Auto Insurance for a 20-Year-Old

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Things to remember...

  • Auto insurance rates are based on a driver’s age or how long they have been driving in the US
  • In most areas, insurance companies will assign high-risk rates to drivers who are under the age of 25
  • It’s typical for male drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 19 to pay the highest premiums out of all drivers
  • If you’re 20 and you already have three to four years of driving experience, you could get a Good Driver Discount
  • It’s often more affordable for young drivers to stay on their parents’ insurance for as long as they can

Twenty-year-old drivers may not be in their teens anymore, but they certainly wouldn’t know it when they get quotes for their own auto insurance policies. Auto insurance is one of the few things that you’ll buy in life that has an age-based pricing system.

In your early 20’s, you have very little driving experience. This leaves insurers with very little to assess when they are trying to determine if someone is a safe driver or a risky driver.

You must always start by determining how much insurance you need. Then, after you know your needs, you can start to focus on choosing the right insurer and building a policy that fits your budget.

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When is buying coverage mandatory?


Buying insurance isn’t something you can put off for very long. If you want to own a vehicle, you’re going to have to buy at least some insurance on the car as soon as you become the owner.

Since 49 of the states in the country have very strict mandatory insurance or financial responsibility laws, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with the law.

Anyone who is buying their first car in their late teens and their early 20’s needs to learn about the mandatory motor vehicle insurance laws so that they are ready to shop for coverage as soon as they start shopping for a vehicle.

The problem with brushing up on laws is that you need to know where you’ll be living because every state has its own coverage requirements.

What type of coverage do you have to have by law?

If you’re wondering how much coverage you’re going to have to have when you buy insurance, there’s not one single way to answer this. If you’re living in a tort state with a very low-limit requirement, you might only need liability coverage. In these states, the average premiums are low.

There are states where average premiums are much higher simply because all of the residents must carry more coverage at higher limits. This usually happens in a no-fault state where you’re required to buy coverage for yourself.

The most common requirements include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability  will pay when you’re liable for injuries to others in an auto-related accident
  • Property Damage Liability  will pay when you’re liable for damage to someone else’s property in an auto-related accident
  • Medical Payments  will pay for your own immediate and reasonable medical expenses after you’re injured in an auto-related accident (only required in some tort states)
  • Uninsured Motorist Protection  will pay for your medical expenses and rehabilitation costs if you’re involved in an accident with someone who has no insurance (only required in some states)
  • Personal Injury Protection  will pay for your own medical bills, lost income, and other related expenses if you live in a no-fault state

Determining How Much Coverage You Need

When you’re only 20, it’s easy to get confused by all of the terminologies you’ll run into. You’re not going to become an expert in insurance lingo right away and many never do.

The best thing to do when you’re looking for the right level of protection is to do your research.

One of the drawbacks of the high school curriculum is that there really no requirement in a place where you’re required to learn the ins and outs of insurance. You’re left fending for yourself or leaning on your parents to help you do the heavy lifting.

If you’re not sure how much coverage you’re going to need, here are a few tips that can help you:

  • Most experts recommend that all drivers carry at least $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 per accident in liability insurance to protect assets and future income
  • If you own a home or other valuable assets, you’ll need higher limits and you may need a Personal Liability Umbrella for gap protection
  • If you’re going to lease or finance a car, the finance company is going to require you to carry comprehensive and collision
  • If your vehicle is paid off and it is worth less than $2000, you may want to go without full coverage
  • For paid off cars, the common rule of thumb is to drop collision when the collision premiums are more than 10 percent of the vehicle’s value
  • Carry Uninsured Motorist Protection if you live in an area with a high rate of uninsured drivers

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How much can you expect to pay for insurance at the age of 20?

Auto insurance premiums can range from very low to very high. The coverage options that you pick will dictate how much you’ll pay for your insurance in total.

Some coverage options, like Collision and Bodily Injury Liability, are highly influenced by a driver’s age in addition to their driving history.

There’s no telling how much you’ll pay for insurance when you’re shopping for a policy on your own at the age of 20.

Teens that 16 to 19 pay the most for insurance, but most of the time they are on their parents’ policy until at least the age of 18. When you branch off, it’s going to cost you a lot.

In fact, rates for 20-year-olds are, on average, 41 percent higher than the rates for 30-year-old drivers if all other factors are the same.

Why is insurance so expensive for people in their 20’s?


You’re not in your teens anymore but that doesn’t mean that you automatically fall into a low-risk driver class. Moat insurance looks at people in the teens and early twenties as high-risk drivers.

A 20-year-old is still a high-risk driver for another five years if they were licensed in their teens. According to accident data, teens are most reckless when they are under 19 but drivers in their twenties still fall into the second-riskiest class.

Can you stay on your parents’ insurance policy to save money?

You might not have to buy your own auto insurance right away just because you’re legally an adult. If you live with your parents, you may be able to stay on your parents’ policy as a driver.

Usually, insurers will allow this when you’re in their home or you’re going to college and you’re still a dependent.If you buy your own car, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add the car to your parents’ insurance.

As long as the vehicle is registered in your name and one of your parents’ names, you will be eligible to add the policy to their plan without any issues.

Some carriers don’t even have this requirement as long as you’re a blood relative in the home.

It’s best to stick with your parents for as long as you can. When you have no other option but to buy your own insurance at 20, it’s your duty to shop around and do as much homework as you can on pricing.

You could contact all types of carriers directly or you could spend your time wisely and get online quotes all at once. Use a quoting tool, enter your information, and get directed to instant quotes.

Enter your zip code below to  find car insurance rates that work with your budget today!

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