Car insurance for new drivers is more expensive than insurance for experienced drivers because new drivers are unproven and pose a higher risk to insurers as a result. The best car insurance for new drivers is usually whatever insurance policy a parent or guardian already has, since that tends to be the cheapest option.
Finding a good car insurance policy for a new driver is only the beginning, though. As a new driver, you also have a lot of learning to do in order to understand the basics of how car insurance works. This guide will help you get up to speed quickly.
Key Things to Know About Car Insurance for New Drivers
- Age is one of the most important factors that affect car insurance rates.
- Each state has different minimum requirements for coverage.
- Comparing quotes from several companies can help you get the best rates.
- Car insurance rates tend to drop after age 25, but new drivers of any age may see higher-than-average rates until they have a few years of experience.
- New drivers of any age can qualify for discounts that can save them up to 35% on their premiums.
- When purchasing insurance for the first time, be sure to shop around and buy as much coverage as you can comfortably afford.
Who Is Considered a New Driver?
A new driver is any driver who does not have a driving history and is considered high risk because of their lack of experience. While “new driver” often refers to teens, you can be a new driver at any age. In fact, most car insurance companies won’t classify you as a good or safe driver until you have 3-5 years of accident-free and violation-free driving under your belt.
Examples of new drivers:
- Teenagers who recently got their driver’s license
- Adults who started driving later in life
- Adults who have a long gap in their insurance or driving history
- Immigrants who are new to the U.S.
Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates
Teens and inexperienced drivers tend to pay the most for car insurance, but there are several other factors that insurance companies take into account when calculating rates, including:
- State requirements
- Car make and model
- Credit history
- Zip code
- Past moving violations
Learn more about the top 10 factors that affect car insurance rates.
Car Insurance Basics for New Drivers
For new drivers, car insurance may seem a bit confusing – there are so many new terms and concepts to learn, and it can be difficult to wrap your head around it all. Fortunately, once you know the basics, getting and using car insurance can be really simple.
Each state has its own minimum requirements for coverage.
Liability insurance is required in almost every state, while personal injury protection (PIP), MedPay, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance are also commonly required by state law.
PIP and MedPay are helpful even if your state does not require them.
PIP and MedPay are important types of coverage to consider since they’ll pay for the policyholder’s medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident.
New drivers should consider optional coverage, like collision and comprehensive insurance.
Collision insurance will protect new drivers from having to pay for their vehicle repairs out of pocket if they cause an accident. Comprehensive insurance is relatively inexpensive and is a useful coverage to protect against things like theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.
Other types of optional coverage to consider are:
- Gap insurance for leased or financed vehicles
- Mechanical breakdown insurance if your car is less than reliable
- Emergency roadside assistance to make sure you’re never left stranded with a flat tire or a dead battery
You may need to pay a deductible if you file a claim.
A deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay in the event of a claim before your insurance company will cover the rest. The most common deductible amount is $500, though deductibles can range from $100 to over $2,000. Some types of coverage, like collision and comprehensive, almost always have deductibles. Others, such as liability insurance, never require them.
A car insurance claim can be filed after any sort of incident that your insurance covers, such as a car accident, vandalism, or even if your vehicle is damaged by inclement weather. If you’re at fault, you can easily file a claim by contacting your insurer and explaining the details of the incident. If another driver is at fault, though, you’ll file a claim through their insurance company.
Remember to carry proof of insurance with you while driving.
Proof of insurance is a car insurance document that shows your name, vehicle information, policy number, and address. In most states, you can use a digital version, either through your insurer’s app or website, but you’ll also be mailed physical insurance ID cards.
You’ll need to have your proof of insurance on hand any time you are pulled over or involved in an accident. Proof of insurance also makes it easy to trade insurance information with another driver if an accident occurs.
How to Get Cheap Car Insurance as a New Driver
1. Compare Quotes
The best way to make sure you’re getting a good deal is by comparing quotes from several companies every time you go to renew your policy. Although car insurance for new drivers can be really expensive, comparing quotes with different levels of coverage and different deductibles can help you find the best plan for your budget.
2. Choose the Right Car
Some cars are cheaper to insure than others. For example, vehicles with great safety ratings tend to have cheaper insurance since they’re less likely to lead to expensive claims. Brand new vehicles, luxury vehicles, and cars that are statistically more likely to be stolen can all drive already expensive insurance rates much higher.
3. Drive Safely
In the long run, the best way to get cheaper rates for new drivers is simply being a safe driver and building safe driving habits. New drivers can even take defensive driving courses to help them become better drivers (and maybe get a discount in the process). No matter how extensive your driving history is, a serious moving violation will cause your insurance rates to skyrocket.
4. Always Check for Discounts
Discounts can save drivers as much as 35% on their premiums. Most insurers offer discounts for safety features, anti-theft devices, being a new customer, having a low annual mileage, and more. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see what discounts may be available to you.
5. Pick Your Payment Schedule
Car insurance policies are usually sold in six-month or one-year terms. For new drivers especially, paying a car insurance policy month to month may seem appealing, as spending thousands of dollars up front for a six-month policy can be very intimidating. However, many insurers offer discounts for paying a policy in full up front.
Best Car Insurance Companies for New Drivers by Age
|Companies||Under 21||Under 25||Over 25|
Premiums are annual costs for safe drivers in California. Actual quotes may vary.
The best car insurance companies for new drivers offer competitive rates and a variety of discounts that help keep new-driver premiums affordable. Travelers, Grange, and Mercury are among the best car insurance companies for new drivers overall, according to WalletHub’s analysis. The best choice does vary by age, however.
Best Car Insurance for New Drivers Under 21
The best car insurance for new drivers under 21 years old is from Travelers because the company offers affordable rates and great discounts. For example, Travelers offers discounts for being a good student, having a safe vehicle, taking a defensive driving course, and for just paying your premiums on time.
Best Car Insurance for New Drivers Under 25
The best car insurance for new drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 is from AAA because AAA has great prices and offers numerous discounts to help make rates even cheaper: defensive-driving discounts, good-student discounts, vehicle-safety discounts, and more.
It should be noted that AAA insurance is specifically for AAA members, but the roadside assistance that comes with a AAA membership can definitely come in handy for new drivers who want more peace of mind when on the road.
Best Car Insurance for New Drivers Over 25
The best car insurance for new drivers over 25 years old is from Geico because Geico has great discounts for drivers of any age and experience level, including defensive-driving-course discounts, vehicle-safety-feature discounts, and discounts for not having any lapses in coverage.
New drivers over 25 years old may still experience higher-than-normal rates because of their lack of experience. However, premiums for new drivers over the age of 25 are unlikely to be as expensive as insurance for teens, since older adults tend to be more aware and less impulsive when driving.