The How-To Car Insurance Guide for Different Driver Types [Expert Tips and Savings]

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Perhaps you’ve spent time serving this country. Or you’re the parent of a bright-eyed teenager learning what it’s like to get behind the wheel for the first time. Maybe you’re strapped for cash, waiting for the next financial breakthrough. Or, you’ve had one too many violations, and now you’re struggling to find coverage.

When it comes to the types of drivers looking for car insurance, they tend to fall into one of two categories — those who have typical needs, and those with a special set of circumstances.

But for some, it doesn’t stop with coverages. Trying to understand and fulfill certain legal requirements can bring a unique set of challenges.

It’s for these reasons we’ve created this in-depth, comprehensive guide.

In looking at car insurance policies for special groups of drivers, we’re going beyond the typical factors insurers consider when setting policies. We’re zeroing in on the critical car insurance information they need to drive with the best coverage possible.

These groups include:

Through the course of this guide, we’ll examine everything from coverages, to legal requirements, and to best rates. We’re also including savings tips for each group, as well as an in-depth list of common car insurance discounts.

Keep reading to begin your journey in understanding car insurance policies for special populations. You can also begin shopping rates by entering your zip code into our free car insurance comparison tool.

Table of Contents

Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

There’s no way around it.

If you’re driving a vehicle in the U.S., you must be insured.

Given that car insurance is a legal requirement, one would assume that obtaining coverage would be pretty cut and dry.

But that isn’t always the case.

For drivers who are considered high-risk, finding a provider that is willing to insure them can be challenging. Sometimes insurers just aren’t willing to take a gamble on their past record, or on the amount they anticipate paying out in claims.

But the truth of the matter is this — high-risk drivers can get car insurance. What will be key is understanding the risks, and knowing your options.

– What is a High-Risk Driver?

Insurers tend to consider the following drivers as high-risk:

High Risk Driving Profiles- autoinsurance.org

– Getting Insurance as a High-Risk Driver

One thing high-risk drivers tend to have in common is higher-than-normal rates. 

Case in point — we compared the average rates among drivers with various driving records:

CompanyClean RecordWith One Speeding TicketWith One AccidentWith One DUI
Allstate$3,819.90$4,483.51$4,987.68$6,260.73
American Family$2,693.61$3,025.74$3,722.75$4,330.24
Farmers$3,460.60$4,079.01$4,518.73$4,718.75
Geico$2,145.96$2,645.43$3,192.77$4,875.87
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$5,701.26$6,204.78$7,613.48
Nationwide$2,746.18$3,113.68$3,396.95$4,543.20
Progressive$3,393.09$4,002.28$4,777.04$3,969.65
State Farm$2,821.18$3,186.01$3,396.01$3,636.80
Travelers$3,447.69$4,260.80$4,289.74$5,741.40
USAA$1,933.68$2,193.25$2,516.24$3,506.03

It’s plain to see that the rates between drivers with clean records and those with driving violations are drastic, particularly among those with DUIs. In fact, drivers who have had one DUI are paying the steepest prices with Liberty Mutual ($7,613.48), Allstate ($6,260.73), and Travelers ($5,741.40).

We also compared the average rates among drivers with good, fair and poor credit:

CompanyGoodFairPoor
Allstate$3,859.66$4,581.16$6,490.65
American Family$2,691.74$3,169.53$4,467.98
Farmers$3,677.12$3,899.41$4,864.14
Geico$2,434.82$2,986.79$4,259.50
Liberty Mutual$4,388.18$5,604.24$8,802.22
Nationwide$2,925.94$3,254.83$4,083.29
Progressive$3,628.85$3,956.31$4,737.64
State Farm$2,174.26$2,853.00$4,951.20
Travelers$4,058.97$4,344.10$5,160.22
USAA$1,821.20$2,219.83$3,690.73

In looking at each of these providers, we see one consistency — an increase in rates as credit scores go from good to poor.

Once again, drivers with Liberty Mutual are paying the highest average rates across the board, with drivers with poor credit paying a staggering $8,802.22 annually. Drivers with poor credit are also paying steep rates with Allstate ($6,490.65) and Travelers ($5,160.22).

– Can I find affordable auto insurance with my high-risk driving record?

We’ve got everything you need about finding the best affordable high-risk insurance below where we cover assigned risk, non-standard, and sr-22 coverage options.

– Assigned Risk Car Insurance

Finding traditional car insurance can be difficult for those deemed as high-risk. So much so, many will be refused by multiple insurance providers. When that happens, drivers will need to seek different forms of insurance. It is for this reason most states have some form of assigned risk coverage.

Assigned risk is where regulators require insurers to pool together to provide coverage for high-risk drivers who have difficulty finding coverage. In fact, many state programs will require that drivers attempt to gain insurance from several companies before applying.

Drivers can find the assigned risk pool for their state by visiting the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) website and searching under “Plan Sites.” By selecting your state, you’ll be led to a page displaying your state’s options, as well as the next steps in how to apply.

– Non-Standard Auto Insurance

Non-standard auto insurance is another option for high-risk drivers. Non-standard auto insurance caters specifically to the highest-risk drivers — including those who have had multiple car accidents, multiple violations, DUIs and DWIs, poor credit, or little driving experience.

For some drivers, non-standard insurance will be beneficial as many insurers will not consider your credit rating as a factor

The III goes on to note that some non-standard insurance will be able to sell you more comprehensive coverage than what you’d receive under an assigned-risk plan. To learn more about non-standard insurance, contact an insurance agent or reach out to your state’s insurance department.

– What is an SR 22?

Some high-risk drivers, particularly those with a DUI or DWI conviction, will have to have an SR-22 added to their insurance.

An SR-22 is a certificate that ensures that drivers who are considered high-risk are covered with the state’s minimum liability requirements. 

SR-22’s are usually the result of a court order and are filed directly by an insurance company with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

In Florida and Virginia, certain high-risk drivers will need to obtain an FR-44. This is more severe than an SR22, as it requires drivers to have much higher amounts of liability insurance.

The good news? SR-22s and FR-44s are not meant to remain on your record forever. The standard period of time is usually one to five years, depending on your circumstances.

– What are some high-risk auto insurance companies that offer cheap rates?

Each companies risk analysis will be different and even the state/city you live in will make a difference. Our best advice to this question: shop around so that you get multiple quotes from multiple providers to find the best policy for you.

– Do I need a high-risk auto insurance company?

If you have had several automobile accidents that were your fault, are a DUI offender or are an inexperienced driver such as a teenager, you may be wondering if you need high-risk auto insurance.

High-risk auto insurance is for new drivers and people who have a history of risky driving.

An auto insurance company considers these drivers more expensive to insure because the likelihood of them filing a claim is greater than for ordinary drivers.

There are three basic types of drivers that insurance companies are usually willing to insure, and each type can use a comparison site to find the lowest cost for auto insurance coverage.

  • The preferred customer with a good driving record
  • The standard customer who is the average vehicle owner
  • The non-standard customer who is the greatest risk for the insurance company

The type of drivers that need high-risk auto insurance coverage are nonstandard customers. are If a motorist has a long history of accidents and claims, they may be refused coverage completely.

Some factors that contribute to high-risk auto insurance are more serious than others. If you have just one of the following on your record in a 12 month period, you will be considered high risk by almost any insurance company.

  • Numerous moving violations convey the possibility of an automobile accident
  • A DUI conviction may cost you your license as well as make you a high-risk customer
  • Being in a hit and run accident
  • Negligent vehicular injury
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Suspended license
  • Auto insurance canceled
  • Medical conditions that could affect your ability to drive
  • People over 70 years old

Does cheap auto insurance for high-risk drivers exist? we’ve covered in the sections below.

– Tips for Finding Cheap Insurance as a High-Risk Driver

There are a number of strategies experts recommend high-risk drivers can adopt to improve their driving record (and even save some money along the way):

  1. Take a defensive driving course to shore up your skills. Beyond that, you can look for classes that are eligible for discounts on your car insurance premium.
  2. Repair your credit by paying off debts. This will not only help show insurers that you are financially responsible, but this can lead to lower premiums.
  3. Buy a safe car. Staying away from sportier cars or cars with bigger engines can aid in the temptation to engage in riskier behaviors. Additionally, if insurers see your car as safe, you may be entitled to lower rates.
  4. Never drink and drive. Always have a designated driver in place.
  5. Take extra care to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
  6. Remain consistent in paying for your insurance coverage, never allowing it to lapse. Not doing so can result in serious consequences, including license suspension or revocation.
  7. Look for discounts. Your status as a high-risk driver doesn’t exclude you from discounts. This includes discounts tied to your occupation, multi-car policies, bundling policies, low-mileage, and more. For your convenience, we’ve included a listing of potential car insurance discounts at the bottom of this article

Car Insurance for Military Members

Any man or woman who has served our country knows it all too well — the long deployments, the frequent moving, and ever-changing situations.

In spite of the unknowns that can come with life in the military, it’s important that certain things remain constant, including reliable car insurance.

But for many, questions remain — especially when it comes to discounts, and how to handle coverages when away.

The good news? A number of tried and true strategies exist, including those that can lead to big savings.

– Auto Insurance: Military Deployment & Living Overseas

Without a doubt, deployments are stressful times for military personnel and their families. What they shouldn’t have to worry about are the cars that they leave behind. In fact, what our servicemen and women should focus on are the homecomings and reunions that await them:

– Military Deployment and Car Insurance

It’s obvious — military members could choose to simply maintain their current levels of car insurance. While this may be the easiest option, it’s not the most cost-efficient, especially if your car won’t be used while you’re away. Fortunately, several options exist to help ease anxiety and cut costs:

  1. Cancel your coverage. For many, this will be ideal unless you are financing your car and the bank requires you to maintain coverage.
    • Be sure to let your insurer know when you’re leaving, and when you’re returning (so your coverage doesn’t lapse).
    • Many companies will require documentation of your deployment and return.
    • Contact your state DMV to see if you need to submit an affidavit of non-use to avoid the penalties of having a non-insured car
  2. Reduce coverages. Since you won’t be driving your car, consider decreasing your coverages to the state’s minimum requirements. You may, however, want to consider keeping comprehensive coverage to protect your car from unexpected events (such as fire, weather, and vandalism).
  3. Remove yourself from the policy. This is an option to consider if you’re on a policy with multiple drivers. Speak to your insurer to see if this can be done on a temporary basis.
  4. Store your car and get storage insurance. In this scenario, you would be canceling liability coverage and maintaining comprehensive coverage.

– Some Things to Consider When a Vehicle is Left Behind

Many states enforce traffic laws that prohibit uninsured and unregistered cars from being parked on public streets. Those that are found in violation often get towed and impounded at great expense to the owner.

Luckily, there are many resources available to assist military employees with both insurance and transportation.

Military members who need to leave their vehicles in their home areas are often allowed to park the vehicles at a military base while they serve abroad.

Since some members choose to suspend car insurance coverage while deployed, this option can protect their vehicles from impoundments.

– Some Things To Consider When a Vehicle is Brought Along

Other military members may elect to bring their vehicles along with them on deployment. Some military branches provide free transshipment services for service members.

In such cases, the individual in question would simply need to bring their insurance coverage paperwork along with them to show proof of insurance in their new location.

– Car Insurance for Veterans and Immediate Family Members

Active members are not the only ones eligible for discounted military rates. Veterans who have put in their time may also qualify for special pricing and discounts. In fact, it is typical for U.S. veterans to receive discounts ranging from 10 to 20 percent, so you’ll want to make sure your insurer knows of your time served.

Some insurance companies, like USAA, will also extend coverage to immediate family members of military personnel. In USAA’s case, that includes widows and “un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA before or during the marriage.” Be sure to check with your insurer to learn more.

Does cheap military auto insurance exist? We’ve got you covered in the next two sections.

– USAA Car Insurance Rates

As a provider that exclusively serves members of the military community, USAA has earned a strong reputation for its service and its low car insurance rates.

Below, we’re comparing USAA’s average rates across varying levels of coverage to the top ten car insurance providers:

Insurance ProviderAverage Rate
USAA$2,537.30
Geico$3,215.01
State Farm$3,260.00
American Family$3,443.09
Nationwide$3,450.00
Progressive$4,035.52
Farmers$4,194.27
Travelers$4,434.91
Allstate$4,887.95
Liberty Mutual$6,073.45
Average$3,928.85

USAA not only offers the lowest average rate at $2,537.30, but it’s also the only provider to have an average rate in the two-thousand dollar range. The next-closest in price is Geico with an average rate of $3,215.01.

Finally, it should also be noted that USAA’s average rate is more than one-and-a-half times lower than the average rate of all ten companies.  

– Saving Money on Military Insurance

There are a number of ways you can save money on your car insurance as a military member or veteran.

  1. Because car insurers use location as a determining factor for setting rates, consider keeping your car on a military base. Military bases are known to be secure facilities with lower instances of crime — both important factors that can help keep your rates low
  2. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll also want to consider reducing coverages, as well as raising deductibles.
  3. Finally, don’t forget to explore discounts, particularly those tied to the military. Below is a list of car insurance providers who offer military discounts:
  • Allstate
  • Esurance
  • Geico
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • MetLife
  • Safe Auto
  • Safeco
  • State Farm
  • The General
  • USAA

Car Insurance for Seniors and the Elderly

Experts say it’s simple — the number of older drivers is growing. Senior and elderly drivers keeping their licenses longer, and they’re covering more miles than ever.

In fact, 2017 statistics show that whether they’re in their 60s, 70s, or 80s, the number of older licensed drivers in the United States is in the millions.

The chart below illustrates the number of older drivers in the U.S. in 2017:

Policies by Special Populations - Licensed U.S Drivers By Age (Over 60)

When we consider the number of older drivers on the road, two major concerns arise — safety and the cost of car insurance. But by taking a closer look at both risk and rates, we can begin to paint a clearer picture of best practices for older drivers.

– How Age Affects Car Insurance Rates

According to the III, drivers who are 55 and older tend to be more courteous and are more likely to adhere to speed limits and traffic laws. Retirees will often drive far fewer miles than the average commute, likewise reducing risk on the road. As a result, many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers over 55.

However, as drivers advance in age, so do impairments such as vision and hearing. And, statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveal a troubling trend — older drivers have some of the highest rates of vehicle fatalities among all age groups, and in some cases surpassing teens.

You can see this illustrated in the table below, which pulls from 2017 motor vehicle crash data per 100,000 people:

AgeTotal PopulationDeathsRate per 100,000
Under 1665,136,1121,3332
16-1917,017,1002,34013.8
20-2422,118,6354,07218.4
25-2923,370,4603,77016.1
30-3421,972,2122,97513.5
35-3921,231,9972,66912.6
40-4419,643,3732,38712.2
45-4920,973,8582,55112.2
50-5421,401,0942,77213
55-5922,007,9562,90713.2
60-6419,987,7022,43412.2
65-6916,836,3811,81010.8
70-7412,847,0651,46411.4
75-798,741,2611,32115.1
80-845,965,2901,04017.4
85 and older6,468,6821,14917.8

It isn’t until drivers are over 70 that they may start to see rate increases. However, age doesn’t have to be a barrier to prime premiums, and saving doesn’t have to be an impossibility.

– Saving Money on Car Insurance for Senior and Elderly Drivers

We turned to Quadrant data to compare the average rates among the top car insurance providers, and focused on married male and female drivers ages 60 and up:

Insurance ProviderMarried 60+ year old femaleMarried 60+ year old maleAverage
Allstate$2,913.37$2,990.64$2,952.01
American Family$1,992.92$2,014.38$2,003.65
Farmers$2,336.80$2,448.39$2,392.60
Geico$2,247.06$2,283.45$2,265.26
Liberty Mutual$3,445.00$3,680.53$3,562.77
Nationwide$2,130.26$2,214.62$2,172.44
Progressive$1,991.49$2,048.63$2,020.06
State Farm$1,873.89$1,873.89$1,873.89
Travelers$2,051.98$2,074.41$2,063.20
USAA$1,449.85$1,448.98$1,449.42
Average$2,243.26$2,307.79$2,275.53

USAA and State Farm offer the lowest average rates for older drivers at $1,449.42 and $1,873.89 respectively.

State Farm charges the same average rate for male and females ($1,873.89). However, USAA’s rates are slightly higher for females — by 87 cents, to be exact.

On the flip side, the highest average rates can be found with Liberty Mutual at $3,562.77, and with Allstate at $2,952.01. In the case of both insurance companies, male drivers are paying higher average rates than their female counterparts.

– Tips on Cutting Car Insurance Costs

Older drivers looking to cut costs have options:

  1. Consider usage-based insurance, specifically, pay-per-mile insurance. This could be especially ideal for older, retired drivers who have cut down on their mileage dramatically.
  2. Drop certain coverages. If you’re driving an older car, you may decide you can go without optional coverages like comprehensive or collision.
  3. Raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible can lower your monthly costs, but will lead to higher out-of-pocket costs in the wake of a car crash or collision.
  4. Get an older car. Trading in a newer car for an older one can help reduce your rates.
  5. Reduce the number of cars you’re driving. As an example, if you and your spouse are retired, the two of you may be able to share a car. Reducing the number of cars in your household will likely lead to reduced rates.

– Discounts for Senior and Elderly Drivers

When it comes to discounts for senior and elderly drivers, here’s what you need to know — the law is on your side.

Keep in mind, in states where discounts are not mandated, insurance companies will voluntarily provide discounts. The III reports that these discounts generally apply to liability insurance coverages, but will vary state by state.

Older drivers looking to take these courses have resources with the AARP Driver Safety Program, as well as AAA. Drivers looking for additional options can contact their insurer to see which courses are eligible for discounts.

Finally, our research revealed the following companies offer discounts to seniors (discount listed when available):

  • 21st Century
  • Allstate (10 percent)
  • Esurance
  • Farmers
  • MetLife (10 percent)
  • The General (ages 55+, five percent)
  • The Hanover (listed as “pleasure use,” five percent)
  • The Hartford
  • USAA

– When Should Older Drivers Stop Driving?

At the end of the day, car insurance discounts and money-saving tips are irrelevant if an older driver poses a risk to others, and themselves.

For many, broaching this subject will be uncomfortable. But if you’re not sure whether you or a loved one should be driving, don’t be afraid to act and seek guidance.  

The III recommends this resource from The Hartford, a downloadable brochure that addresses the signs and signals that it may be time for seniors to stop driving. Similar resources can be found with the AARP and the AAA.

– Why do new older drivers pay more than experienced older drivers?

Age is one of those things that you can’t change. Unfortunately, if you want to drive into your golden years, you’ll pay the price because drivers in your age group tend to lose some of their driving skill in retirement.

Being an older driver isn’t the only reason your rates will be high, you’ll also pay the price because you’re inexperienced.

For some companies, age and experience are premium rating factors that go hand-in-hand. Other carriers will consider age and experience differently because not all people test for their license at 16. Like you, a lot of the population wait until later in life to get licensed.

Experience is generally a good thing. Since experience works in all drivers’ favors, it doesn’t help at all to be a senior driver who also isn’t getting credit for years of licensing experience.

Without these credits, you’ll be paying a high-risk rate similar to the rate that a teen driver with no actual behind-the-wheel experience pays.

Low-Income Car Insurance

Thirty million.

It was the number of uninsured drivers in the United States in 2012, according to a study conducted by the Federal Insurance Office of the U.S. Department of Treasury. As for the group most likely to be uninsured? Researchers say that designation goes to low-income drivers.

Knowing that drivers are forgoing car insurance in order to make ends meet is a concern. But to those who are getting by on low incomes, affordable car insurance may seem elusive.

However, options do exist, including low-cost plans and smart ways to save.

– Car Insurance as a Percentage of Income

Experts say the average U.S. household spends about two percent of its annual income on car insurance. However, the keyword is average, as the cost of premiums will vary from consumer to consumer, and percentages will become higher for those with lower incomes.

In fact, a Consumer Federation of America study revealed that residents living in certain low-income zip codes were paying disproportionately high rates compared to their neighbors. Additionally, higher rates are often associated with areas of high crimes, like theft and vandalism.

We compiled a list of the states where residents are paying the lowest and the highest percentages of their income toward car insurance, as of 2014:

StateFull CoverageDisposable IncomeInsurance as a
Percentage of Income
North Dakota$768.09$51,311.001.50%
New Hampshire$795.50$48,280.001.65%
Wyoming$844.33$49,918.001.69%
Iowa$683.67$39,820.001.72%
Vermont$746.79$42,267.001.77%
Mississippi$957.59$31,365.003.05%
Florida$1,208.77$38,350.003.15%
West Virginia$1,032.45$32,277.003.20%
Louisiana$1,364.17$37,787.003.61%
Michigan$1,350.58$36,419.003.71%

North Dakota and New Hampshire top the list of states whose drivers are paying the lowest percentage of their income toward car insurance, at 1.5 and 1.65 percent respectively.

Drivers in Michigan and Louisiana are paying the highest percentage of their income toward car insurance, at 3.71 and 3.61 percent respectively. But keep in mind that in spite of these higher percentages, the disposable income among drivers in Michigan and Louisiana is significantly lower than those in North Dakota and New Hampshire.

– State-Run and Low-Cost Car Insurance Programs

Certain low-cost insurance programs exist to help low-income residents obtain car insurance. As of now, three states offer low-cost insurance programs — California, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

We’re breaking down each below:

– California’s Low-Cost Insurance Program

California’s Low-Cost Insurance Program was established in 1999 to provide income-eligible drivers liability coverage at affordable rates.

To qualify, applicants must be within 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. They must also:

  • Have a valid California Driver’s License
  • Own a car worth $25,000 or less
  • Have a good driving record
  • Be at least 16 years old.

Basic liability coverages provided under the plan include:

  • $10,000 bodily injury or death per person
  • $20,000 bodily injury or death per accident
  • $3,000 property damage liability per accident

The plan also offers Uninsured Motorist-Bodily Injury and Medical Payments as additional coverages. It does not include comprehensive or collision and would need to be purchased separately. To learn more, visit this site.

– New Jersey’s Low-Cost Insurance Program

New Jersey’s Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP) is a medical-only coverage option. It is available to drivers who are eligible for Federal Medicaid with hospitalization and comes at a cost of $365 a year.

According to their site, this plan covers “emergency treatment immediately following an accident and treatment of serious brain and spinal cord injuries up to $250,000. It also provides a $10,000 death benefit.”

Keep in mind that not all Medicaid programs qualify for this policy. You will need to consult with your insurer directly to see if your form of Medicaid is eligible.

Visit this site to learn more about the state’s SAIP and eligibility requirements.

– Hawaii’s Low-Cost Insurance Program

According to the state’s Department of Human Services, Hawaii residents who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or financial assistance may qualify for free no-fault insurance assistance.

Others who may be eligible for assistance include those who are part of the state’s Aid to Aged, Blind, and Disabled program (AABD). Qualifications include:

  • Be at least 65-years-old or older, or meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled or blind
  • Most are not eligible for Social Security Benefits
  • Have a countable income below 34 percent of the federal poverty level
  • Have resources less than $2000 for an individual and $3000 for a couple

To learn more about eligibility, and to apply, head to this site or try calling the Public Assistance alone, available 24/7, at 855-643-1643

– Low-Income Auto Insurance Savings Tips

Even if you aren’t able to participate in a state-run program, there are still several ways you can save on your rates:

  1. If you can, reduce the number of cars you own. Having fewer cars on your policy is a sure way to help cut down rates.
  2. Shop for older, less expensive cars that will cost less to insure.
  3. Consider removing comprehensive or collision coverage if your car is older.
  4. Look for discounts — such as multiple policies, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, reduced mileage, safety features, advanced payment, or EFT payments.
  5. Consider usage-based insurance if you’re a safe driver, or pay-per-mile insurance if you don’t drive frequently.
  6. Don’t let your insurance lapse — even if you’re short on cash. While letting your coverage lapse may be tempting on a tight budget, you’re breaking the law and risk having your license suspended and paying hundreds in fines.

Car Insurance for Teen Drivers

For the teenage driver, there’s no feeling like it.

Holding your first set of car keys, putting them into the ignition, and driving off into a newfound sense of freedom.

While young, novice drivers lack no excitement in getting behind the wheel, what they do lack is experience. In fact, research shows that inexperience is the number one reason why teens end up in fatal crashes. With the statistics stacked against them, car insurance companies are taking note and charging accordingly.

But here’s what you need to know — insuring your teen driver doesn’t have to break the bank. Cutting costs begins with becoming more informed and heeding expert advice.

– Teens as High-Risk Drivers

When it comes to teenage drivers, the numbers don’t lie. Statistics continually prove why insurance companies consider teens to be high-risk: Teen Driver Safety - Common Risk Factors

– Saving on Car Insurance for Teen Drivers

The truth of the matter is this— young drivers can expect to pay some of the highest premiums among all age groups. The key for families will be in shopping rates and comparing companies.

We’ve compiled the average premiums for male and female drivers ages 17 to 24 among the nation’s top ten insurers:

Insurance ProviderSingle 17-24 year old femalesSingle 17-24 year old malesTeen Average
Allstate$9,282.19$10,642.53$9,962.36
American Family$5,996.50$8,130.50$7,063.50
Farmers$8,521.97$9,144.04$8,833.01
Geico$5,653.55$6,278.96$5,966.26
Liberty Mutual$11,621.01$13,718.69$12,669.85
Nationwide$5,756.37$7,175.31$6,465.84
Progressive$8,689.95$9,625.49$9,157.72
State Farm$5,953.88$7,324.34$6,639.11
Travelers$9,307.32$12,850.91$11,079.12
USAA$4,807.54$5,385.61$5,096.58
AVERAGE$7,559.03$9,027.64$8,293.33
  • Whether drivers are male or female, the company charging the highest rates is Liberty Mutual (male— $13,718.69, female  —$11,621.01) and the company charging the lowest rates is USAA (male — $5,385.61, female — $4,807.54).
  • The car insurance company with the highest average rate among both gender groups is Liberty Mutual at $12,669.85. The company with the lowest average rates among both genders is USAA at $5,096.58.

The good news? There are a number of proven, cost-cutting strategies you can put into practice:

  1. Add your teenage driver to an existing policy. Experts say that the majority of the time, this will prove to be the least expensive option for families.
  2. Save by bundling policies. Insurers are known for giving discounts to customers with multiple policies. Consider building home and auto insurance.
  3. For the teen who doesn’t drive frequently, consider pay-per-mile insurance. This ensures teens will only be charged for the miles they drive (plus a monthly base rate).
  4. Consider raising your deductibles. Raising your comprehensive or collision deductibles will likely result in lower premiums. However, if you get into an accident, your out-of-pocket expenses will be higher.
  5. Look for discounts tied to young drivers. This includes good student discounts (typically requiring a “B” average or better), driver’s ed courses, and long-distance college students who don’t have their cars with them. Here’s a look at which providers provide each of these discounts:
DiscountInsurance Provider
Driver's Education21st Century, AAA, Allstate,
American Family, Amica, Country Financial,
Esurance, Farmers, Geico,
Liberty Mutual, MetLife, Progressive,
Safe Auto, State Farm, The General,
The Hanover, The Hartford, Travelers, and USAA
Distant StudentAAA, Allstate, American Family,
Ameriprise, Amica, Farmers,
Geico, Nationwide, Progressive,
State Farm, The Hanover, The Hartford,
Travelers, and USAA
Good Student21st Century, AAA, Allstate,
American Family, Ameriprise, Amica,
Country Financial, Esurance, Farmers,
Geico, Liberty Mutual, MetLife,
Nationwide, Progressive, Safe Auto,
State Farm, The General, The Hanover,
The Hartford, Travelers, and USAA

Remember, you can never underestimate the value of shopping around for the best rates. Begin discovering your money-saving options by entering your zip code into our free comparison tool below:

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Car Insurance for College Students

From earning a high school diploma to pursuing a degree.

Indeed, attending a college or university marks a significant milestone for any student. And with this milestone come new financial challenges, like tuition, housing, books, and car insurance.

Here’s the deal — as long as the college student is under the age of 25, their rates will remain higher than normal. Understanding the tricks to the trade — like whether your student should remain on your policy, or knowing what coverages they should have— will be key in keeping rates affordable.

– Should I Keep My College Student on My Policy?

Whether your college student should remain on your policy will largely depend on where they live, who owns the car they’re driving, and how they choose to commute. That being said,

Rates will usually be more cost-effective when college students can remain on their parents’ policies.

Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • If your student is attending a local college or university and they’re still living with you, you should keep them on your policy.
  • If your student is attending a college or university that is at least 100 miles from home and they are not taking a car, you can still keep them on your policy and possibly receive a discount.
  • If your student is attending a college or university with a car titled (or jointly-titled) in your name, they may be able to stay on your policy. Check with your agent.
  • If your student is attending a distant college or university with a car titled in their name, they will likely need to purchase their own policy. Keep in mind, that as a student takes a car to college, insurers may adjust rates based upon where the vehicle will be, and if it will need a new registration

Insurers will differ in how they provide coverages. Therefore, it’s always wise to not only speak to an agent but to shop rates to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

– Suggested Coverages for College Students

Beyond having the minimum car insurance requirements, parents may want to consider some additional coverages for their students:

  • If your student suddenly finds themselves on the side of the road with a flat tire or a mechanical issue, knowing they have roadside assistance will offer them peace of mind.
  • If your student’s car is out of commission due to a collision or event that is covered by your insurance, rental assistance or coverage may come in handy to ensure they’re still able to get to and from class.
  • For unexpected events — like theft, vandalism, or hail damage — comprehensive insurance becomes worthwhile.
  • Finally, if your student hits another car or another object, collision coverage will be what kicks in to help cover the damage done to their car. Otherwise, that would come out of pocket.

– Tips for Saving Money on College Student Drivers

Discounts will be a key strategy in saving money on car insurance for college students. And with college students, some of the more prominent discounts available to them are the same ones available to teens — the Good Student discount, and the Distant Student discount (sometimes referred to as “Resident Student” or “Student Away”).

Remember, with the Good Student discount, insurers typically require a 3.0 GPA or better. With the Distant Student discount, insurers are typically looking at students who are attending a college or university at least 100 miles away, and they aren’t bringing their cars with them.

Another possible discount to consider — the military. If you’re enlisted in the military, the National Guard, or part of an ROTC program, it’s possible your insurance company may extend an additional discount. Be sure to check with your agent to learn more.

And of course, college students can always seek out the same traditional discounts other drivers are entitled to, such as safe driving, claim-free, or VIN etching.

Car Insurance for Immigrants and Non-U.S. Citizens

Some come in pursuit of the American Dream. Some come to join relatives or to begin a new chapter. And others come to escape poverty, or war-torn countries. Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain —

The United States is welcoming more immigrants than any other country in the world.

In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that immigrants make up 13.6 percent of the country’s population.

With an influx of immigrants comes an influx of motorists. And with that comes a very important question — how do non-U.S. residents go about getting car insurance?

The answer is simple. The journey to gaining car insurance for non-U.S. residents must begin with obtaining a valid driver’s license.

– Getting a U.S. Driver License

First thing’s first — immigrants will need to begin by determining what residency requirements are in place for getting a driver’s license in their state. They will also need to find out what documentation is required by their state of residence to get a license. Drivers can learn more by consulting with their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have enacted laws that enable unauthorized immigrants to get a driver’s license.

This is contingent upon them being able to provide specific documents, “such as a foreign birth certificate, a foreign passport, or a consular card and evidence of current residency in the state.”

The states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

Once you have a license, you will need to focus on gathering the necessary documentation needed to obtain car insurance. This will often include your driver’s license, personal identifiers like your address and date of birth, and vehicle information.

– International Driving Permits (IDP)

Foreign nationals who plan to visit the U.S. for shorter trips and wish to drive will also need to ensure that they’re in compliance with the state’s driver’s license requirements. This is where International Driving Permits (IDP) comes in.

According to AAA, an IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information.” In some states, driving with a valid foreign license will be acceptable as long as you’re in the country for a limited amount of time. But for others, a foreign license in conjunction with an IDP is required.

The United States does not issue IDPs to foreign nationals. Rather, they need to be obtained from the country that issued the foreign national’s license before coming to the U.S. Once obtained, an IDP is usually good for up to a year, and is recognized in more than 150 countries.

For foreign nationals looking to rent a car during their visit, know this — many rental agencies will require an IDP along with your valid foreign license. Once you rent a car, you should be able to purchase insurance through the same company.

– Can illegal immigrants get auto insurance?

Illegal immigrants can get auto insurance. In 2003, the state of New Mexico allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. The rationale behind passing the law is that illegal immigrants will otherwise drive without a license.

Drivers must pass a written test and behind-the-wheel test to obtain a state-issued license. While most states continue to deny illegal aliens the right to a driver’s license, some auto insurers offer auto insurance to illegal aliens.

When an insured driver is hit by an illegal alien without a driver’s license or auto insurance, the legal driver is often forced to pay for some damages out of his own pocket. Auto insurance sold to illegal aliens protects other drivers from illegal aliens.

– Which auto insurance companies will sell coverage to illegal immigrants?

Some auto insurance companies including Alliance United, Bristol West, Farmers Group, and Infinity P&C sell auto insurance to illegal aliens. Their reason to do so doesn’t concern a moral judgment of illegally living in the United States.

Rather, the auto insurance companies realize that the driving public benefits when more drivers, rather than less, have auto insurance. And, yes, it makes them money. It’s not illegal to purchase auto insurance, even without a driver’s license

According to Alliance United (which reports that about 5 percent of the company’s revenues come from auto insurance premiums paid by illegal aliens in California), illegal alien drivers report few minor accidents.

Auto insurance policies sold to illegal aliens in the United States (thought to be about 15 million people) are considered a growth market by some insurance companies.

About 40 insurance companies sell auto insurance to illegal alien drivers in California. In 2007, Alliance United insured about 2,500 illegal alien drivers.

They pay approximately 20 percent higher premiums than other high-risk drivers. About 33 million vehicles are registered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

“All insurance companies are targets for fraudulent auto insurance claims,” says Brian Duffy, the chief executive officer of Alliance United.

Alliance United and other insurance companies selling to uninsured illegal aliens may be at higher risk for fraudulent auto insurance claims than others selling to the standard insurance market.

– Why should illegal immigrants be allowed to buy auto insurance?

There are several reasons that many people feel that illegal immigrants should be allowed to purchase auto insurance.

According to Kevin Kalley, author of America Out of Order:

  • About 30 percent of prisoners in the United States’ prisons are illegal aliens
  • About $3 million is spent by U.S. courts to imprison illegal aliens every day
  • In 2006 70 percent of cars registered in the State of Florida were driven by uninsured motorists

Costs of auto insurance increase as uninsured drivers, like illegal aliens, pay a single insurance payment to register the car, then let the policy lapse until the next registration date approaches.

Illegal aliens in the United States are usually here to work. In order to work, most must have reliable transportation. Illegal aliens purchase cars and often drive them without licenses.

The press reports many car accidents with illegal alien drivers result in an offer to pay off the driver’s damages in cash, if that person has the funds to do so.

The drivers don’t want the legal headaches of police reports or potential jail time that driving without a license entails. Having auto insurance in some states allows the unlicensed illegal alien driver to get off with a more lenient ticket or fine.

Auto insurance companies offering auto insurance to illegal aliens help to offer other drivers financial protection demanded by law. Illegal immigrants pay hefty auto insurance rates and are naturally considered high-risk drivers. They aren’t playing by U.S. Immigration rules. They usually don’t have a driver license!

Other financial institutions, such as Bank of America, offer secured credit cards to illegal aliens without a social security card or other forms of identification. Credit cards are usually secured by an amount equal to the cardholder’s spending limit.

– Saving on Car Insurance for Immigrants and Non-U.S. Citizens

Once you have a license, you can begin the process of getting car insurance.

  1. The most important thing you can do is shop rates to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
  2. Be aware that as a new resident, some companies will classify you as a new and inexperienced driver and therefore, may assess you higher rates. As you’re contacting providers, see if they will credit you for prior driving experience.
  3. If you’re living with a relative, discuss the possibility of being added to their policy. This could help reduce rates, as well as open the door for multiple-policy discounts.
  4. Speaking of discounts, be sure to look for those you can apply to your premium.

Car Insurance for Drivers with Physical Disabilities

The CDC estimates that one in four adults in the United States has a disability. Experts go on to say that the most common type of disability is mobility, which impacts one in seven adults.

For many drivers with physical disabilities, cars will have to be modified or adapted to meet their needs. With those changes come a unique set of circumstances — including how to insure their vehicles.

Fortunately, drivers with modified cars can still receive top-notch coverage — for their cars and for their modifications.

– The Americans with Disabilities Act and Car Insurance Rates

Let’s begin with this simple fact —

It is illegal for car insurance companies to assess higher rates solely because of a disability.

These protections come thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990 to prevent insurers from exercising discriminatory pricing practices.

However, drivers with physical disabilities may experience higher rates as a result of the modifications done to their cars.

– Modifying and Adapting Vehicles for Physical Disabilities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, adaptive equipment for your car can range from $50 to the tens of thousands — especially when purchasing a new car that’s been modified.

Some typical modifications for drivers with disabilities can include:

  • Wheelchair ramps and lifts
  • Pedal extenders
  • Steering knobs
  • Amputee rings
  • Push-pull hand controls
  • Transfer seats
  • Adjustable seats and belts

– Car Insurance Coverage for Modified and Adapted Vehicles

If you plan on making modifications to your car as a result of a disability, it’s important that you first notify your insurer. Not doing so can negatively impact your rates once it’s time to renew.

Next, you’ll need to speak to your insurer about additional coverages for your modifications. This will ensure that items are covered in the instance of a collision.

Some options will include:

  • Adaptation coverage. This will specifically cover modifications done on the car.
  • Equipment insurance. This will cover items that will be transported in your car, such as oxygen tanks, walkers, and wheelchairs. This may be covered by your homeowner or health insurance.
  • Mobility insurance. This insurance comes into play if your car is involved in a claim, and you need to rent a car. Some companies may not provide a rental that accommodates the needs of a physically disabled driver without this insurance.

– Saving Money for Drivers with Physical Disabilities

Here’s what you need to know— drivers with physical disabilities who are making modifications to their cars may be eligible for rebates. In fact, some automakers offer as much as $1,000 in reimbursement costs.

You can learn more about these savings opportunities by visiting this Adaptive Driving Alliance page or by visiting this Vantage Mobility page.

Car Insurance Discounts

Below is an in-depth listing of the types of discounts that are available through various insurance providers. While not every company will offer every discount listed, this can serve as a helpful tool in what savings you can look for as you shop rates:

Vehicle Discounts:Driver/Customer Discounts:Personal Discounts:
Active Disabling DeviceClaim FreeEmergency Deployment
Adaptive Cruise ControlContinuous CoverageFamily Legacy
Adaptive HeadlightsDefensive DriverFamily Plan
Anti-Lock BrakesDriver's EducationFederal Employee
Audible AlarmDriving Device/AppFurther Education
Automatic BrakingEarly SigningGood Student
Blind Spot WarningFull PaymentHomeowner
Daytime Running LightsGood CreditLife Insurance
Economy VehicleLoyaltyMarried
Electronic Stability ControlMultiple PoliciesMembership/Group
Farm/Ranch VehicleMultiple VehiclesMilitary
Forward Collision WarningNew Customer/New PlanNew Address
Garaging/StoringOccasional OperatorNew Graduate
Green/Hyrbid VehicleOnline ShopperNon-Smoker/Non-Drinker
Lane Departure WarningOn-Time PaymentsOccupation
Newer VehiclePaperless/Auto BillingRecent Retirees
Passive RestraintPaperless DocumentsStable Residence
Utility VehicleRoadside AssistanceStudent Away
Vehicle RecoverySafe DriverStudent or Alumni
VIN EtchingSeat Belt UseVolunteer

The Bottom Line

No matter how unusual, complex, or stressful your circumstances may seem, remember this — reliable car insurance coverage is doable. For some, it will take a little bit of legwork, or may even require seeking non-traditional coverage.

But at the end of the day, the law of the land speaks volumes. As long as drivers must be insured, options will exist to ensure that you are compliant.

Rather than allowing anxiety to cripple the process, breathe easy. Use this guide to come up with a list of those you need to contact — whether that’s your insurer, an agent, your state’s insurance department, or the DMV. Stay on top of your list until all of your questions have been answered.

Finally, always remember the power of comparing rates. Even if you’ve been with your insurer for years, your situation may require a change in order to get the most affordable rates.

You can begin your journey to the best coverage for your car by using our free online comparison tool. Start by entering your zip code here.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
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