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The Most Dangerous (and Safest) States for Drivers

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Best Drivers in the US by State – 2015

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Click here to view interactive graphics for each destination and schools’s spring break schedules.

While college is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow, students need occasional breaks from the rigorous demands of college life. For this reason, virtually every college student looks forward to spring break!

While the length of spring break — a week-long hiatus from classes — is standard, the time of year for spring break varies depending on the college.

Some colleges schedule spring break as early as February, while others wait until April.

Spring break is a time for students to go somewhere they’ve never been and have once-in-a-lifetime experiences with their friends.

But it’s possible, and sometimes common, for students to take spring break a bit too far.

Before you venture out of town, get the auto insurance you need. Just enter your ZIP code here to get started!

17 Spring Break Destinations to be Aware of

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Click here to view our interactive graphics for destinations and schools’s spring break schedules.

If you are a college student, we hope you’re looking forward to your break! But if you’re planning on going to any of the destinations listed below, you need to be aware of their potential dangers, especially if you’ll be driving.

It’s no secret that alcohol is a major part of many people’s spring break experiences, and binge drinking is a major health risk.

With this in mind, read the information below about spring break destinations, and resolve to make smart decisions while you’re on spring break. These are the best destinations for spring break — and some of the worst pitfalls to avoid while there.

#1 – Lake Havasu, Arizona AdobeStock_48390362-1600x1600

Main Attraction: The music performances scheduled throughout spring and summer
Major Downfall: Ranked the 14th most dangerous spring break destination

Lake Havasu is an incredible destination for spring breakers. Since the location is essentially a never-ending party, there will be something there for you to do and enjoy regardless of when your spring break is.

One of the biggest attractions is the floating stages on the lake where well-known artists perform live.

While there is much to enjoy in Lake Havasu, a 2011 study ranked Lake Havasu as the 14th most dangerous spring break destination in the U.S. This study focused on risk and ranking violent crime, murder, rape, and fatal car crashes.

It was later considered controversial and unfounded by Lake Havasu’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and also the Police Department, but it is cause for concern for anyone planning to visit the area.

#2 – Los Angeles, California

Main Attraction: The show business, nightlife, and outdoor activities of the West Coast
Major Downfall: A staggering number of DUIs and fatal accidents likely to increase during spring break

Los Angeles is constantly listed as a top destination for spring and summer vacations. The area has several things for students to do.

Visitors to L.A. can enjoy the show business aspect of the area, which is a major reason for tourism. Additionally, upperclassmen can enjoy a more grown-up nightlife while also partaking in the area’s countless outdoor activities, such as hiking, surfing, and paddleboarding.

While L.A. seems like a dream, there is a downside. On average in 2014, for example, Los Angeles residents receive 114 DUI arrests per day, compared to eight to 18 arrests per day in 2009.

Additionally, according to a recent study of accidents in popular spring break vacation spots, fatal car accidents increased by 9.1 percent each week during spring break. This statistic implies that the potential for serious or fatal car accidents in L.A. is even worse during spring break than the already disturbing average statistic.

#3 – Aspen, Colorado

Main Attraction: The snow and legalized marijuana
Major Downfall: Accidents due to the consumption of alcohol and marijuana

If you’re looking for a cooler destination, Aspen may be just what you need! The area is perfect for those who love skiing, snowboarding, and all things winter-related.

Others also vacation to Aspen to legally partake in marijuana, since it’s legal in Colorado.

Combining marijuana and snow sports is bad enough, but the combination of marijuana, alcohol, and driving is absolutely terrifying.

For example, Jack Galyon, who was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, decided to drive his car and ended up crashing into another vehicle.

#4 – Daytona Beach, Florida

Main Attraction: The beach and cheap hotel options
Major Downfall: Binge drinking and alcohol-related aggression

If you love the sun, and you also love saving money, Daytona Beach might be perfect for you!

Daytona Beach boasts an average 80-degree temperature during spring break with hotels that start at just $40 a night. The area has the beach, boardwalk, and plenty of restaurants and clubs to interest spring breakers.

But there is often binge drinking in Daytona Beach, and where there is binge drinking, there is often alcohol-related aggression.

The tendency for people to mix alcohol and confrontation is fairly common and never a good idea.

As one teen driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident proves, there are terrible consequences to letting your aggression take over in heated situations.

#5 – Key West, Florida

Main Attraction: The nightlife
Major Downfall: DUI convictions

Key West is a beautiful place to visit, but it is far more popular for its nightlife than it is for its sandy beaches.

Duval Street — the legendary drinking boulevard in Key West — attracts countless visitors every year who want to partake in the party atmosphere.

But all that drinking and partying comes at a cost. There are often checkpoints throughout Key West and at Stock Island that require drivers to show their ID and also give law enforcement officers the chance to see if anyone is drinking and driving.

While the nightlife and atmosphere are inviting, you should always prepare other methods of transportation so that you’re never drunk behind the wheel.

#6 – Miami, Florida

Main Attraction: Beautiful beaches and amazing nightclubs
Major Downfall: Ranked 9th in U.S. cities for car accidents

You may be familiar with Will Smith’s hit song, “Miami.” This song was a spring break anthem in 1998, and much of the sentiment still rings true today.

Miami is famous for its beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, crazy nightlife, and overall sexy vibe.

However, Miami is also famous for its car accidents. According to a study by Allstate, Miami ranks ninth in U.S. cities for car accidents. What’s even more frightening is that one of the four factors contributing to Miami’s rating was spring breakers.

Because the drunk driving rates are much higher among this demographic — especially when combined with drivers being unfamiliar with Miami’s roads — it only makes sense that car accidents increase on the road.

#7 – Miami Beach, Florida

Main Attraction: The beach, parades, music festivals, and nightclubs
Major Downfall: Densely crowded areas that create hazards for drivers and pedestrians

While Miami Beach’s most famous attraction is the beach itself, the area also boasts the Miami Beach Gay Pride week, music festivals, and nightclubs.

But the area can quickly become overcrowded during spring break season, creating a hazardous environment for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Often, these types of crowds shut down entire sections of roads and cause serious traffic delays for anyone wishing to drive.

#8 – Orlando, Florida

Main Attraction: Theme parks
Major Downfall: Increased risk of DUI

While Orlando’s many theme parks are a wonderful spot for families to visit, spring breakers shouldn’t feel left out.

There are many opportunities for college students to let loose and enjoy their time in Orlando without having to feel like they’re in the way of family fun. For example, Epcot offers food and alcoholic beverage choices from 11 different countries.

If you choose to visit some theme parks while consuming alcohol, check out your public transportation options to avoid a DUI.

Florida’s DUI laws are fairly strict, and you can get a DUI conviction if you are drunk and in your car — even if you’re not driving! So sober up before you drive to or from any Orlando theme park.

#9 – Panama City Beach, Florida

Main Attraction: Outdoor concerts, bars, and restaurants
Major Downfall: Strict open container laws

Dubbed the “Spring Break Capital of the World,” nearly half a million college students visit Panama City during the spring. The area offers outdoor concerts, several bars and restaurants, and even a theme park!

But Panama City law enforcement has gotten pretty strict during spring break season. Open container laws, the prohibition of alcohol in certain areas, and laws concerning where you’re allowed to park are all strictly enforced.

Since the beach is also where a lot of spring breakers may want to gather, Panama City Beach police take extra precautions, patrolling the beaches to cut down on crime rates during busy seasons.

#10 – Tampa, Florida

Main Attraction: Water activities and affordable hotel rates
Major Downfall: High number of car accidents

Tampa is a hotspot for spring breakers due to its location and affordability. Clearwater Beach is a super popular spot not just for swimming, but also for other water activities like kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, and even dolphin cruises.

But if you plan to travel to Tampa this spring, keep in mind that out of the 64,022 car crashes recorded in 2015 in Florida during March — the peak month for spring break — there were more than 32,000 crashes reported here.

Amazingly, nearly half of all car crashes that occur in Florida take place during spring break season!

#11 – New Orleans, Louisiana

Main Attraction: Nice weather, historic location, lenient open container policies
Major Downfall: Dangers associated with flawed DUI laws

New Orleans is an area ripe with culture and heritage. The city displays its past in ways that invite tourists to become a part of the fun.

New Orleans often offers 70-degree weather during spring break season, and Mardis Gras and the April Jazz Festival may be options depending on when you’re planning to visit. Additionally, the city has lenient open container policies.

However, because drinking and driving laws are not particularly strict, you may be setting yourself up for a dangerous vacation. For example, in February 2017, an intoxicated man drove through a crowd in Mardi Gras, injuring 28 people.

#12 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Main Attraction: Gambling, clubs, and night life
Major Downfall: High likelihood of car accidents

Las Vegas is called Sin City for a reason. Gambling, watching, and betting on March Madness; pool parties; strip clubs; and mega clubs are readily available for spring breakers, especially if you’re over the age of 21.

Just keep in mind that Las Vegas car accident lawyers often see an increase in business during the spring, when tourism kicks into high gear during spring break and traffic gets particularly congested.

#13 – Atlantic City, New Jersey

Main Attraction: Cheap hotels, the Boardwalk, gambling, and nightclubs
Major Downfall: High likelihood of drunk driving

Atlantic City offers several reasons why you might want to visit for spring break. There are many cheap hotel rooms with ocean views available, there’s access to gambling and casinos, the Boardwalk is famous and often offers live music, and there are plenty of nightclubs.

But as usual, drunk driving is a high probability during spring break and can cause reckless driving and unnecessary accidents.

#14 – New York City, New York

Main Attraction: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building
Major Downfall: Pickpockets

NYC is the city that never sleeps. This city is more for the sophisticated spring breaker, offering activities such as:

  • Touring Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building
  • Seeing a Broadway show
  • Eating and drinking in famous restaurants and bars

While the area is a wonderful option for spring break, tourists should be on the lookout for pickpocketing.

It’s fairly likely that you’ll be targeted for theft if you look and act like a tourist. So while it’s fun to visit all the infamous tourist attractions, be aware that this may send a signal to thieves and criminals in the area.

#15 – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Main Attraction: Restaurants and bars
Major Downfall: Rowdy crowds and a high rate of drinking and driving

In Myrtle Beach, there is no shortage of fun and exciting restaurants and bars to visit. Señor Frog’s, Pirate’s Cove Lounge, House of Blues, and Bourbon Street are just a few of the popular places to go.

Myrtle Beach also offers white sandy beaches, an amusement park, and oceanfront motels that start around $50.

But if you’re planning to drive past Broadway at the Beach anytime after dark, you should be on the lookout.

The area is known to get crazy during spring break, and we promise you won’t want to be in the middle of it.

#16 – Austin, Texas

Main Attraction: SXSW Music Festival and great food and beer
Major Downfall: Drunk driving

Austin is an emerging party town that offers the South by Southwest Music Festival in March, warm temperatures throughout spring break season, and amazing restaurants.

Due to the number of restaurants and bars serving alcohol in Austin, it makes sense for tourists to plan their transportation options ahead of time.

There are plenty of rideshare services throughout Austin, and with many of the locations so close to one another, it may be an option to walk to restaurants and bars from your hotel instead of taking a car.

#17 – South Padre Island, Texas

Main Attraction: Eccentric clubs and bars
Major Downfall: Fines and arrests for public intoxication

South Padre Island, to many, may seem a bit off the beaten path. The area is most famous for its nightlife and tattoo parlors, and boasts that it encourages “character rather than class” when it comes to tourists and business owners alike.

While the eccentric flavor of South Padre may seem appealing, be aware that local police will be quick to fine or arrest you for being intoxicated in public.

The area collects more than $83,000 in fines in March alone for public intoxication, and most of these instances are college students who were just visiting the area.

#18 – Nashville, Tennesse

Main Attraction: Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and The Parthenon
Major Downfall: Traffic and Road Safety

Let’s focus on what’s great about Nashville first. If you love music, good food, and the outdoors, Nashville is your spring break paradise.

For music, you could catch a show at Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, or the Bridgestone Area. Also, don’t forget the myriad of smaller places who host local talent trying to get their big break.

For food and drinks, Nashville has a booming food scene. From their famous hot chicken to more upscale and trendy establishments. You won’t lack options.

On the downside, traffic is terrible. One study ranked Nashville 27th for worst traffic in the country. Another study has the state as a whole was ranked 19th for traffic fatalities and 16th for failure to obey.

Be careful on the road. We recommend finding a safe place to park your car and take advtange of the public transportation or ridesharing services.


Safety Tips for Spring Breakers AdobeStock_73231724-1600x1600

– Have the Right Coverage

If you plan on driving to your spring break destination or while you’re there, taking the time to compare auto insurance quotes from at least three companies online could save you money and stress in the days to come.

You want to ensure that you have the best rates on your coverage, but you also want to know that you have the coverage you need in case of an accident.

If you are driving a car you do not own or if you and a friend plan to switch off driving your car or theirs, talk to your provider to learn whether you’ll be covered for any potential expenses.

If you find that you’re not happy with your current coverage or company, now is the time to make any necessary changes.

– Do Your Research

Let’s all assume that you’ve at least done a tiny bit of research on the location where you’ll be staying. But when we use the term “research,” we don’t just mean looking up pictures of the beaches or nightlife in the area.

You should look up safe and reliable options for transportation to and from different destinations you’re planning to visit. One great way to do this is through online reviews.

Also call your hotel ahead of time to ask about the best methods of transportation in the area. Speaking to someone who lives locally could be a big help as you finalize your plans.

– Go Easy on the Alcohol

Alcohol may be a large part of your plans for spring break, but you need to decide now to make good decisions and recognize when enough is enough.

Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and injure someone every two minutes.

Since we all know that the more you drink, the more likely you are to make bad decisions, consuming too much alcohol can put you in a scary situation in which you’re likely to be mugged, molested, or even raped.

Since the most common side effects of alcohol usage are reduced inhibition, slurred speech, motor impairment, confusion, and memory and concentration difficulties, it makes sense that drinking too much will only increase the likelihood that you’ll make a bad decision.

– Use the Buddy System

The concept of the Buddy System is simple: You should never go anywhere by yourself when you’re in a new and unfamiliar place. There’s safety in numbers!

If you go to a restaurant, bar, or club with a group of friends, leave with that same group of people. Never leave your destination to go to an unknown location with a stranger. “Stranger danger” is still an important phrase to remember!

If, against your better judgment, you decide to leave with someone you don’t know, tell your friends. Give them details about where you’re going and when you will be back.

– Protect Yourself and Know Your Boundaries

Women are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault than men. For this reason, it’s imperative that you protect yourself at all times.

Before leaving for spring break, establish your boundaries to make sure you’re clear on what you are and are not comfortable with.

Knowing your boundaries upfront can help you stay focused and reinforce them later on.

If you choose to be sexually active on spring break, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to both offer and gain consent beforehand. Additionally, you should always use condoms to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Talk to your partner beforehand and ask them about their sexual history. Discuss what each of you is comfortable with. If you’re not willing to have this conversation with someone, you shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.

– Keep Your Guard Up

Since you’ll be in a new location, be aware of any shady occurrences, such as:

  • Pickpockets
  • Friends drinking too much and making bad decisions
  • Car rides taking you to an unknown location
  • Individuals trying to get too close

While this list is not exhaustive, it gives you a good idea of the things you may notice.

Don’t readily offer up information like the hotel you’re staying in, your plans for spring break, or how many people are with you. This advice is especially important for all-girl groups.

And while we hope you never have to use it, you should carry pepper spray or a personal alarm for protection, which will ensure that you have a way to protect yourself in a scary situation.

– Stay Safe in the Elements

For most spring breakers, your destination will be warm. One of the best things you can do on your trip is to make sure that you stay hydrated.

If you are drinking, sun exposure can maximize the effects of alcohol.

Keep this in mind when you party poolside or at the beach, and keep water with you at all times so you know you’re giving your body the hydration that it needs. Also, be sure to avoid excess sun exposure when UV rays are the most intense (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Additionally, if you’re in a hot tub, the effects of alcohol are often felt sooner and are likely stronger than in other scenarios; this can lead to unconsciousness and drowning.

If you’re at the beach, familiarize yourself with the flag system for water safety:

  • Red – Stay out of the water because of strong undertow and riptides
  • Yellow – Use caution, as there is a possibility of undertow and riptides
  • Blue – The water is calm; swim safely

– Use Common Sense on International Trips

You need to travel with your passport if you plan on leaving the country. Since you cannot update your passport last-minute, you should file your application at least six months before going on a trip abroad.

Check with the U.S. Department of State for travel alerts or warnings before leaving for your destination.

Before you leave, look up the contact information and address of the American Consulate or U.S. Embassy in the country where you are headed.

Tell friends and family the details about your travel itinerary, and then contact them often during your trip.

In order to keep your financial accounts open, call your bank and credit card company ahead of time to inform them about where you’re headed. Otherwise, they may freeze your accounts.

Also, if you’re going to a place with a different language, carry your hotel’s business card to give to taxi drivers in case of any language barriers. There are several smartphone apps that could help you speak to locals in their language.

– Ask for Help if You Need It

If you or a friend has an alcohol or drug problem, has thoughts of suicide, or is in crisis for any reason, get help.

Call 911 for emergency services, 800-662-4357 for substance abuse help, and 800-273-TALK (8255) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

To find the right car insurance coverage before your spring break begins, click here to use our rate comparison tool!

– For all media inquiries, please email: Josh Barnes

Things to remember...
  • Purchasing car insurance is a necessity for almost anyone driving in the United States; being under 21 does not change this
  • Insurance providers often take your age into account when deciding how to price your coverage
  • When you are under the age of 21, you may be considered young and inexperienced behind the wheel; this may cause you to be labeled as a high-risk driver
  • In this situation, you will normally face higher premiums that are used to offset the risks associated with providing you with coverage
  • Your insurance provider will also review your insurance history and your driving record before they make their decision about your policy coverage and your rates

When you’re under the age of 21, purchasing car insurance may be an eye-opening experience; at your age, you may often be considered a high-risk driver.

Insurance providers often take your age into consideration when trying to determine if providing you with coverage is in their best interest.

It’s important to understand what your provider will be looking at when they try to determine your policy rates and the coverage options you are qualified to purchase.

Compare coverage options today. Just enter your zip code into our free comparison tool to begin.

Buying Coverage When You’re Under 21-Years-Old

Just because you can purchase coverage doesn’t mean it’s as simple as 1-2-3.

Due to your age, you may experience difficulty finding a company that can provide you the coverage you want at the price you can afford; insurance providers often charge young, inexperienced drivers higher premiums to offset any potential losses.

When you’re under 21, you may have started to do the following:

  • live on your own
  • be responsible for your bills
  • purchased your first car

However, this does not mean that you have purchased car insurance coverage on your own.

Many young adults will remain on a parent or guardian’s policy until they are more established, sometimes waiting until after completing college or landing their first “adult” job.

If you choose to purchase your policy when you’re under 21, it can be another way to increase your knowledge of what being an adult truly entails; managing car insurance, choosing your coverage, and managing your budget are all necessary skills.

Your previous choices up to this point can affect your available coverage options, meaning you may be limited in what insurance companies you can buy coverage through or what coverage options you can select.

Things You Can Expect When Purchasing Coverage


There are several things that an individual under 21 can expect when shopping for a car insurance policy, including:

  • Higher premium rates
  • Difficulty obtaining coverage
  • Limitations on coverage options

As a younger driver, your lack of experience behind the wheel often means insurance companies will see you as a higher risk compared to someone that has had many more years experience behind the wheel.

While you may not be a poor driver yourself, insurance companies use statistics that aggregate large amounts of data and provide a generalized estimate based on that data. This means that, due to being in your age group, you will be looked at as a higher risk.

Higher risk individuals often face higher premium rates when purchasing coverage. These higher rates help to preemptively offset the costs that insurance companies predict they will incur while insuring you.

As you continue to grow older and show responsible behaviors, insurance companies will often start to lower your premium as an incentive to continue being responsible behind the wheel.

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You may also encounter difficulty obtaining coverage from some insurance providers.

Insurance companies are not obligated to provide an individual with coverage in most cases, meaning they can deny coverage to an individual based on their risk assessment of that individual.

When you are deemed to be a higher risk than they want to insure, they may direct you to search elsewhere.

There may be instances where a provider is willing to provide you with coverage, but they may place restrictions or limitations on the coverage options you can purchase.

This could be as simple as requiring a high-dollar deductible for certain coverage options, or they could restrict entire coverage options from being selected.

You may have to speak to multiple providers to find one willing to work with you and your unique situation.

Factors That May Influence Your Rates and Coverage Options


Insurance providers will take many factors into consideration when determining if they should provide you with coverage, what coverage options to provide, and what rate they should charge to properly match the risk.

Some of the most common factors they consider include:

When you are under 21, you will have potentially created years of driving information and insurance histories that any potential or current provider will want to review.

Your driving record is a listing of any citations, violations, or incidents that occur while operating your vehicle; a speeding ticket is one example of this.

Individuals that have a poor driving record may encounter higher premiums as a result; insurance providers do this to offset the potential losses they foresee you claiming through your policy.

If your driving record is exceptionally poor, you may find yourself unable to obtain coverage through traditional insurance carriers.

Your insurance history is another factor that many carriers will review, as this is a record of your interactions with your previous insurance carriers and a record of your previous claims.

Your history helps provide your potential or current company with a snapshot of how you work with insurance companies as well as how often you file claims, the amount of the claim settlement, and the number of parties involved.

If your insurance history shows a record of late or incomplete payments, high-value claims, or multiple claims within a short amount of time, your potential or current provider may find themselves unable to provide you with coverage.

These factors are all indicators that you may be a higher risk than they are equipped to cover.



Anytime you purchase coverage, regardless of your age, there are multiple things to keep in mind. Your age is always going to be a factor that any insurance provider will look at when trying to decide if they should provide you with coverage and for what price.

Factors like this are something that insurance providers collect a lot of data about, this then allows them to make informed guesses about your potential risk.

This means that you will need to anticipate higher premium costs when you purchase your policy. As you grow older and show responsible driving habits, your insurance provider may reward you with lower rates.

However, this is something that cannot be changed overnight; you will need a long-term history of responsible habits to show your provider that you are a low-risk policyholder.

Your previous insurance history and your driving record are both going to influence your available coverage options.

Current and future insurance carriers often look at your history with previous insurance companies; this allows them to make some reasonable determinations about what kind of policyholder you may be.

Your driving record, on the other hand, provides an idea of your driving habits and how cautious you are behind the wheel.

Any questions or concerns you have about how your age, your driving record, your insurance history, or any other factors will affect your coverage should be directed to your carrier before purchasing your policy.

Each insurance carrier will address rates and coverage options in different ways, so one carrier may be able to provide you better rates and coverage options compared to another.

Compare car insurance quotes to see how much you could save on the coverage you need.

Things to remember...
  • If you and your ex-spouse have a child that is learning to drive, it will be much more cost-effective to have your child added to your insurance policy
  • Car insurance for new drivers is extremely expensive because they are the most likely to be involved in a serious and expensive auto accident
  • The parent who has primary custody of the child will want to have the child added to his or her car insurance policy as soon as possible
  • If custody of the child is shared between parents, the child should be listed on at least one of the parents’ car insurance policies
  • If you are confused at all, it is best to talk to your auto insurance agent to make sure that there is sufficient coverage for your child no matter which car he or she is driving

The process of insuring a teen driver can be trying even in the best of circumstances.

However, if you are currently divorced, there may be a few more wrinkles to work out with your ex-spouse to ensure that your child driver is properly covered by a car insurance policy before he or she takes the wheel.

There may be a few more hoops for you to jump through in these circumstances, but doing your homework to make sure that your child is properly insured will most certainly pay off.

If you are looking to get the best auto insurance rates for your teen, start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code above!

The Requirement for Your Teen Driver to Have Auto Insurance

Even though your teen driver may not actually own a car yet, it is still important that you take all of the proper precautions to have him or her insured.

In typical circumstances, you should contact your car insurance agent and make sure that you have given proper notice that there will be an additional driver in your household.

When you make arrangements for your child to be listed as a driver on your auto insurance policy, you will be required to provide updated information to the insurance company concerning any changes in your child’s driving status.

If your child ends up purchasing a car in their own name, the auto insurance company would need to be informed about this change immediately in order to be required to provide coverage.

The risk of not having coverage for your teen driver is not something you want to take on. A single accident that is not covered by insurance can be enough to wipe out your savings and end up with you paying for the expense of a lawyer to represent you in court.

An uninsured accident could also seriously damage yours and your child’s driving records and end up costing you in higher auto insurance premiums for years to come.

Licensing Stages for Your Teen Driver


Many states have adopted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws that are designed to incrementally give more driving privileges to a teen driver and therefore gradually accustom them to driving.

These laws have presented some confusion regarding auto insurance requirements for teen drivers.

Even if your teen driver does not have a full driver’s license just yet, he or she should still be covered by some auto insurance policy.

Auto insurance is essential because, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, the number of teen drivers who were involved in fatal accident grew by more than 10 percent last year.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that you have enough coverage with your current policy limits when adding a teen driver to your auto insurance policy.

You may need to consider increasing your liability policy limits to compensate for the extra risk of having a new driver on your policy.

Special Considerations for Teen Drivers


It should not surprise you that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident than experienced drivers.

A teen’s level of inexperience means parents must be vigilant in making sure their teens understand how important it is to prioritize safety behind the wheel at all times.

Taking the time to review important safety concerns with your teen driver can save lives as well as plenty of money on insurance premiums.

According to the National Safety Council, about half of all teen drivers will be involved in an auto accident before earning their high school diploma.

As a parent, there are several steps that you can take to make sure that you are keeping your son or daughter safe on the road. Start setting certain strict ground rules for your teen driver, such as:

  • Cell phones must be turned off in the car while driving.
  • No extra passengers in the car for any reason unless permission has expressly been given ahead of time.
  • No wiggle room with the posted speed limit. If your teen driver is issued a speeding ticket, they could lose their driving privileges.
  • A seat belt must be worn by the driver and passengers in the vehicle at all times.
  • No driving in inclement weather. If bad weather is approaching, your teen driver should get in touch with you ahead of time before getting behind the wheel.
  • No music playing while driving. Not playing music will cut down on distractions and eliminate the urge to fiddle with the radio dial.

It is up to you as a parent to set clear guidelines on safe driving behavior.

Enforcing a curfew for night driving is a good idea, as the likelihood of being involved in an auto accident with a drunk driver increases after dark.

You can also remind your teen driver that these restrictions are not forever and are essential for making sure that he or she retains the privilege to drive until they are living in their own home and paying for their own insurance coverage.

Signing Up for a Defensive Driving Course

After your teen driver gets his or her license, it might be a good idea to find a defensive driving course in your area. Your auto insurance company may even be able to recommend one.

While there may be a fee for your teen to attend these classes, they can pay dividends in giving your child an extra layer of safety training as they hit the road.

Some auto insurance companies even provide a discount for teen drivers who complete one of these defensive driving course.

Check with your auto insurance provider first to make sure that you are enrolling your child in a defensive driving course that meets all of the criteria for a discount.

You will typically have to present some proof of completion, such as a certificate, to your auto insurance company in order to see the discount reflected in your auto insurance premium.

You do not have to be a teen driver in order to benefit from a defensive driving course.

If you are looking for ways to lower your insurance rate, you could enroll in one of these courses even with decades of experience behind the wheel. The level of the premium discount may vary, but it never hurts to take a refresher course in safe driving practices.

Ways to Lower Your Rates for Insuring a Teen Driver


If you are responsible for paying the auto insurance premium for a teen driver, then you will want to do everything that you can to keep the rate as low as possible.

In addition to taking defensive driving courses and making sure that your child avoids getting into an accident, there are many other steps you can take to keep your auto insurance premium in line.

— Don’t List A Teen As a Policyholder

The primary recommendation for teen drivers is that they should not be listed as a policyholder on their own policy.

In fact, many auto insurance companies may not agree to provide coverage at all to teen drivers because they pose too much of a risk without gaining the requisite experience to avoid accidents.

If your teen is able to get auto insurance on his or her own, the cost of the policy will likely be too prohibitive.

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— Multiple Car Policy

Some auto insurance companies utilize a discount scheme that gives you a break for having multiple cars insured under the same auto insurance policy.

If you are purchasing a new vehicle in your name that you intend will be driven by your child, then this could work in your favor for lowering the price of your premium.

If you can list all of the cars in your household under the same policy, this could net you a larger discount than if they were all listed under separate car insurance policies.

— Good Student Discount

Another discount that your son or daughter might qualify for is the good student discount. Upon a showing that your child has achieved a certain grade point average (GPA) in school, some auto insurance companies offer another discount to recognize their responsible behavior.

The reasoning behind the good student discount is that teen drivers who concentrate and earn good grades in school are probably less likely to engage in reckless behavior while on the road.

If your auto insurance company does not offer any of these discounts, then it may be time for you to shop around for a new auto insurance company. This process is much easier than you might be anticipating because it can largely be done online.

There are free tools that allow you to search for a listing of auto insurance rates in your area. Rates are typically assessed by your zip code and will depend on a list of your personal information.

The reason that so many drivers take the time to shop around for a new auto insurance company every so often is that there is nothing to be lost from searching.

It does not require a commitment to leave your current auto insurance provider and can provide you with valuable information that you might not otherwise have access to.

You could find out that you have been paying much more for auto insurance in your area than you really need to.

Communicating with Your Ex-Spouse About Auto Insurance Considerations for Your Teen Driver


Even though it might seem like a pain to have to make auto insurance arrangements for your child with your ex-spouse, it is necessary.

You should be as clear as possible with your ex-spouse about what the arrangements are for insurance.

It will not be an acceptable excuse for you to say that you thought your teen driver was insured under your ex-spouse’s auto insurance policy if your child is involved in an accident using your vehicles.

It is always best to be on the same page with your ex-spouse as to how your teen driver is covered for auto insurance. Do not hesitate to inform your current auto insurance provider of the circumstances under which your teen driver will be typically driving.

Even if your teen driver is only commuting to and from school each day, there is still plenty of potential for an auto accident that could make your life very complicated.

Final Thoughts on Getting Car Insurance for a Child of Divorced Parents

If you and your ex-spouse have a teenager who is just learning to drive, it is important to make sure that he or she is listed on at least one of your auto insurance policies so that there is protection in the event of an accident.

The parent responsible for paying the auto insurance premium for the child is the one who is listed as the policyholder.

If you share custody of your child with your ex-spouse, speak with your insurance agent to make sure that the auto insurance company has proper notice of which cars the child will be driving.

Failure to properly notify your agent of information involving your child’s driving could mean that a claim is denied by the insurance provider.

If your child is about to start driving, start comparison shopping today for better auto insurance rates. Enter your ZIP code below!

Things to remember...
  • Anyone who has less than five years of driving experience is classified as a high-risk driver
  • College students who have a permanent address at home are considered dependents on their parents’ tax filings
  • If your child has regular access to a car while they are away at college, they should stay on your policy
  • Encourage your college student to get good grades, and they will qualify for a Good Student Discount
  • College students who live in their own apartments should buy their own auto insurance policy for coverage

Teens and young adults can’t do anything to escape the fact that they are going to be classified as high-risk drivers when they first get their license.

Being considered high-risk is why rental agencies surcharge renters under 25 and why auto insurance companies assign highly inflated premiums to vehicles that are driven by the inexperienced driver in the home.

Parents go through a tornado of emotions when their little babies go from diapers to graduating high school in the blink of an eye. Many parents start to wonder if they need to keep their kids on their policy while they are in college. Here’s a guide on insuring college students.

If you are also looking to insure your child before they head off to college, start comparison shopping today for the best auto insurance rates. Enter your zip code above to get started!

When Your College Student is Attending School Nearby


If you were lucky enough to convince your student to attend a college in your local area, you don’t have to worry about saying the emotional goodbyes.

Some young adults want to move as far away from home as possible to enjoy their new-found independence and others understand just how much it costs to move to a new state or city.

As long as your child is living in your home while they are attending a local college or university, you should keep him or her on your auto insurance just like they were when they were in high school.

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When Your Child Leaves Your Home and Attends School Far Away

When students are attending school far away from their childhood home, there still may be a need for auto insurance coverage. It all depends on if the student takes a car with them or if they have regular access to other vehicles to commute to school or work.

You should always keep students on your insurance if they are regularly driving at college.

You know you have to insure a car that they take with them, but you should also have that barrier of protection if the student will be borrowing or renting cars.

It’s better to pay the premium than to face an uninsured loss where you could lose everything.

Why do you need to keep a college student away at college on your policy?


You have to take a step back and assess the whole situation so that you can fully comprehend why it’s so important to approach the insurance topic the right way.

Students who are away at college are usually still dependents. When you have a dependent who drives, it always put you at risk.

If you’re paying for room and board or you’re helping your child pay for college tuition, they are financially dependent on you, and this can work against you if there’s ever an accident.

When parents make the mistake of removing their children too soon, they won’t have any liability protection to pay for claims made by other drivers. They also won’t be entitled to having the insurance company cover the cost of legal defense.

When will a college student who is still on your policy be covered?

You might be surprised at home many different scenarios where your teen might need coverage to drive a car when they are away. You can’t keep an eye on your college student all the time, so you don’t truly know if they will be driving.

As much as you’d like to trust your children, it’s always possible that they are doing things they aren’t telling you.

Even though the intention is innocent, if something happens while they are driving a non-owned car, that innocent joyride can turn into a nightmare.

Here are scenarios where your teen will be covered if you keep them on your policy:

  • They drive a friend’s car while they are away at school
  • They have to drive someone else’s car because of an emergency near the campus
  • They return home and drive your vehicles or their friends’ vehicles in your local area

Is there a discount for students who go away to college?


A student who is attending school miles and miles away from you without their car isn’t quite the same type of risk as a student who stills lives with you.

They may still be a risk, but they aren’t exposed to the same level of risk as a student who has regular access to a vehicle and who can come and go as they please.

Most auto insurance carriers offer their customers the option to take advantage of a Student Away at College discount when their student is attending full-time school at least 100 miles from their primary residence.

For the student to qualify for the savings, they must be 24 or younger. You may have to provide proof of their attendance at a school far away.

Ask About Good Students Discounts


Both local and distant students can qualify for Good Student Discounts as long as they earn a 3.0 or higher and they are attending college full-time.

These discounts for getting good grades are a great incentive for your student to do good in school and save up to 30 percent off of their premiums.

Let your college student stay on your policy for as long as they are dependent on you. When they become independent, they can start to shop for their policy. Use an online auto insurance quote tool and see what the price difference will be.

Start comparison shopping today by using our FREE online quote tool! Enter your zip code below to get started!

Things to remember...
  • If you are still living at home and under 21, you can stay on your parents’ insurance until you leave home
  • Whether you get your car insurance should be partly determined by whether you own your own car
  • Consider temporary insurance if you are only driving your parents’ car or use their insurance for now
  • Shop and compare to see what’s available once you get your insurance

If you are a brand new driver or getting ready to take your driver’s test, you may be wondering if you need to get your own car insurance when you begin driving.

It’s easy to use our comparison tool for car insurance quotes; just enter your ZIP code here!

Do I need insurance?

If you still have your permit, you may not need to do anything. You are probably automatically covered under your parents’ insurance. If you are concerned about this, simply ask your parents to contact their car insurance company to see if it is necessary to report you on their insurance.

If you already have your license, then you do need to be covered, as this is required by law in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia.

There are even laws in those two states as well, but they do not need actual car insurance.

When you turn 16, you are still able to be counted on your parents’ insurance, but you will need to make sure you are registered under their policy.

If your mom or dad has not informed your insurance company yet, you should ask them to call to find out.

It is against the law to fail to have insurance when driving, and you may be asked to provide your insurance information at any time. You must also carry proof of insurance in your car with you at all times.

But if you are still under 21 and are living at home, you are fully covered by being listed on your parents’ car insurance.

How to Be Legal While Driving

Once you discover that you are indeed on your parents’ insurance, you will just need to follow these steps to be legal on the road:

  • Get a copy of your insurance card – Even if you are fully covered by your parents’ insurance, you will still need a copy of your coverage to carry with you at all times. You also have a responsibility to make sure your parents’ coverage meets the mandatory requirements of your state.
  • Make sure the car insurance company has your information – Some teens who are covered by their parents’ insurance do not yet own their vehicle. But if you already have a car, you will need to make sure your car with make and model are indicated on your insurance that you have through your parents.
  • Insurance follows the car – You will only have the amount of coverage that your parent has on their vehicle you are driving.  Some additional coverage you might want could include roadside assistance or comprehensive coverage.
  • Keep a clean driving record – One of the biggest mistakes young drivers make is that they get through their driver’s test fine but then mess up their driving record too soon by distracted/reckless driving When you get your own insurance, these bad behaviors will come back to haunt you.

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What if I have an accident?

If you have a car accident, traffic violation, or other problem while driving, your parents’ insurance will go up, which is why some insurance companies recommend that parents keep their children on their insurance until they are 21.

There is a motivation among teens to watch their driving habits more if their parents are going to be immediately notified about it via their insurance.

Which is cheaper: my parents’ insurance or mine?

You will want to dig in and do some of your own research to find out which insurance is cheaper. It helps to use sites like ours to look at the various types of insurance coverage and companies.

Then — to make sure you cover all of the bases — create a list of the types of coverage you will need.

You will usually find that your parents’ insurance will go up when they add you to their insurance.

However, as long as your driving record remains clean, it should not affect it a great deal.

What will happen when I get my insurance?

Once you go with your insurance, you will pay much more per month due to carrying your car on your individual insurance.

The idea of staying on your parents’ insurance until you are at least 21 is good because it puts you on your parents’ insurance until you get out of the higher risk group.

The 21-24 age group is also a high-risk group, but you may be able to get some discounts once you reach that age.

Talk to Your Parents

Communicate with your parents about your insurance options to determine the best course of action.

Whether you get your own insurance should be partly based on whether you are getting your own vehicle.

Technically, you can stay on your parents’ insurance even with your car, but talking to your parents about this can help you make a better decision.

Best Advice of All

The best advice for a new driver is to keep your eyes on the road, avoid distractions, and think about the future. The future may involve a lot of things, such as who your friends will be, where you will go to college, and your future job or career.

But the most important thing is that you drive safely so that you will live to see that future and avoid legal problems.

Driving safely and defensively also protects you from exorbitant premium rates later when you get your car and insurance. Think of this time as a time to test drive your responsibility on the road.

But remember, it’s not a game.

If you or your parents are in need of car insurance, click here to get car insurance quotes!

Things to remember...
  • A learner driver is a driver who has a learner’s permit instead of an unrestricted driver’s license
  • In most states, you have to be a resident of the state who is 17 years old or younger to get a learner’s permit
  • A permit holder who is learning to drive must drive under the supervision of an experienced adult
  • If you’re the parent or guardian of a learner driver and they live in your home, they may be covered
  • You should ask your insurer if learner drivers in your home are automatically covered or if there’s a charge

Driving is one of those skills in life that will develop over time as you practice. Much like riding a bike, you can’t learn how to operate a vehicle by reading a book.

Reading through the Driver’s Handbook issued by your state’s motor vehicle agency will help you familiarize yourself with driving laws, but knowing the laws doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know how to drive as soon as you sit in the driver’s seat.

The state wants only drivers who have proven that they can safely operate a car to be licensed. Young drivers must first get their learners permit for a short period of time before they can get their driver’s license.

If you have a learner driver in your home who is driving your car, here’s what you need to know about your insurance.

If you are also looking for the best auto insurance rates for you and your beginner driver, start comparison shopping by entering your ZIP code above!

What type of driving restrictions are there when a driver has a permit?

A permit isn’t a driver’s license for teens. While permits do grant teens permission to legally drive a car, there are a lot of restrictions.

In most states, drivers between 15 and 18 can get a provisional license. The permit holder can drive to and from work, to and from school, and during the hours of five in the morning and 11 at night.

Learner drivers also can’t drive cars by themselves. Most of the time, learners must be accompanied by their parent or another licensed driver who is 25 or older.

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Who is covered to drive your vehicle?

Not just anyone can drive your vehicle. You have to worry about who’s covered to drive your car before you given anyone other than your listed driver’s permission to borrow your car.

If you look over your Personal Auto Policy, you’ll see that the following meet the definition of insured driver:

  • The named insured’s spouse
  • A family member who is related by blood, adoption, or marriage
  • A resident of your household
  • A permissive user who’s been granted permission to drive your car

Do all resident drivers need to be listed and rated on your policy?


Just because a household resident is defined as an insured doesn’t mean they don’t need to be listed.

Insurance companies list drivers so that they can charge you extra premiums when someone with a poor driving record is living with you.

When a driver is listed and rated, the company will review the driver’s accident history and motor vehicle record.

If the likelihood that the driver will have a loss is high, then your rates could go up as soon as the driver is rated and assigned to another vehicle.

If you’re the parent or guardian, is a teen with their permit covered?

The rules to cover a teen with a permit can vary by state. Since learner drivers don’t have their license, they are an exception to the household resident rule.

Drivers who are gaining their practical skill are still a risk on the road and a financial risk. The financial risk is why you need to know how to cover teen drivers.

If you’re the parent or the legal guardian of a new driver, even if they don’t have a license, you could be liable for paying damages.

After all, you have to sign off and say that you’ll pay for damages that your teen causes in the vehicle as they are learning.

Most insurers will coverage permitted teens under your policy as long as you’re legally liable for them.

Will you be charged a premium to cover a teen who has only their permit?


You’d think since a teen is such a huge risk on the road that you’d have to pay to get extra coverage. What’s surprising is that most carriers offer the coverage extension free of charge.

There’s no guarantee that adding a learner driver to the plan will be free, but this is a standard practice with most of the respected insurers.

Always contact your company before assuming that you have automatic coverage without additional charges.

Let your agent know a teen in your home has their permit, ask if they need to be listed, and then verify if you need to pay additional premiums for the added protection.

There are companies that will charge you a flat fee until the teen is licensed.

Why do most companies offer free coverage for learner drivers?

It’s shocking to learn that a learner driver probably won’t cost you money in additional premiums.

There’s a reason for this goodwill gesture.

Since teens have to be supervised by you, they will be on their best behavior. Teens also tend to drive better with a permit because tickets and accidents can delay their ability to get an unrestricted license.

When do you need to add the learner driver to your insurance?


As soon as your teen is eligible to test for their driver’s license, you need to start getting quotes. Find out how much it will cost to add them as a driver.

Any teen or resident household member in the home who has a driver’s license and doesn’t have insurance with any other carrier must be listed.

What type of discounts are available?

Always look for discounts when you’re adding a new driver to the policy. When it’s a young driver, some discounts you can receive include:

  • Good Student
  • Low Mileage
  • Student Away
  • Driver Training

Your auto insurance rates can skyrocket. The average policy goes up by 79 percent after a teen driver is added.

Compare rates by getting online quotes instantly and see if you can afford to have a teen driver in your home.

Start comparison shopping today by using our FREE online quote tool! Enter your zip code below to get started!

Things to remember...
  • In order to buy auto insurance in your name at any age, you need to be the registered owner of the car
  • Some states allow dependent and independent drivers to own a car in their own name at 16 or 17
  • As long as you own your own car in your name and you’re licensed to drive your vehicle, you can buy your own insurance
  • If you buy insurance in your name at the age of 17, you’ll pay high-risk insurance rates because of your inexperience
  • If you live with your parents or with someone else who owns a car, combining your insurance may be cheaper

Teens frequently drive their parents’ cars until they are old enough to leave the home or buy a car of their own.

Unfortunately, when you use your parent’s car or they buy a car that’s designated for your use, it’s still technically not your own vehicle. Until you have a vehicle registered and insured in your name, you are not a vehicle owner.

If you’re 17 years old and you’re planning on buying your own car with your own money, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to buy insurance in your own name.

Whether or not you can get insurance depends on several factors, included the state and the carrier.

Compare quotes for car insurance today by entering your zip code in the free tool above.

Before you shop for insurance on your own, here’s a guide to help you:

You Must Own a Vehicle to Buy Standard Auto Insurance


There are a few basic rules that all insurance companies follow when they are selling insurance to any driver in any marketplace:

An auto policy isn’t like a bank account or another type of financial product because it’s an indemnity contract. One of the conditions of entering into the indemnity contract is that you have to have what’s called in the industry an insurable interest in the property.

As long as you possess this insurable interest, you’re eligible to buy coverage on the car.

Insurable interest means that you own the vehicle or that the vehicle is financed or leased in your name.

Having an insurable interest is a must because the contract can’t protect someone from financial loss if they have nothing to lose when a car is involved in an accident.

It would be pointless to buy the product because there would never be a purpose to file a claim.

You Need to Know the State Law Before You Try to Buy Your Own Car

At the age of 17, everything can be complicated when it comes to property ownership laws. In most states, you have to be at least 18 before you can register any motor vehicle in your name as the legal owner.

There are states that do allow some teens who are 16 or 17 to own property. If you live in these states, it’s legal to own a car in your name as a minor.

If you’ve saved for years and years, you can afford to buy an older money outright without having to finance it. Unfortunately, a lot of teens want to finance a new car because they don’t have thousands of dollars on hand.

When this happens, you can get an auto loan, but you’ll have to have a parent as a co-signer because you won’t have any credit history.

When you finance a car, it’s important to put at least 20 percent of the purchase price down. Look at the terms closely and be sure that you can afford to make your payments as agreed upon with your adult cosigner.

Since the loan is in both names, it’s likely that your registration will be in both your name and your co-signer’s name as well.

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What happens if you’re emancipated and you’re no longer a dependent?

As a 17-year-old minor, you can’t legally enter a contract to buy a car without your parent or guardian signing off on the transaction. If an adult doesn’t witness it and sign off, the transaction isn’t legally binding.

Everything changes when you’re a minor who is emancipated.

When you’re emancipated, it basically means that you’re legally separating yourself from your parents so that you don’t have to be in their custody.

It also means that you will gain the right to start handling your own affairs.

You can do any of the following:

  • Live on your own
  • Keep your own paychecks
  • Stay out past curfew
  • Sue someone in your name
  • Own property in your name

At 17, getting emancipated might sound like the best option if you have a strained relationship with your parents.

What you might not know is that you can no longer get support from your parents and you can be held liable for injuries that you cause to owners as soon as you’re emancipated.

Since you’re liable for these types of damages, you can also buy a car in your name and then buy insurance in your own name.

If you’re emancipated, can you automatically get your license?


Being emancipated does grant you the right to enter into contracts or buy property, but it doesn’t grant you the right to automatically get your driver’s license.

Just like other teens who don’t have driving experience, you have to satisfy all of the requirements before you’re issued an unrestricted driver’s license.

If you’re only 15 or 16, you may have to complete driver’s training classes before you can even get qualified to sit for your practical or written licensing exam. If you’re 17, you may be old enough to skip the driver’s ed requirements in some states.

You’ll have to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state to see what you need to do.

Where can you buy insurance if you own a car and you have your license?

Every insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines. While these guidelines can’t be discriminatory in nature, they can make people ineligible for coverage if they don’t fit into a certain demographic of customer.

Your job as a 17-year-old who needs their own coverage is to shop around to find the right carrier with lenient criteria.

The best place to look for coverage when you’re 17 and you meet the basic contract requirements is to call a substandard insurer. These insurers have more lenient rules and insure high-risk drivers who are statistically more likely to have an accident and file a claim.

Usually, the high-risk insurers will take on younger drivers with acceptable records.

How much will you pay to get your own car insurance at 17?

Buying car insurance when you’re in your teens will cost you a pretty penny. In fact, teens who are 16 and 17 pay the highest rates because of the accident statistics is the age group.

A male who is 17 will always pay more than his female counterpart with the same record and rating factors. It’s estimated that a safe driver who’s 17 will pay between $350 and $500 per month for coverage.

If you still live with your parents or you’re away at school as a dependent student, it’s a good idea to stay on your parent’s policy for as long as it’s an option. When you add yourself and your car as a driver, you’ll pay a discounted premium.

Here are a few reasons why the premiums are lower:

  • Your parents will have an established relationship with the carrier and will receive loyalty discounts off of your premiums
  • You can assign yourself as a driver to the cheapest vehicle on the policy
  • You will get a multi-car discount
  • You will get a multi-policy discount
  • You will receive premiums for your parents’ credit ranking and not your own

How to Keep Your Own Premiums Low

If combining your insurance with your parents or an older sibling isn’t an option, there are a few ways to keep your premiums low on your own. Here are some tips:

  • Choose higher deductibles
  • Take driver training to get a discount
  • Get good grade discount if you’re still a student
  • Try to keep your mileage down for a lower rating

The best way to get the most affordable premium on your own is to shop around. You should get instant quotes online to compare rates. After doing your comparison, you can branch out and buy your insurance.

Compare rates right now by entering your zip code in our free rate tool below.

Things to remember...
  • Teens who have their learner’s permit are usually covered under your policy automatically until licensed
  • If a teenage driver or adult child lives in the home, they need to be listed as a driver on the policy
  • When a licensed driver lives in the home and isn’t rated as a driver on the policy, claims can be denied
  • Students in college who are studying away from their home still need to be on the policy but may get discounts
  • If parents fill out driver exclusion forms to save money, no covered will be afforded when the excluded driver drives

Your parents spend most of their adult lives caring for you regardless of how old you are.

When you’re small, parents are there to pick you up when you fall. When you’re older, your parents might be out of sight but they’re still there to help you from afar.

No matter how independent you want to be, there are still things that you depend on your parents for.

One thing that you may currently depend on your parents for is insurance coverage.

Since coverage tends to be very expensive for young drivers, many people turn to their parents right when they’re licensed so they don’t drive without insurance.

Make sure you’re properly covered for car insurance. Compare rates from top companies today and get the best price by using our free tool above.

Before you assume that your parents’ car insurance will cover you, here’s what all young adult drivers should know:

Teens With Their Provisional License May Be Covered


Most of the time, when someone lives in your household they need to be listed as a driver. The rules vary by company, but almost all contracts say resident relatives and other household members need to be disclosed for coverage.

The rules differ for teens because of their licensing status.

The rule that applies to a teen in your home depends on whether or not they have their license. If your teen lives with you and has only their provisional permit, they may not need to be named as a driver quite yet.

Having a permit isn’t the same thing as having a license. Since the teen is only learning to drive, they should be covered automatically.

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Why do insurance companies cover teens with their permits?

There are a few reasons why teens with their permits are covered without being listed.

  1. The first reason is because the teen’s parents have assets that they need to protect. Since the teen is a dependent, the parents will be sued if anything were to happen while the teen was gaining their practical skills.
  2. Another major reason why teens with their provisional license are covered is because they can’t get insurance anywhere else. They don’t meet the requirements to get their own coverage because most companies require applicants to have a license.

Since they have to drive under the supervision of a parent, it only makes sense for the company to help the parent out by offering temporary protection.

  • Every state has different requirements surrounding how car insurance carriers have to handle teen drivers with their permit. Some states require carriers to give the parents coverage for teens with a permit as long as they are the named insureds.

Other carriers allow companies to charge a small fee for the extra protection. Always ask before assuming.

How are you covered if you have a license?

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If you have passed the permit stage, you live in the home, and you have a license you’ll need to be listed on the policy for coverage. This is because all licensed drivers fit the household member and resident relative requirement.

Since each of these types of drivers needs to be listed, failing to name anyone in the home can be dangerous.

If you’re an adult and you own your own car, you might not need to be listed as a driver on the policy but you still need to be disclosed. As a resident in the home, it’s important for the carrier to know you’re there.

It doesn’t mean that you’ll affect the rates since you’re already being charged rates with another company.

Your parents just need to tell the company that you have a car and insurance. Their agent may ask for a copy of your insurance as proof that you have coverage. As long as you can provide this you’ll be named as a deferred operator so that you don’t affect the rates.

You’ll still have coverage under your policy and your parents’ policy too if you have a loss in their car.

If you are attending school, do you need to be on your parents’ policy?

If you are away at college, you still need to stay on your parents’ insurance. If you’re deleted from the policy, you have no protection when you borrow a friends car or you decide to be the designated driver at a party.

This is why you can stay on the policy even when you’re away at school without a car.

If you’re worried about how much it will cost to keep you on the policy, you shouldn’t. Since you’re away at college, you can be classified as a Student Away At School and receive a discount. Most companies require you to be at least 100 miles away.

You’ll still be covered to borrow, rent, and drive your parents’ cars when visiting home.

What happens when a licensed driver in the home isn’t listed?


If you purposefully forget to list or disclose a driver in the home, it’s within the insurer’s rights to deny a claim when it’s presented.

That doesn’t always mean that the company will, but if there’s any evidence that a policyholder chose not to list a teen to save money this is probably the action that they will take.

If a policyholder just forgets to disclose a driver and then there’s an accident, the company might pay the claim if the customer agrees to either add the driver or exclude them in the future.

If they are excluded, they won’t be covered for any claims after the exclusion form is signed.

If you’re not covered under your parents’ policy, buy insurance before you drive. When you’re not a dependent any longer, accidents can affect your own financial future. You don’t want a loss to affect your life for years.

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Things to remember...
  • Adding a teen driver to your policy can lead to a drastic increase in rates
  • Insurance companies may refuse to cover claims if they were not aware of a driver
  • It is possible to bring rates down by asking for good student discounts and changing coverage levels

It’s an exciting time when kids start driving, but it can also be very expensive. However, simply being prepared for the changes can help you take a little control over the rise in costs.

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Keep the Insurance Company Informed


Insurance companies like to be informed about potential changes to your risk level. If you fail to inform your insurance company of a new teen driver, you could wind up facing serious problems down the road.

If the company decides to view your omission as misrepresentation, then they could:

  • Refuse to cover an accident
  • Charge you back premiums going back to the date the license was issued
  • Forgive the oversight and cover the accident

Expect a Substantial Increase in Rates

You can expect a substantial increase in your auto insurance rates when you add the teen driver to your policy.

The fact is that car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. Reports show that the average increase for a teen driver is 79 percent.

Girls tend to see a more moderate increase in rates, and location makes a big difference in how far the premiums will go.

New Hampshire has the largest rate jumps for teen drivers with an average of 111 percent, and Hawaii has the most modest increase at just 17 percent.

One way to keep your premiums down is by raising the deductible for your teen driver on an assigned car. However, be sure to keep your liability limits high or even raise them in order to protect yourself from accident-related lawsuits.

Your Own Policy is Still the Best Bet


You’ll find that it’s cheaper to put your child on your own policy than it is to go with a free-standing policy. You’ll then be able to take advantage of multi-vehicle discounts, and your son or daughter can benefit from your own good driving record.

One way to save is by assigning the least valuable car to your child and let the company know that he or she will not be driving the more expensive ones.

If you take this step, be aware that the insurance company may not cover an accident caused by your child if she drives one of the cars she’s not insured for.

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Learner’s Permit Requirements

In general, teens who are still on a learner’s permit and will only be driving under the supervision of a licensed adult do not need to be listed on a policy.

However, you may want to call your insurance company to confirm this information and be sure that your child will be covered in the event of an accident.

If you’re going to face high rates for simply having a new driver on a temporary permit, then you can shop around for a more understanding company.

Ways to Save on the Rates

The good news is that there are some ways to save on the rate increase associated with a teen driver.

In addition to shopping around for more attractive plans with affordable premiums, you can also:

  • Ask about good student discounts
  • Enroll your child in a certified driver education school
  • Delay the driving age from 16 to 17

Another benefit of delaying the age when your child starts driving is that 17-year-olds are 42 percent less likely to be involved in an accident.

Check the Coverages


One way to keep the rates down for your teen driver is by revising the coverage or deductible. If your child is in an older car that’s worth less than $2,000, then it’s really not necessary to pay extra money for collision and comprehensive coverage.

This is a great option on cars that are owned outright, but you’ll want to set aside some money in a savings account so that you can cover damage yourself if there is an accident.

Before you blindly accept the change in premiums, shop around with other companies to see if they can provide you with better rates. Your child may qualify for discounts based on grades and driving classes.

You can also bring the cost down by eliminating comprehensive plans and raising deductibles.

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Things to remember...

Buying car insurance for someone under the age of 25 is just like buying insurance for someone who has more driving experience.

The only real difference is that younger drivers may have to spend more time shopping around to find companies with competitive pricing in the high-risk marketplace. Luckily, there are respected companies that welcome young drivers by charging them fair rates.

For first-time car insurance consumers, it’s important to understand how rates are calculated and why your age can have such a dramatic effect on what you pay for the same amount of coverage.

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Not only do you need to understand how rating factors work, it’s also important to learn how to save money on your insurance. Here’s a consumer guide to help:

Why does age have such a drastic effect on your car insurance rates?


It might feel like a discriminatory practice, but most states allow insurers to use an applicant’s age to determine how much the driver needs to pay for coverage.

In the states where using age is prohibited, insurers get around the rule by considering how many years the driver has been licensed to place the applicant into a risk class.

If you have a clean driving record, it’s only natural to be upset when you learn that you’re still classified as a high-risk driver just because of your age.

If you’re a male driver under the age of 19, you’re probably in the riskiest and most expensive group just because of accident statistics.

How does your age affect risk?

While your rates are personalized, insurance companies look at group-based statistics to predict claims.

Since studies show that teens and young adults have more serious accidents that lead to injury or damage, the insurance company much charge drivers in this demographic more.

As time passes, inexperienced drivers will see their rates go down as long as they are safe.

What other factors will be used to calculate your rates?

Not only do companies consider your age and your driving experience, they will consider dozens of other factors that are all used to indicate how likely you are to have a loss.

The carrier has a base rate which will fluctuate as each factor is considered.

Some of the risk factors that are used to personalize rates include:

  • Driving record within the last three to five years
  • Accident history within the last three years
  • Vehicle type, size, safety rating, and vehicle safety features
  • Credit rating (only considered in some states)
  • Annual mileage in each vehicle
  • Driver assignments
  • How a vehicle is driven on a regular basis (commute, business, or pleasure)
  • Occupation
  • Insurance history

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How much more will you pay for auto insurance when you’re young?


Premiums vary by carrier and by state. In each and every state, carriers that have a business license to sell auto insurance have to file their rates for approval.

This process was put in place to ensure that consumers aren’t overcharged. If the base rate is justified in each rating group, the company will be approved.

If a driver under 20 is added to an existing policy, it will lead to an average premium increase of 80 percent.

Increases for drivers 20 to 25 are typically around 40 to 50 percent. Is a young driver is going to buy their own insurance, their premiums depend on all of the rating factors.

Drivers who are buying their own insurance under 19 pay exorbitant rates with most carriers.

When do your rates start to drop?

Your rates won’t stay high forever. The key to getting a break in your premiums is to keep a clean driving record.

As long as you don’t get into accidents or get cited for moving violations, you should see a steady drop in your rates each year.

One of the more dramatic drops will be when you have three years of clean driving experience because you’ll receive a Good Driver Discount.

After three years, the next drop is when you have five years of experience.

Gradually, after five years your rates will continue to get lower until you get nine years of safe driving experience with continuous auto insurance.

Is it better to stay on your parents’ insurance policy?

If you live at home with your parents or they are on your registration, it’s in your best interest to combine your insurance for lower rates.

Being on a policy with your parents will qualify you for discounts like multi-car and multi-line, which all have a big impact on rates.

Why is it so important to shop around for coverage when you’re under 25?


Insurance companies like to target niche markets. Some target people with serious moving violations and others target young drivers under 25. Shopping around will help you seek out the companies that have fair pricing in your niche.

Comparing insurance premiums can take a lot of time when you’re 25 or younger. If you want to use your time wisely, enter all of your personal information into a rate comparison tool online.

After entering your home zip code, you’ll be able to look over instant local insurance quotes.

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