Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds: How Much Will It Cost?
Teenagers are eligible to drive in most states by the age of 17.
But, car insurance for 17-year-olds can be prohibitively expensive, particularly if the teen has a policy all her own.
The reality is:
There’s a long list of reasons why car insurance for 17-year-olds is so costly.
Still, there are also plenty of strategies to help minimize the cost to insure young drivers, at least until they get older (when rates drop significantly).
Average Cost of Car Insurance for 17-Year Olds
The national averages are as follows:
- Males: $5,836 (representing a decline of more than $1,600 from the $7,483 average for 16-year-old male drivers)
- Females: $5,490 (representing a decline of over $1,000 from the $6,562 average for 16-year-old female drivers)
- Average premium for both males and females: $5,925
The gap between the premiums paid by 17-year-old males and 17-year-old females is $346 in favor of females.
Above is the average cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds, both male and female, and the average for both. The quotes reflect “full coverage” of $100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries in one accident, and $100,000 for property damage (this is commonly referred to as 100/300/100 coverage).
The good news:
The cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds is at least a little bit better than it is for 16-year-olds. But, that’s a small consolation because the reduction isn’t that great.
How much you’ll pay for car insurance for any driver depends on the following factors:
- The driver’s gender
- Your state of residence
- Your specific ZIP Code (rates can vary dramatically within the same state)
- Type, age and style of vehicle you drive, as well as any safety equipment it has
- The amount of coverage you need, including collision and comprehensive coverage
- The insurance company you obtain coverage from
- Any discounts you may qualify for
- Driving history
Each of the above factors can have a material effect on the amount a 17-year-old will pay for car insurance. That premium may be either higher or lower than nationwide averages.
Let’s look at each of the driver profile factors, and how they impact the cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds.
Whether you’re a male or female, car insurance premiums for 17-year-olds are high.
But females get a bit of a break.
This owes to the fact that industrywide, 17-year-old boys have a higher incidence of high-risk driving.
Most Expensive Car Insurance Rates for 17-Year-Old Males
|State||Teen policy||Parents' policy with teen added|
Most Expensive Car Insurance Rates for 17-Year-Old Females
|State||Teen policy||Parents' policy with teen added|
Factors Affecting Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds
The insurance premiums listed above are national averages for full car insurance coverage.
But there are variables within those averages that can result in car insurance premiums that are either higher or lower.
State of residence
Though the average premiums for 17-year-olds – both male and female – may seem high, there are very large variances from one state to another.
For example, the average premium for full coverage for a 17-year-old female is $1,424 in Hawaii at $10,580 in Michigan.
The situation is similar for 17-year-old males. Premiums range from a low of $1,424 in Hawaii, to a high of $10,921 in Louisiana.
Much of that has to do with variations in laws between states. But you should also be aware that even within the same state there can be large differences in the premiums paid from one ZIP Code to another.
Type of vehicles covered
This is a major factor in determining car insurance premiums.
If a 17-year-old will be driving a truck, a sports car, or a luxury vehicle, the premium will be much higher than for a basic sedan.
An older vehicle may be less expensive as well, because collision and comprehensive coverage may not be necessary.
There’s typically no need for those additional coverages if the value of the vehicle is no more than a few thousand dollars.
The safety equipment in a vehicle is also a factor.
If the vehicle includes anti-lock brakes, automatic seatbelts, side door airbags, and especially electronic stability control, the premium will be lower.
The premiums quoted so far are for full coverage – 100/300/100. But you can pay much lower premiums with reduced coverage amounts.
If, instead, you choose lower coverage limits, like 50/100/50, the premiums will be considerably lower.
But the biggest savings will come from going with minimum coverage. This varies from state to state but can be as low as 10/30/10.
For example, in New Jersey – where the premium for 17-year-old females comes closest to the national average – the premium for state-mandated minimum coverage falls to $2,424. That’s more than $3,000 below the cost of the premium for full coverage.
For a 17-year-old male in New Jersey, the premium for state-mandated minimum coverage is $2,574. That’s a savings of more than $3,200 per year, compared with the premium on full coverage.
The insurance company you obtain coverage from
There are also significant differences between insurance companies.
For example, the national average premium for full coverage with Concord is $1,902 per year. But at the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s $9,269 with Amica.
This isn’t to say that Concord will be the cheapest in every state.
Because of state laws, and each insurance company’s experience in a particular state, the lowest-cost provider will be different in each state.
All insurers offer discounts, and they can make a real difference in car insurance premiums.
As an example, Geico offers the following discounts:
- Air bags: 23%
- Anti-theft system: 23%
- New vehicle discount: 15%
- Good student: 15%
Ask for a complete list of discounts from any car insurance company you are considering to cover your 17-year-old, and take advantage of each that applies in your situation.
This is not a factor for 16-year-olds, since there is typically no driving history reference when you first become a licensed driver.
But it does become a factor after you’ve been driving for at least six months, and definitely after one year.
According to CarInsurance.com, a single at-fault accident with bodily injury can increase the premium by 32%. An at-fault accident with property damage over $2,000 can increase it by 31%. And two at-fault accidents with property damage over $2,000 will increase the premium by 110%.
Moving violations are another example of a driving event that will increase your premium.
You can expect them to increase by 22% to 32% after a single speeding ticket.
But exactly how much the increase will be will depend on your state of residence and how by many miles per hour you exceeded the speed limit.
Why Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds is Expensive
Even though a 17-year-old at least some driving experience when compared with 16-year-olds, the premiums are still exorbitant.
This has to do with the following factors:
- A short or non-existent driving history
- Little or no driving experience
- Under-developed driver instincts, the kind that keep more experienced drivers out of hazardous situations
- A greater likelihood of being distracted by events inside and outside the vehicle
- Greater likelihood of hazardous driving, based on the track record of the entire age group
Average cost of full-coverage for 17-year-olds based on insurer
|Insurer||Full coverage (100/300/100)|
|North Carolina Farm Bureau||$2,570|
|Texas Farm Bureau||$3,003|
|Mississippi Farm Bureau||$3,110|
|New Jersey Manufacturers||$3,617|
Partial (or Graduated) Licenses
Even though 17-year-olds can be licensed in virtually every state in the U.S., they’re typically subject to graduated driver licensing (GDL).
These requirements are different in each state.
They typically include restrictions on the number of passengers you can carry, as well as limited night driving.
Check the graduated driver licensing restrictions in your state to make sure your 17-year-old stays in compliance.
A single violation can lead to a suspension of driving privileges, as well as a hefty increase in your car insurance premium.
For example, in California, 17-year-olds are unable to drive between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM. They’re also prohibited from having passengers under the age of 20 unless there’s a licensed driver, 25 years or older in the vehicle.
In Texas, 17-year-olds are prohibited from driving between the hours of midnight and 5:00 AM, and may transport no more than one passenger under the age of 21.
Florida restricts 17-year-olds from driving between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM, but has no restriction on passengers transported.
How to Save on Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds
Car insurance for 17-year-olds can be reduced by all the same factors as they can with any other driver.
These include having only state-required minimum liability coverage, operating a less expensive vehicle, choosing the lowest-cost insurance company in your state, and taking advantage of as many discounts as possible.
And since a 17-year-old is likely to have already built a driving history, it’s important to avoid both moving violations and at-fault accidents.
A single episode with either can undo efforts to save from other directions.
Parent policies – the cost of adding a 17-year old driver to an existing policy
This strategy is the biggest potential source of savings, and the one chosen by most parents.
This is not only because the premium for 17-year-old drivers will be lower, but also because a 17-year-old is unable to legally purchase an independent insurance policy without a parent also signing on.
But by adding a 17-year-old driver to a parent’s policy, the savings are enormous.
Average savings by adding 17-year-old to parent's car insurance policy
|Gender||Teen stand-alone policy||Parent's policy with teen added||Average savings|
The big drop in the premium on the parent’s policy owes to the fact that the 17-year-old will get the benefit of the parent’s driving history.
But there are typically discounts for multiple drivers on the same policy, as well as multiple vehicles.
The 17-year-old will also get the benefit of higher liability coverage amounts, which will be cost-prohibitive on an individual policy.
There isn’t much of a decrease in car insurance for 17-year-olds when compared to 16-year-olds.
But with each year that passes, the premium level drops by a few hundred dollars. More affordable rates are finally available by age 25.
In the meantime, every effort should be made to keep the premiums to an absolute minimum.
The best way is usually to add the teen to his or her parents' policy.
But take advantage of every other strategy listed in this article to get the maximum premium reduction.