How to Find the Cheapest Car Insurance for New Drivers

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Cheapest car insurance for new drivers: young woman happily driving a car

There’s no denying that car insurance costs can run higher for new drivers. With less experience on the road, insurance companies see new drivers as a higher risk. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to finding cheaper car insurance rates. Many insurers offer discounts to attract new drivers that you can take advantage of.

Here’s everything you need to know about new driver auto insurance and finding the cheapest car insurance for new drivers.


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Who Counts as a “New Driver”?

The age at which you can get behind the wheel varies from state to state, but that isn’t the most important factor in determining your auto insurance rates. Drivers of any age group can be treated as a new driver on their car insurance policy, depending on how long they’ve had their driver’s license and other factors.

Here are three groups that are classed as new drivers by auto insurance companies:

Young drivers

Teen drivers may be the most obvious drivers in this category, but the “new driver” designation can stay on your auto insurance policy well into your 20s. Some companies base rates primarily on age (such as drivers under age 25), while others may factor in how much time you’ve had your license.

Young drivers pay higher rates because they’re considered a higher risk: according to the CDC, 16-year-old drivers have a higher crash rate than 18-year-olds do. Still, teen drivers can find affordable car insurance by choosing a company with a Good Student Discount, or by staying on their parents’ policy instead of getting their own policy.

First-time drivers

If you’re an adult with a newly acquired driver’s license, then you might think you have a clean driving record: no at-fault accidents or speeding tickets. But you can expect to pay more than other drivers in your age group due to having less driving experience.

Get the cheapest car insurance for new drivers by taking a defensive driving course to foster good driving habits.

Drivers with a gap in their driving history

Drivers who have recently moved from overseas or have had a gap in their insurance coverage may be considered new drivers, even if they have driving experience. That’s because your international driving permit or overseas driving record won’t be used to determine your rates.

Consider looking for other car insurance discounts, such as renter or homeowner discounts, or maintaining non-owner coverage if you don’t have your own car.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for New Drivers

Family putting things in the trunk of their car

If it’s likely that you’ll be considered a new driver, what are the best car insurance companies for you? Here’s what you can expect to pay for auto insurance with four popular insurance companies in the U.S.:

18-year-old 25-year-old
Travelers Insurance $353 $141
Nationwide $380 $148
Farmers Insurance $533 $155
AAA $689 $276

As you can see, prices vary widely for 18-year-old drivers, but they tend to settle as you get older and gain more experience on the road. Keep in mind that these are prices for the average 25-year-old driver, not necessarily a new driver, so your rates may differ.

Of course, your rates will also vary depending on where you live: a new driver in California will pay different rates than a new driver in Hawaii. You’ll need to compare multiple quotes in order to find the cheapest car insurance for new drivers.


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Luckily, auto insurance companies usually provide some wiggle room through discounts — even for new-to-the-road drivers. Let’s dig a little deeper into what offers the aforementioned companies provide for new drivers:

Travelers Insurance

Cheapest car insurance for new drivers: person teaching another person to drive

Travelers Insurance offers some of the cheapest car insurance for new drivers — in part due to some generous car insurance discounts. You may quality for:

  • Driver Training Discount: up to 8% off for taking a driver’s ed course
  • Good Student Discount: up to 8% off for maintaining a B average
  • Student Away at School Discount: save up to 7% if one of the drivers on your policy attends a school more than 100 miles away
  • Safe Driving Discount: get up to 10% off for no at-fault accidents or moving violations in the last three years; up to 23% off after five years

Other options for new drivers include the IntelliDrive app, which monitors your speed, acceleration, braking, and more. Keep in mind that while this app could get you up to 30% off your premium, it could also raise your rates if you aren’t a safe driver.

Nationwide

Nationwide is one of the most appealing insurance providers for new drivers because of its low rates and wide range of discounts. Here’s what it offers new drivers:

  • Defensive Driving Discount: take a state-approved course
  • Good Student Discount: maintain a B average (ages 16–24)
  • Safe Driver discount: maintain a clean driving record for five years
  • SmartMiles discount: be a low-mileage driver

Nationwide also offers a Smart Ride discount, which may give you up to 40% off of your policy for enrolling in its telematics program.

Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance is a great choice for families with multiple drivers in the household, as it has various discounts for adding new members to your policy:

  • Teen Driver Discount: parents and grandparents are eligible for a discount if they’ve had a policy for two years and add a new driver under age 19
  • Good Student Discount: high school students with a B average and college students with a 3.0 GPA may be eligible for savings
  • Distant Student Discount: receive a discount if your child goes to college more than 100 miles away

Other options include a multi-car discount for having more than one car on your policy, and a multi-line discount for maintaining another policy in addition to car insurance.

AAA

The American Automobile Association is known for its Roadside Assistance program, but it offers car insurance, too. Here are some new driver discounts it offers:

  • Good Student Discount: students with good grades can get up to 15% off
  • Student Away Discount: college students can save 10% if they attend school at least 100 miles away from home
  • Driver Training Discount: drivers of any age can save 10% by taking a driver training course or defensive driving course

AAA can be a little more expensive than other providers, so it may not seem like the cheapest car insurance for new drivers at first glance. But when you consider that it includes roadside assistance, it may turn out to be a cost-effective choice.

What Type of Coverage Do You Need?

The type of insurance coverage that new drivers need depends on your state minimum coverage requirements, the car you drive, and your budget. In most states, you’ll need to maintain at least property damage liability coverage and bodily injury liability insurance. Other coverage options are up to you.

Full coverage car insurance offers the most protection, but it may result in higher car insurance premiums than other coverage options. Because new drivers and teens tend to drive less expensive cars, you may get lower rates if you go without comprehensive coverage, which would cover the cost of replacing your car in some situations.

On the other hand, if you drive a brand new electric car, then you may want to prioritize getting the best coverage rather than getting the cheapest car insurance.

Other ways to get the cheapest car insurance for new drivers include increasing your deductible, improving your credit score, and driving a car with safety features.

Discover the Cheapest Car Insurance for New Drivers Today

Woman holding her car key while sitting inside her car

New drivers of all ages tend to pay more for car insurance than other drivers, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find cheap auto insurance. Insurance bundles, higher deductibles, and good driver discounts can all help lower your monthly premiums.

Because car insurance rates are different for everyone, there’s no better way to find the cheapest car insurance for new drivers than to compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies. Compare.com makes it easy to find the best rates with our car insurance calculator that tells you what you can expect to pay in seconds.

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