How much is auto insurance for a 16-year-old?

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Daniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 3, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • Auto insurance is higher for teenagers because they lack experience driving
  • Girl teenagers are typically cheaper than male teenagers because they are statistically safer
  • Keeping a teenager on his parents’ insurance policy can help to keep the insurance rates low

Many parents of teenage children have wondered, “How much is auto insurance for a 16-year-old?”

It’s natural for parents to fear they won’t be able to afford auto insurance when their teen finally does get their license. Since car insurance companies consider teenagers to be a different driver type from the average driver, their rates can be higher. Fortunately, there is affordable insurance available if you know what to look for.

While it’s true that 16-year-old drivers will pay a little more for their car insurance than their parents, it’s still manageable under most circumstances.

Sixteen year-olds have an advantage over their older teenage counterparts in that auto insurance companies assume they are still full-time high school students who are not driving all that frequently.

Nonetheless, parents still need to be diligent in shopping for the best deal. You can compare the auto insurance rates of several companies by entering your ZIP code above.

Why is auto insurance higher for teenagers?


There are several reasons why auto insurance for teenagers is higher than that of their parents.

The first, and most obvious, is the fact that teenagers simply lack experience behind the wheel.

Where their parents have logged many hours of driving, a 16-year-old will usually have driven fewer than 100 hours by the time he takes his road test.

One hundred hours seem like a long time for some activities, but for driving, it’s not even a drop in the bucket.

Another reason for higher auto insurance rates among teenagers is the assumption that they are more careless behind the wheel.

Whether or not you believe this is a justified stereotype, national accident statistics prove that they are more dangerous drivers.

Government statistics consistently show that of all the car accidents on U.S. highways every year, more than two-thirds are caused by teenage drivers.

Such a high number clearly indicates that teenage drivers are more risky to cover.

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What about the car my 16-year-old drives?

Twenty years ago this question probably would have been irrelevant because most teenagers drove their parents’ cars.

In today’s culture, though, it’s becoming more and more common for parents to buy their children separate cars so the kids are not tying up theirs.

Keep in mind that the make and model of your child’s car impact the cost of insurance.

If you buy your 16-year-old a brand-new sports car you will certainly pay more for insurance than you would on a 20-year-old family sedan.

Along with the actual value of the car, you also need to consider the safety record. For example, vehicles with off-road capability are automatically considered more dangerous.

Putting your 16-year-old driver behind the wheel of one of these vehicles is a virtual guarantee that you’ll pay more for auto insurance than you really need to. If you’re buying your child a vehicle, try looking for the safest one on the market.

Finally, consider the value of your own vehicles if you plan on your teenager driving one of them. You and your spouse will be the primary drivers of your respective vehicles, but you should assign your teen to the one that has the least value.

Is there a ballpark figure I can expect to pay?


While insurance rates vary from driver to driver and state to state, there are some ballpark figures we can work with.

According to statistics, the average annual premium is $160 for a teen driver meeting these criteria:

That number obviously goes up if she has her own car or has a history of accidents or violations. For a male counterpart, the average number is closer to $200 annually.

Keep in mind that these ballpark figures apply to 16-year-old high school students still living at home.

When the child turns 18 his rates will most likely go up because he’s prone to do more driving at that time.

Of course, as soon as he moves out on his own he’ll be paying the full rate as applied to any independent auto insurance policy.

In order to get the lowest auto insurance rates for your teenager, it’s best to keep them on your policy as long as possible.

In most states you can do that through age 21, provided the child is in college and still counts your home as his primary residence.

There are a few states that are more generous, allowing parents to keep kids on their policy until age 26.

Compare auto insurance quotes for your 16-year-old right now by entering your ZIP code in the search box below!

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