Need?

In general, licensed teen drivers must hold the same minimum car insurance as all other drivers. However, it takes a while to reach full licensure. Many states allow teens to begin learning how to drive with a restricted license at age 16.

Teens gain more driving privileges until they finally qualify for a full driver’s license.

In many states, this looks like:
  • In the beginning, being required to drive with a responsible adult in the immediate next seat
  • Later, being allowed to drive with a limited number of passengers (often just two or three)
  • Later still, being allowed to drive for longer periods of time and during the evening

By the time a teen has held a restricted license for six months or a year, he or she is expected to be able to pass the road test for a full driver’s license. However, there is no rush. Once a teen qualifies for a restricted license, he or she can continue to use it until ready for the real thing.

How Does a Teen Driver Qualify for an Unrestricted License?

While every state is different, the process of getting an unrestricted license doesn’t change much.

First, the teen must pass the written driving test. Some school districts provide training for teens so they are ready to pass the test. They take a “pre-test” in class and spend classroom hours learning defensive driving.

These classroom hours meet state requirements to ensure a driver is informed before hitting the road. If the teen misses these hours for any reason, then he or she will have to take the driving course online instead.

After classroom hours are complete, the teen can go to a local DMV office to complete the written test. All the information they need to pass the written test is provided in a DMV handbook published by their state.

Completing the written driving test is a major milestone, since it enables teens to drive. They will usually be required to do so with an adult in the passenger seat. This restriction can last 30, 60, 90, or more days.

The road test is intended to be a comprehensive test of all basic road safety skills.

It includes things like:
  • How to interpret and respond to road signs and signals
  • The “rules of the road” for things like turning and parking
  • Understanding and obeying state and local traffic laws
  • Preventing and responding to traffic citations and fines
  • Defensive driving practices to avoid accidents

The road test takes anywhere from half an hour to an hour. During the test, the teen will drive with a trained driving instructor. In some states, these tests must be scheduled in advance. Others allow walk-ins.

The test is taken using the family car or whatever vehicle the teen has been driving. That means there must already be a full auto insurance policy on the vehicle before the test commences.

Once the road test is done, congratulations! Your teen is fully recognized as a driver in your state.

Does a Teen Need Their Own Car Insurance Policy? The Answer Will Surprise You

Regardless of state, all drivers must have proof of financial responsibility before they can use public roads. Some states carve out limited exceptions in rural areas for private driveways or farm equipment, but that’s it.

However, not all states allow teens to hold their own insurance. Some states mandate that you need to be a fully licensed driver to get your own policy.

That opens up what can be the cheapest way to insure a teenage driver:

Add your teen to your existing car insurance policy.

The average cost increase associated with adding a new teen driver to your existing policy?

It’s just $620! A savings of nearly $1,650 a year compared to a separate policy.

Does that make this the cheapest way to insure a teenage driver? In many cases, the answer is “yes.”

And in some states, it is the only way to protect your teen on the road until they are fully licensed. Once they are licensed, they may retain the option to stay on your policy for several more years.

Consider a teen driver who begins driving at 16, is fully licensed by 18, and remains on your insurance policy until 20. Those additional years of driving experience can mean big savings when it’s finally time to get a car insurance policy alone. In costly states, it may amount to hundreds of dollars.

Saving Money on Car Insurance for Your Teen

When you put a teen on a car insurance policy, your rates will go up.

After all, teen drivers are nearly four times more likely than those 20 or older to have an accident!

But you can still save money on car insurance for teens.

Here’s how:

1. Have Your Teen Take a Certified Safe Driver Course

Drivers of all ages and experience may qualify for a discount when they take a safe driving course, but this is especially useful for teens. These courses provide defensive driving techniques and road training beyond the basics taught in school. Ask your insurer about local courses that qualify.

2. Apply for a Good Student Discount

Many insurers offer car insurance discounts for students who maintain an average of B or higher (that’s a 3.0 GPA in most grading systems.) Higher grades may mean better discounts. That can be a terrific incentive to motivate teens to study before they go out driving!

3. Consider a Telematics Device

A telematics device attaches to your car and provides information on where it is and how it is being driven. It can alert you to high speeds, harsh braking, and other risk factors. While insurers love them, be sure to talk about it with your teen. It could be seen as a breach of trust if you are not forthcoming about it.

For many families, the cheapest way to insure a teenage driver is to make sure you have the lowest insurance rates. With Cheap Insurance, you can compare car insurance quotes online from any state. By looking at all of the top insurance firms, it’s easier than ever to find the best deal.

Now that you know the secret of car insurance for teens, you’re ready to go!

Get started now or contact our team for more information.