Even though you’re technically an adult now, you can stay on your parent or guardian’s car insurance policy

The cost of living has never been higher, and as someone just out of high school, you most likely don’t have the financial standing to pay for your own policy. And if your primary residence will continue to be with your family but you have your own vehicle, then staying on your parents’ policy can unlock multi-car discounts, which is a great reason right there to do it.

Before you make any decisions about how to set up your insurance coverage, do be sure to check quotes on Insurify so that you can lock in the best possible rate. It’s a wise precaution, even if you have a policy with the provider you love. Find a lower rate? You can always call up your insurance company and use that information to negotiate lower premiums. Or maybe you’ll find a new insurance company with even better customer service or perks for young drivers.

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How does age affect car insurance rates?

As a rule of thumb, the younger you are, the more expensive your car insurance will be. That’s because statistics show that young drivers are more likely to be in accidents—making them riskier for auto insurance companies. Naturally, the insurance companies respond by cranking up premiums to balance out this higher risk.

Teen drivers often have particularly high premiums because most have only been driving for a brief time, plus teenagers are believed to be more likely than older adults to break speed limits and otherwise drive dangerously. Since 18-year-olds are still considered teenagers, expect to see higher rates when you compare quotes.

How does gender affect car insurance rates?

In general, 18-year-old males will generally be charged slightly higher average car insurance rates than 18-year-old female drivers, because again, insurers consider them riskier. The good news is that several states (including California) have made it illegal for insurers to use gender as a factor in setting auto insurance premiums.

For older drivers, gender tends to have little impact on auto insurance costs.

How does location affect car insurance rates?

Where you live has a significant impact on how likely you are to suffer damage to your vehicle, whether from accident, vandalism, or some other cause. For that reason, your ZIP code is usually a big factor in determining your auto insurance rates. Insurance providers look at things like the crime rate near your home and whether it’s considered an urban, rural, or suburban area.

One way to help counteract any location issues is to keep your vehicle in a locked garage at night (and make sure your insurer knows this). This can make insurance companies feel a bit more secure about how safe your vehicle is and thereby get you a slightly better rate.

Best Car Insurance Companies for 18-Year-Olds

A number of insurers have discounts or other programs that make it a little cheaper for 18-year-olds to get policies. Comparing auto insurance quotes is the only way to know for sure which policy is the best price for you, but here are a few insurers with particularly good options for affordable car insurance for 18-year-old drivers.

  • GEICO has a number of discounts that may apply to young adult drivers, especially those who are still students. Good student discounts, good driver discounts, membership discounts for fraternity, sorority, and Honor Society members, and the like can make car insurance a lot more affordable.
  • Allstate’s teenSMART program is a driver safety program specifically designed for teenagers. Passing the course gets you a discount on your Allstate auto insurance policy. Allstate also has a smart student discount and offers a telematics program for teenagers and other drivers.
  • State Farm’s Steer Clear program is another training program specifically for young adult drivers. If you’re under 25, have a valid driver’s license, and have had a clean driving record for the last three years, you can qualify to take this course. If you pass, you’ll get a discount on State Farm auto insurance. Other available discounts for 18-year-old drivers include a good student discount, student away at school discount, driver training discount, and the Drive Safe and Save telematics program discount.
  • Metromile can be an excellent option if you drive fewer than 10,000 miles per year. This insurer specializes in low mileage drivers; you simply plug a small device into your vehicle dashboard that tracks your mileage, and your auto insurance rates will be based on how much you drive.

Cheapest Car Insurance Quotes for 18-Year-Olds

Check out the following companies, which are on the record for providing these relatively cheap quotes to teen drivers. No promises, but you could be seeing rates as low as these: 

Company NameQuote/mo
Farmers$71/mo
Aspire General$144/mo
Clearcover$197/mo
Motion Auto$210/mo
Freedom National$212/mo
Travelers$223/mo
Anchor$240/mo
MetLife$269/mo
Elephant$274/mo
First Chicago$275/mo

Car Insurance Tips for 18-Year-Olds

Follow these tried and true tips and tricks if you’re getting behind the wheel as a newly minted adult. 

Commuting/Driving

  • If your daily commute becomes longer, consider contacting your agent to increase your coverage limits. You could end up paying out of pocket if you’re found at-fault for an accident and didn’t adjust your policy for any extra driving you’ve been doing courtesy of a new job or distant school.
  • If you commute to school or work, consider building your class or work schedule for a few days a week, at consecutive times. That way you won’t have to travel to and from school or workplace more often throughout the week. You’ll keep your mileage low which will keep your premium low.

Living Situation:

  • If you’re leaving your car home to attend a college that is over 100 miles away, you may qualify for a “resident student” discount. You could save your family as much as 30 percent off their monthly car insurance bill just by telling your insurance company where you’re going to school.
  • Be aware of where your new apartment, campus, or job is located. When setting your premiums, insurance providers consider the crime and traffic rates of where your car spends most of its time. If your home or workplace is located in an area with high rates of both, you may want to add on comprehensive and/or collision coverages that will cover you in the event of theft or damage.
  • Consider buying more than the state-required minimum liability coverage. Having just started your higher education or career, you probably don’t have much of a savings account to fall back on. You might never financially recover from being found at fault in an accident, especially if you’ll have school loans. You’ll have to pay out of pocket for other’s medical and property damage bills.
  • If you live with others, consider setting up a carpool system. While it may be difficult to find schedules compatible with yours, you might be able to leave your car at home and simply chip in for gas.

Buying a Car

  • Consider buying a vehicle that has up-to-date safety features. Cars that include full-front airbags and restraint devices can qualify you for safe driving discounts. You can even unlock a discount if you buy a vehicle with an anti-theft or tracking device.
  • Most auto lenders will require you to get collision and comprehensive coverage with a deductible of no more than $500, which can be very expensive for a young adult driver. To save yourself from the sector expense, look for an older vehicle that you can buy with cash or see if your parents will be willing to lend you the money to buy a vehicle.
  • Along with shopping for a car with safety features, remember that reliable vehicles such as family sedans are usually cheaper to insure, especially if they’re used. Sports cars are cool, but higher premiums aren’t.

18-Year-Old Driver Car Insurance FAQs

How much is car insurance for an 18-year-old per month?

Car insurance for drivers under the age of 25 will typically be more expensive than insurance for any other age group, but exact rates will vary quite a bit depending on driving history and whether the young adult driver can qualify for discounts. Passing a defensive driving course can also have a major impact on car insurance costs.

Do car insurance rates differ from 18-year-old women versus men?

If you live in a state that permits insurance companies to consider gender when setting auto insurance rates, then premiums for 18-year-old women will likely be slightly lower than premiums for 18-year-old man, all other factors being equal.

Where can I compare car insurance quotes online for free?

Glad you asked! Insurify lets you review auto insurance quotes from comparable policies just by answering a few basic questions. You can even tweak your policy coverage and other factors to see how that would affect your auto insurance rates from different providers. Use Insurify today to help you find cheap car insurance for an 18-year-old driver.

Updated May 28, 2020

Wendy Connick is the founder and owner of Connick Financial Solutions, a provider of tax and bookkeeping services and a QuickBooks Online Certified ProAdvisor. A long-time freelance writer, she specializes in business and finance articles on subjects including taxes, investing, and retirement. Wendy is an Enrolled Agent (EA), the only federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. She is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and a certified volunteer for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), an IRS-sponsored program to provide free tax help for low-income individuals and families.