Best Car Insurance for Teens and Young Drivers
Statistics show teen drivers have more wrecks, so insurers charge higher car insurance premiums. This is how insurance works, and only time and safe driving will resolve this problem completely.
But you can find ways to save money with young drivers on your policy or if you’re a young adult who wants to control your car insurance costs.
Readers often ask about the best car insurance for young drivers so let’s explore this topic in detail.
Buying Car Insurance For A Young Driver
If you’re buying auto insurance coverage for the first time, it’s normal if you feel confused about finding the coverage you need.
Or, if you’re a parent whose insurance premiums suddenly doubled or tripled because your teen got licensed, it’s normal to need a refresher in the basics of car insurance.
In a nutshell, riskier drivers pay more. Your car’s make a model, your driving record, your geographic location, your coverage choices — all these variables help insurance companies assess your risk and assign your annual premiums.
Age is one of the biggest risk factors of all. Younger drivers — teens and young adults up to age 26 — cost more to insure. As the years pass and the younger driver gains more experience, rates should go down.
But waiting and defensive driving aren’t your only strategies if you’re searching for more affordable insurance coverage for a young driver under 26.
You can also shop around for the best car insurance quotes, find discounts for good grades and safe driving, and choose a vehicle that helps your young driver steer clear of trouble.
You may not be able to find cheap car insurance, but you should be able to avoid paying higher rates than necessary.
Let’s start by looking at the insurance providers that reward good driving habits and offer more insurance discounts for young people.
10 Best Car Insurance Companies For Young Drivers
These 10 insurance providers can deliver the best car insurance for teen drivers, college students, and other younger drivers:
Progressive offers a long list of discounts, including some designed specifically for younger drivers who make good grades and attend classes at a campus more than 100 miles from home.
Progressive can also collect data about your individual driving habits and extend discounts (or increase premiums) accordingly. This company has a reputation for paying claims quickly which could help you get back on the road without a long delay.
- Multiple discount options. Progressive extends discounts for buying insurance online, paperless statements, setting up auto payments, and paying all six months upfront. Progressive even discounts your insurance policy’s base rate when you add a teen driver.
- Data-driven underwriting. Progressive’s Snapshot program collects data about your driving. This data could help teen drivers whose habits defy the statistics to get lower premiums.
- Read our full Progressive Insurance Review.
Allstate is one of the best car insurance companies for 2020 – and a solid option if you’re after variety and value within your insurance policy.
Young drivers and students who choose Allstate have many ways to reduce the cost of their car insurance.
You can get discounts for good grades, safe driving, or adding multiple vehicles to your policy. Also, you can get multi-policy discounts when you use Allstate for other coverage such as renters, life, homeowners, or even boat insurance.
Allstate has a nice mobile app, and it offers additional perks like accident forgiveness (your rate won’t increase if you have one accident – even if you’re at fault) and new car replacement (you can get a check for a new car if you total a new car within the first two model years).
- Top-rated mobile app. Manage your policy on-the-go with a top-rated mobile app.
- Plenty of discounts. From a good student discount to a safe driver discount – Allstate offers many ways to save if you are a young driver.
- Additional resources. Allstate has a page dedicated to young adults, which has some really useful insurance resources.
- Read our full Allstate Car Insurance Review.
Liberty Mutual could be another good option for young adults. This company offers tons of discounts for young drivers – as well as plenty of features (like better car replacement and accident forgiveness).
Liberty Mutual has been around for over a century, and it has an A+ (superior) rating from A.M. Best.
Like Allstate, you can also bundle other types of insurance (such as renters or homeowners) to save on what’s called a multi-line policy.
With Liberty Mutual, young drivers can save in several ways – from being members of 14,000+ alumni or professional associations to adding more than one car to the policy.
There are also discounts for vehicles equipped with safety features (like anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, lane departure warning, etc.) and for students who live at least 100 miles away from parents’ home and only drive their vehicle occasionally.
- Lots of ways to save. Liberty Mutual offers plenty of discounts.
- Accident forgiveness. With Liberty Mutual, your rates won’t go up after one claim — this feature could make a huge difference with a teen driver on the policy.
- Better car replacement. If your car is totaled, Liberty Mutual will give you the money for a replacement car that is better (one model newer) than your car.
- Read our full Liberty Mutual Insurance Review.
Esurance provides a great option if you want to buy and manage your insurance exclusively online. Esurance pioneered online auto insurance in the late 1990s. It’s now part of Allstate which would back your Esurance policy.
Even under Allstate’s ownership, Esurance has its own identity and features such as an easy-to-use web site and top-rated mobile app. You can get free coverage counseling and a nice tool to find the cheapest gas prices nearby.
Esurance extends several discounts to younger drivers. Driving a safe car, getting good grades, opting for a multi-car policy, proving you’re a good driver, or signing up for DriveSense (an app that’ll track your driving habits) can save you money. (DriveSense will cost you more if you speed or brake suddenly a lot.)
Esurance also has standard discounts such as bundling your auto and renters or homeowners.
- Countless ways to save. Esurance offers multiple ways to save as a young driver – which is awesome.
- Top-rated app. Esurance mobile app is easy to use and gets great reviews and ratings from customers.
- User-friendly website. Esurance wins the game when it comes to user experience. Both its app and website are pretty awesome.
- Good availability. Esurance is available in 43 states. Drivers in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, Delaware, and Wyoming can’t buy this coverage.
- Read our full Esurance Review.
Metromile is pay-per-mile auto insurance company that bases part of your premiums on how much you drive — or how much time your teen driver spends on the road.
Metromile charges a base rate as determined by your car, your ZIP code, and your driving record. Then, if you drive only occasionally, you could save money on the other portion of your premium.
I’m a big fan of Metromile – and it’s definitely one of the best car insurance providers if you’re a young driver who drives only occasionally.
If you drive a lot — more than 10,000 miles per year, for example — you could wind up paying more with Metromile.
- Excellent rates if you’re a low mileage driver. Drivers who drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year can save a lot of money!
- Easy-to-use app. You can buy and manage your insurance via an app – which is great if you prefer a smooth digital experience.
- Offers multi-car discounts. You can pay less if you add more cars to your Metromile insurance.
- Cool tools: Metromile uses a GPS device to measure your miles. You could also tap into this device on your smartphone if someone stole your car or if you forgot where you parked.
- Read our full Metromile Car Insurance Review.
Known for its top-notch customer service, USAA is also one of the best car insurance companies for young adults, but it’s open only to young drivers who are in the military or whose parents have served in the armed forces.
J.D. Power’s 2019 Auto Insurance Study rated USAA as a leader in customer service. This insurer also has competitive rates and a range of discounts for students and young drivers. For example, USAA can cut costs after the insured driver complete’s a driver training course, maintains good grades, adds another vehicle to the policy, or keeps a good driving record for more than five years.
The only issue is its availability – USAA serves only military families. If you have joined the military – or if your parents have a USAA insurance product – you could find great auto coverage here.
- Competitive rates. Younger drivers get competitive rates with USAA.
- A range of discounts. There are multiple ways to save with USAA – from getting good grades and being a good driver, to completing a driver training course.
- Excellent customer experience. USAA is known for providing positive customer experience and continues to be among the best insurance providers in the U.S.
- Read our full USAA Insurance Review.
GEICO is now the second-largest car insurance company in the U.S. Only State Farm writes more car insurance policies. This is a remarkable feat considering GEICO does most of its business online and over the phone.
GEICO is building a network of local agents, but making a phone call or downloading the insurer’s award-winning mobile app will be your fastest routes to coverage.
If you’d rather visit with a licensed agent, GEICO may have someone nearby. Most mid-sized cities have at least one local agency.
GEICO also has some excellent discounts for young adults, teens, and new drivers. You can get discounts based on your driving history (for example, if you’ve been accident-free for the past five years), keeping good grades, buying a car with safety features (like anti-lock brakes, anti-theft system, etc.), and bundling policies.
- Award-winning mobile app. GEICO has a top-rated mobile app, which offers a smooth and user-friendly experience.
- Affordable rates. GEICO is known for offering very affordable rates – even to younger drivers.
- A wide range of discounts available. There are many ways to save, even as a teen driver, with GEICO.
- In-person agents available. You can get personalized customer experience by meeting a local agent or speaking to an agent on the phone.
- Read our full GEICO Insurance Review.
GEICO is building a network of local agents but State Farm provides the model network with almost 20,000 local agencies across the country. Many average-sized towns in America have 8 or 10 State Farm agents.
No matter which agency you visit, you can get solid coverage which has earned A.M. Best’s top grade of A++. Your customer service will depend on your local insurance agent so choose someone you’re comfortable working with. The right agent can help you build coverage with the best rates.
Your agent will probably guide you through State Farm’s Steer Clear program for younger drivers. Steer Clear includes an online driver training course. The program can extend lower premiums to drivers who have mentors and agree to practice driving each week. (You’ll have to keep a log.)
- Personalized customer service. Would you like to build coverage based on a conversation? State Farm offers this philosophy.
- Great rates. As the largest car insurer in the nation, State Farm can keep its rates competitive.
- Program for younger drivers. State Farm understands its policyholders will add younger drivers so it created Steer Clear, a program to help teens gain driving experience and learn safe driving skills.
- Standard discounts, too. State Farm also leads the nation in home insurance policies and it’s the second-biggest life insurer. Bundling multiple policies can lower your auto insurance rates.
- Read our full State Farm Insurance Review.
Nationwide Insurance has safe driving and good grades discounts for young adult drivers. This huge brand also extends accident forgiveness to teens after one at-fault claim.
You could save even more with Nationwide’s SmartRide device which plugs in under the hood and records driving habits. Young adult drivers who obey the speed limit and brake well in advance (which signals attentive and defensive driving) can shave 3 or 4 percent off the cost of car insurance. (This device could increase your premiums if you drive erratically.)
Like many large insurers, Nationwide offers a roadside assistance plan which full-time students who commute to school may need.
- Good customer service. Nationwide’s network of local agents can guide you to better coverage.
- Data-driven underwriting. If you’re a younger driver who knows how to drive defensively, Nationwide’s SmartRide device can help you prove it and earn more affordable car insurance.
- Read our full Nationwide Insurance Review.
Driver discounts with Farmers Insurance include a good student discount (for keeping a B average or staying in the top 20 percent of your class). College students can also get a lower rate if you drive more than 100 miles to school.
And Farmers even gives a small discount to young adults who have their own policy (instead of staying on their parents’ policy).
If you sign up for Farmers’ Signal program which lets your smartphone monitor your driving behavior, you’ll automatically get a 5 percent policy discount. You could save more, up to 15 percent, if your driving habits merit a better deal.
- Good claims service: Farmers prides itself on making its claims process seamless.
- Customization available: You can build your own coverage to help save more with a younger driver on your insurance policy.
- Data-driven underwriting: You can save right away by letting Farmers monitor your driving habits.
- Read our full Farmers Insurance Review.
Which Car Insurance Is Best For Teens and Young Drivers?
Car insurance for young drivers may be pricey – but the companies above can soften the blow by extending driver discounts.
Most of the companies above can help your teen “prove” he or she drives safely by sending data to your insurer. You’d have to opt into these devices, and they can be a double-edged sword. They could increase your rates if the apps detect dangerous driving.
At the end of the day, the cheapest car insurance rates go to the drivers who maintain a clean driving record year after year. Good student discounts can help. Getting a safer car can help, too.
But if your teen driver has a couple of wrecks or gets cited with a moving violation such as a speeding ticket, you’ll pay higher rates — no matter which company you choose.
Comparing Auto Insurance Quotes Leads To Savings
Changing auto insurance providers can be a hassle, but it could also lead to big savings. If you’re adding a teen driver to your auto policy you’d be making changes to your coverage anyway. So it’s a good time to shop around and see which companies can give you the best rates.
All the insurance agents I know say you should get at least three auto insurance quotes before deciding on a company. Often, a leading company will run specials to attract more policyholders in your area. You could lock in six months or a year’s worth of big savings.
You can’t control all that much about your car insurance. Your state’s laws, your vehicle, your age, your past driving history help determine your rates. So finding a company that’s offering one-time discounts is one of the best ways to save.
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Insurance Companies Vary From State To State
One of the more frustrating aspects of car insurance is your inability to control costs. State laws regulate the way national and regional insurers write your policy. Local road conditions and crime rates also make a difference.
States also have different minimum requirements for your coverage. Michigan requires a lot of insurance so its premiums are among the highest in the nation. Maine requires less coverage so its motorists can save.
Even your ZIP code influences your premiums. Areas with more crime — places where cars get broken into and stolen more often — require higher auto insurance premiums.
And, if you still owe money on your auto loan, your lien holder may require you to keep collision coverage and comprehensive insurance — both of which protect the value of your car.
So there’s only so much you can do to save which is why insurers talk so much about driver discounts — qualifying for discounts gives you a way to save. When a younger driver is inflating premiums you’ll want as many discounts as you can find.
And I’ll say it again: Shopping for multiple quotes may surprise you with a lower rate than you expected. Your insurance expires every six months which means you have two built-in opportunities each year to shop for different coverage. If your current insurer can be beat without compromising coverage, why not switch?
Learn More: Compare Car Insurance Rates by State
Car Insurance Requires The Right Balance
This post has been about saving money when you have a younger driver on the policy — or if you are a young adult searching for the right coverage.
Saving money matters, but there’s another side to the equation: Your auto insurance policy’s performance. If you get cheap coverage and it won’t pay when you need to file a claim, you’ve got bigger problems than expensive premiums.
You’d be paying for the property damage to your car and possibly for the other driver’s property damage and bodily injury.
So check your company’s A.M. Best rating and its customer reviews before signing on. You may decide to pay a little more each month for the convenience of working with an agent down the street or having a top-notch app to manage your policy.
Ultimately, the best car insurance company for young drivers provides both affordable premiums and great service.