Should You Add Your Teen Driver to Your Car Insurance? Here’s Why You Should Consider It

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If you have a teenager, chances are they are itching to start driving soon. 

As you prepare mentally, you will also need to prepare financially. That means figuring out how much it will cost to add your child to your car insurance.

Whether this is your first child or your third, adding a teen driver to your car insurance policy can be expensive. Teen drivers tend to pay the highest rates of any group, but there are ways to save.

How Much Does it Cost to Insure a Teen Driver?

Usually, when a driver shops around for car insurance, specific factors such as driving record, marital status, and credit history play a large part in determining how much those rates will be. But a teen driver doesn’t generally have much experience in any of these categories, so you must consider other things. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, what kind of car you drive and how much you use it can significantly impact car insurance rates. If your teen is going to drive a newer car, expect to pay a lot more for car insurance than you would on a cheaper, used model.

Do I Have to Add My Teen Driver to My Car Insurance?

No. You don’t have to add your child to your car insurance policy. But it will be less expensive than the child getting their own policy. “You’re not required to add a teen driver to your car insurance, but it’s more cost-effective to do so,” says Melanie Musson, a car insurance expert for CarInsuranceComparison.com. 

“From the very first time a student driver gets behind the wheel, parents should know if the child is covered under their plan or if they need to be added,” says Musson. “And if a child causes a wreck, the parent’s insurance company will be responsible for any damages.”

When adding a teen driver to your car insurance, be clear on who owns the car. Keep in mind that if your teen’s car is in their name, they will be unable to be listed on your policy, and they’ll have to get their own.

However, if a teen falls under a parent’s policy, they can remain on that policy as long as they live in the household and drive one of the family cars. 

As with any driver, it is always best to have the minimum state required insurance. Driving without any coverage is against the law and can come with some serious legal and financial ramifications. 

Insure Under Your Policy

It could make sense financially to add your teen to your insurance policy. “If you compared the increase in premiums that adding a teen driver would cause to a parent’s policy with the cost of an independent policy for that same teen driver, you would see that it’s cheaper to get on the parent’s policy,” says Musson.

According to Carinsurance.com, adding a 16-year-old female driver adds $1,593 a year to a parent’s full coverage policy. It’s about $651 a year to add minimum coverage for the same teen. 

Adding a male is a bit more expensive. The average bill for adding a 16-year-old male costs $1,934 a year on a parent’s full coverage policy, and adds about $769 for minimum coverage.

Teen male drivers are on average 129% more expensive than compared to a female teen, which was 107% more expensive. Still, adding a teen to a parent’s policy is significantly cheaper than having the teen get their own policy.

Teen Getting Their Own Policy

The average rates for full coverage insurance for a 16-year-old driver is $6,930.

Below you can compare average annual rates for 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, and 18-year-olds with their own policy.

AgeAverage Full Coverage PremiumAverage Minimum Coverage Premium
16-Year-Old*$6,930$2,593
17-Year-Old$5,836$2,214
18-Year-Old$5,189$1,920
Source: *CarInsurance.com 

Non-owner Car Insurance 

Non-owner car insurance is coverage for drivers who don’t own a car but use rental vehicles, ridesharing, and borrowed cars to get around. While it may be tempting to consider non-owner insurance for your teen, parents should be aware that insurance companies won’t write a policy for drivers with access to the family car.

Discounts For Teen Drivers

There are options to lower the costs associated with teen car insurance. “While we’ve always known that good grades can lead to scholarships and other educational opportunities, having a 3.0 GPA can also lead to good student discounts,” says Lauren Fix, an automotive expert for Car Coach Reports, an automotive industry news site. 

Although it varies by the insurance company, good students can see savings of up to 25% on their car insurance rates.

Pro Tip

The best way to save money on your teen driver’s car insurance is through comparison shopping. Get multiple quotes and find the plan that works best for you.

Another often-overlooked way to save money on car insurance for everyone, and not just teen drivers, is to attend a safe driving course. There are local driving schools that offer defensive driving classes, or drivers can contact the National Safety Council or AAA to find schools in their state.

Again, rates vary by the insurance company but expect to save 10-15% on your teen’s car insurance if they take one of these approved courses.