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Insurance companies classify teen drivers as high-risk. Because of this, being a teen will increase your car insurance rates. Take a closer look at the approximate costs for 16-year-olds, and understand why it’s so expensive. You will also learn how some companies are better options for young drivers.
Our team reviewed the top car insurance companies to find the best rates and coverage, including for teen drivers. You just need to enter your zip code to receive free insurance quotes from local providers in your area.
According to our research, teens can expect to pay anywhere from $5,500 to $9,500 or more per year in auto insurance premiums. These rates tend to be for full coverage policies, which include comprehensive coverage, collision coverage and liability insurance.
The average cost per year to add a teen to your existing auto insurance policy tends to be less. This is usually closer to $1,000 to $3,000. Those rate increases assume that the teen driver has a clean driving record without any accidents or speeding tickets.
You will notice that it tends to be significantly more affordable for parents (especially single parents) to add their teens to their current insurance policy than to get the teen a separate insurance policy. This makes sense for several reasons, including the fact that most auto insurance companies charge less per driver when several drivers share a policy.
Why Auto Insurance for 16-Year-Olds is Expensive
Auto insurance for 16-year-olds is expensive because insurance providers consider them high-risk. This is important because insurance companies charge based on the risk of car accidents with teenagers. Compared to all other groups, teens have a higher rate of both accidents and of auto insurance claims.
One of the many reasons that teens have a higher risk of an accident is because of their increased chances of speeding. In 2019, speed played a role in 27 percent of fatal crashes with teen drivers behind the wheel.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) evaluated data from 2000 to 2011. They found that during that time, teens were part of 19,447 crashes that involved speeding.
Teens also have a higher tendency to engage in distracted driving, which can lead to accidents. This is a direct result of the lack of experience behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “One in three teens who text say they have done so while driving.” For reference, texting while driving multiplies the risk of a crash for teens by a factor of 23. Even just dialing a phone number increases the risk by six times.
It is well-established that wearing a seat belt dramatically reduces the risk of injury or death in an accident. But teen drivers are less likely to buckle their seat belts.
Data shows that 45% of teens who died while driving in 2019 were not wearing their seat belts.
There is also a connection between the driver being unbuckled and the passengers being unbuckled. The same set of data found that if the teen driver from the fatal crash was unbuckled, for every 10 passengers who died, nine of them were also not wearing their seat belts.
Driving Under the Influence
Insurance companies also consider 16-year-old drivers and other teen drivers high-risk because of the risk of driving while under the influence. This includes the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Evaluating data from 2019 takes a closer look at this problem. That data found that of the drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were involved in a fatal crash, 24% had been drinking.
How You Can Save on Auto Insurance for 16-Year-Olds
Looking at the above costs, auto insurance for 16-year-olds can be very expensive. Luckily, there are some ways that you can reduce the cost of insurance.
It will always be the cheapest option to add a teen driver to another auto policy. This can easily save you thousands of dollars per year in insurance premiums.
You should also make it a point to look for driver discounts that can apply to you. Sixteen-year-olds and other teens are typically eligible for good student discounts. The GPA requirements for these discounts can vary as each company classifies good grades differently. Teens who are away at college or attending a boarding school during high school may also be eligible for a discount. Many auto insurance companies also offer discounts for completing driver education courses or defensive driving courses.
There are also common insurance discounts for clean driving records. Some companies offer usage-based insurance or discounts for using a seat belt. Driving safely can help teens maintain a clean driving record and take advantage of these discounts.
By adding a teen to an existing policy, you may also be eligible for family discounts or discounts for insuring multiple drivers or cars under the same policy. Teenage drivers with new cars with safety and anti-theft discounts may also receive discounts for their vehicle.
You should not usually try to save money on teen auto insurance by dropping to the state’s minimum requirement. Because of the higher risk of an accident for teen drivers, this is a significant financial risk for you. This would technically give you the cheapest car insurance, but you should pay for more coverage as long as you can afford it.
You can also reduce the premiums without reducing insurance coverage by increasing the deductible. Just make sure that you could afford to pay the new deductible before doing this.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
Because of the high cost of teen car insurance, it’s important that you shop around to find the best rates and coverage. The easiest way to compare free auto insurance quotes is to use a comparison tool, like our quote box. Our quote box is straightforward to use and gives you car insurance costs in minutes.
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Based on our expert research, our team suggests GEICO, Progressive or State Farm for teen drivers, especially those who are 16 years old. These are the best car insurance options if you want to balance coverage for things like bodily injury with competitive car insurance premiums.
GEICO: Best Overall
GEICO excelled in our expert reviews, earning a rating of 9.1 out of 10. This includes a 9.0 in customer experience, a 9.4 in cost, an 8.5 in coverage and a 9.8 in industry reputation.
Some of the discounts that GEICO offers that are most relevant to 16-year-old drivers include:
Safety features (airbags, anti-lock brakes, and daytime running lights)
Seat belt use
The available roadside assistance is also very helpful for teen drivers, as many are still learning how to handle tasks like changing tires.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
Progressive is our recommendation for high-risk drivers, a category that includes teens. Progressive earned a 9.1/10 overall rating. This includes a 9.1 for industry reputation, a 9.0 for coverage, a 9.3 for cost and an 8.9 for customer experience.
In addition to roadside assistance, Progressive sports great discounts that teen drivers may qualify for:
State Farm: Best Student Discounts
Our team found State Farm to offer the best student discounts, something that helps you keep costs down when buying auto insurance for 16-year-olds. State Farm earned a 9.1/10 overall rating. This includes an 8.8 for customer experience, a 9.0 for cost, a 9.0 for coverage and a 9.9 for industry reputation.
Some of State Farm’s most relevant discounts for 16-year-old drivers include:
Defensive driving course
Student away at school
Steer Clear app with discount
It is worth noting that the good student discount from State Farm is the best in the industry at 25%. The Steer Clear app also applies to anyone under 25 years old, so it also includes 17-year-old drivers, 18-year-old drivers and 19-year-olds.
Like our other recommendations, State Farm also offers roadside assistance.
FAQ: How Much is Auto Insurance for a 16-Year-Old?
What is the cheapest insurance for a 16-year-old?
After extensive research, our experts found State Farm to offer the cheapest insurance for a 16-year-old. This comes from its good student discount and the Steer Clear discount.
What does it cost to insure a 16-year-old boy?
It will cost a little more to insure a 16-year-old male than it would to insure a 16-year-old female. This is part of an industry trend where it is cheaper to insure female drivers than to insure a male driver. You can expect to pay between $5,500 and $9,500 per year for insurance for either group. That figure is for a new policy. It can be much less, such as $1,000 to $3,000, to add a 16-year-old boy to his parents’ policy.
What is the cheapest way to get car insurance for a teenager?
The cheapest way to get car insurance for a teenager will always be to add them to an existing policy. This can save thousands of dollars right away. You can get further savings by looking for discounts, such as those for good students.
How much does your insurance go up after adding a teenager?
Adding a teenager to your auto insurance policy can increase the annual premiums by about $1,000 to $2,000. This is still significantly cheaper than a teen getting their own policy.