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How Much is Insurance for a New Driver?

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency...

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2020

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New Driver Car Insurance Summary Data
New Driver Insurance DetailsFrom the Experts
USAA and Geico typically offer the most affordable rates for new driversQuadrant Information Services
New drivers can pay up to 300% more for coverage than more experienced driversQuadrant Information Services
The leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. is motor vehicle crashesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
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If you’re new to this country or have a newly licensed teen, you may be wondering how much auto insurance is going to set you back. The cost of car insurance for a new driver can vary widely depending on several individual factors and the type of vehicle to be insured.

So how much is car insurance for a new driver? A quick review of how car insurance rates are determined may help you understand the basics of how your car insurance premium is calculated. But whether you’re a new or old driver, the same factors are taken into account when an insurer decides how much you should pay for coverage. In this article, we will explore and explain those factors and prepare you as best as possible to seek out the best insurance rates.

Enter your ZIP code in our comparison tool to get great new driver auto insurance rates.

New Driver Insurance Cost

Generally speaking, if you are new to auto insurance, you can expect to pay more for coverage than someone who has had consistent, uninterrupted auto insurance coverage. There are even discounts for drivers who have been consistently insured.

Car insurance premiums are based on the person (or persons) driving the car and the car itself. New drivers are usually more of a risk for an insurer because they have no previous driving history to judge you on. Insurers look at your driving history, specifically your motor vehicle record and C.L.U.E. report, to determine your rate.

You are automatically considered a higher risk if you don’t have a driving history for the insurer to review. It’s kind of like getting a mortgage with no credit; your rate will be higher, if you’re approved at all.

Additionally, there is often a surcharge for people with an “unverifiable driving history.”  It can vary widely, but may be in the 10-20 percent range. All other things being equal, you’ll likely pay more as a new driver. Just how much is insurance on a car for a new driver? Keep reading to learn more.

What is the cheapest car insurance for a new driver?

When looking for the cheapest car insurance for a new driver, you’ll need to shop around and find the best new driver car insurance company for your needs. As we’ll discuss later, there are a number of factors that can affect your rates, and how much those factors affect your rates varies from company to company. To give you a baseline, we’ve collected rate data for new drivers at age 17 compared to more experienced drivers at ages 25 and 35. Take a look.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Age
Insurance CompaniesAverage Annual Rates for a Single 17-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates for a Single 17-Year-Old MaleAverage Annual Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old MaleAverage Annual Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old Male
State Farm$5,953.88$7,324.34$2,335.96$2,554.56$2,081.72$2,081.72
American Family$5,996.50$8,130.50$2,288.65$2,694.72$2,202.70$2,224.31
Liberty Mutual$11,621.01$13,718.69$3,959.67$4,503.13$3,802.77$3,856.84
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If you’re looking for cheap car insurance for new drivers under 21, your best bet may be Geico or USAA car insurance, based on the data in the table. Car insurance for new drivers over 21 will vary, but the same rate information suggests both USAA and Geico are good options. This also holds true when looking for the best car insurance for new drivers under 25.

If you’re looking for the best car insurance for new drivers over 25, you may want to consider USAA, American Family, or Geico, based on available rate data. However, keep in mind that this data is not specifically focused on new drivers but, as we already noted, includes rates for more experienced drivers.

How do I find the best insurance for a new driver?

What is the best insurance for a new driver? It’s a little more complicated than just looking at rates, which we did above. There are a lot of factors that affect coverage and rates for you specifically, which we’ll discuss later, but there are some actions you can take to save when looking for insurance as a new driver.

Shop Around

As a new driver, it’s in your best interest to shop around extensively. There are certainly companies out there that have more of a risk appetite for new drivers. Be sure to gather insurance quotes online and contact a few local independent insurance agents to shop your rates. You can start getting quotes right here.

You may also want to stay away from insurance companies that spend hundreds of millions of dollars advertising their products on TV. Ultimately, your premium dollars are spent on attracting new clients rather than providing less expensive coverage to existing clients.

Look for discounts

You can also look for discounts you can take advantage of as a new driver. These can include:

New Driver Discounts Offered by Insurance Companies
Insurance CompaniesDistant StudentDriver's EdFurther EducationGood CreditGood StudentNew GraduateNewly LicensedStudents &ampYoung Driver
21st CenturyxxAlumnix
American Familyxxx
Country Financialxxxx
Liberty Mutualxxxxxxx
Safe Autoxx
State Farmxxxx
The Generalxx
The Hanoverxxxx
The Hartfordxxx
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Speak to a licensed insurance agent to find out which discounts are available (what we’ve included in the table is not a complete list, not every discount is available in every state, etc.) and what you qualify for.

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Factors that Affect First Time Driver Insurance Cost

Now let’s look at the factors that make up the rate you can expect to pay as a new driver. The possible combination of these factors is almost infinite, so we can’t give you an exact number, but we can tell you what insurers will be looking at.

Why are you considered a new driver?

Why are you new? If you’re newly licensed as a teenager, especially a male, you can expect to pay quite a bit for a new policy. Teen drivers are notoriously expensive to insure, and males are statistically shown to be riskier drivers.

Recall the table we looked at earlier that showed rate data for 17-year-old drivers compared to drivers at ages 25 and 35. The average rate for 17-year-old males is an average of 196 percent higher than a more experienced 25-year-old male driver, and rates for a 17-year-old female are about 103 percent higher than for 25-year-old female drivers.  

The cost to insure a first time driver who is at least 25 years old is much less expensive, as a 25-year-old is considered to be a less risky driver than a teenager with the same level of experience. However, it will still be more than what it would cost if you had previous coverage history.

What kind of coverage do you plan to purchase?

What coverage do you want and need? Are you shopping for liability only auto insurance, or full coverage including comprehensive and collision? Watch this video to learn a bit more about these different coverage types.

As expected, the more coverage you ask for, the more expensive the policy. Take a look at this table to see average rates for various types of coverage, as provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
StatesAverage Annual Liability Insurance RatesAverage Annual Collision Insurance RatesAverage Annual Comprehensive Insurance RatesAverage Annual Full Coverage Insurance Rates
North Dakota$282.55$269.84$121.61$788.56
South Dakota$289.04$282.96$116.53$1,257.13
North Carolina$357.59$244.09$231.04$773.30
New Hampshire$393.24$381.86$131.35$1,382.79
New Mexico$462.21$385.02$171.12$1,360.66
South Carolina$497.50$208.58$258.11$766.91
West Virginia$501.44$329.67$204.28$1,025.78
District of Columbia$628.09$468.67$233.24$1,330.73
Rhode Island$720.06$265.07$180.94$973.10
New York$784.98$293.59$136.08$789.09
New Jersey$865.55$276.98$172.57$937.59
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The more coverage you have, the higher your insurance rates will be.

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What kind of vehicle do you drive?

What type of car are you insuring? The cost to insure a 1990 Honda Civic will cost substantially less than coverage for a 2012 Ford Mustang GT convertible. We have a few examples of how what you drive can affect your rates in this table.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Vehicle Type
Insurance Companies2015 Ford F-150: Lariat SuperCab with 2WD 6.5 foot bed and 2.7L V62015 Honda Civic Sedan: LX with 2.0L 4cyl and CVT2015 Toyota RAV4: XLE2018 Ford F-150: Lariat SuperCab with 2WD 6.5 foot bed and 2.7L V62018 Honda Civic Sedan: LX with 2.0L 4cyl and CVT2018 Toyota RAV4: XLE
State Farm$3,204.23$3,024.24$3,226.02$3,497.17$3,189.99$3,418.33
American Family$3,447.30$3,178.82$3,326.18$3,487.91$3,721.32$3,496.99
Liberty Mutual$5,830.16$5,869.32$5,825.33$5,988.85$6,682.63$6,244.44
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The newer and more expensive your vehicle, the more your insurance may cost. 

If you’re looking to lower your rates, you do not legally need to purchase full coverage unless you have a loan or lease on your new ride. Physical damage coverage is not mandatory by law, but your lender or leasing agency will certainly require this coverage. Remember, you don’t technically own the car until it’s paid off.

What’s your credit score?

How is your credit? Nowadays, most insurers rely on your insurance score to determine how much to charge you for insurance. If you’re a new driver with a perfect credit history your rate can be as much as 35 percent less than a new driver with a less-than-perfect credit history.

For example, an 800 credit score “new driver” will likely pay less than a 500 credit score seasoned driver with a speeding ticket, but not if the 800 credit score driver is a 19-year-old male (though it should be noted that in states like California and others, gender-based rates adjustments are prohibited).

Regardless, the better your credit score is, the better off you’ll be. According to Experian, the average American has a credit score of 703, which is good news for your insurance rates. Take a look at this table to see average rates based on good, fair, and poor credit scores as a baseline (these rates include new and experienced drivers).

Average Annual Insurance Car Rates Based on Credit Score
Insurance CompaniesAverage Insurance Rates with Good CreditAverage Insurance Rates with FairAverage Insurance Drivers with Poor Credit
State Farm$2,174.26$2,853.00$4,951.20
American Family$2,691.74$3,169.53$4,467.98
Grand Total$3,104.15$3,649.15$5,170.97
Liberty Mutual$4,388.18$5,604.24$8,802.22
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Be sure to stay on top of your credit. It’s one of the few things you can control, even if you’ve never driven a car in your life.

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The Bottom Line for the Cost of New Driver Insurance

New drivers pay more for coverage because they have less experience and driving history than more seasoned drivers. The less driving history you have, the higher your rates will be. Additionally, the younger you are, the more you’ll likely pay.

Frequently Asked Questions: Cost of Car Insurance for a New Driver

Still have questions about how the cost of auto insurance for new drivers? Read through these frequently asked questions to learn more.

What is the best auto insurance for teenage drivers?

As you saw in the rate data earlier we looked at earlier, USAA and Geico offer the most affordable auto insurance rates for teenage drivers. Regardless of who you purchase insurance from, car insurance for high school students (and teenagers as a whole) will likely be high, due to age, but shopping around and available discounts may help offset the cost. Speak to your insurance agent to learn more.

How can I save money as a new driver?

The number one way to save money on your rates is by shopping around and comparing rates. As we’ve already discussed, you should also look for discounts, make sure you drive safely and follow all posted traffic laws, manage your credit, drive an affordable vehicle, etc.

Ready to buy new driver car insurance? Use your ZIP code to get free new driver auto insurance quotes so you can start your new driver car insurance comparison today.



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