How to Find the Best New Driver Car Insurance

by Nick Versaw Updated March 10th, 2022

New driver car insurance: woman in the driver seat looking behind her

Getting your driver’s license for the first time can be a big milestone, but it also comes with one unfortunate side effect: high car insurance premiums. Even if you’ve never been in an accident or gotten a speeding ticket, drivers without an existing driving record tend to be classed as high-risk drivers and pay more for insurance.

New drivers aren’t just teen drivers and college students, though. Older drivers can also be in need of new driver car insurance if they’ve gotten their license later in life or had a gap in car insurance coverage.

Here’s what you need to know about new driver car insurance, including our picks for the best car insurance policies for new drivers.


Get the Best Quotes for New Drivers


Who Needs New Driver Car Insurance?

The phrase “new driver car insurance” refers to the car insurance rates that insurance companies apply to young or first-time drivers. There isn’t a specific legal definition of a new driver, so it’s up to each insurance company to decide how much they’re going to charge you based on your driving experience.

Most drivers who need new driver car insurance fall into one of these categories:

Young Drivers

The driving age in the U.S. varies from state to state, with some states setting it as low as 14 for a learner’s permit and as high as 18 for a full driver’s license. No matter where you live, insurance companies charge higher rates for teen drivers than for experienced drivers, and those rates tend to stay high until about age 25.

Still, there are a few ways you lower the cost of car insurance. Some companies provide a good student discount to drivers with good grades, while others make it easy to add a new driver to an existing policy.

Even if a teenager has their own car, it’s usually cheaper for them to be added to their parent’s policy than to get their own policy.

First-Time Drivers of Any Age

Not everyone gets their driver’s license as a 16-year-old. Maybe you went to college in New York City and took the subway everywhere, and only learned how to drive in your 20s or 30s when you moved to the suburbs.

Even though adult motorists usually have lower insurance costs than teenagers, you’ll be classed as a new driver until you develop a good driving history.

You might be able to lower your insurance rates by improving your credit score, taking a defensive driving course, and demonstrating good driving habits.

Recent Arrivals and Immigrants

Another set of people who might need new driver car insurance is recent immigrants and short-term residents. Even if you have an international driving permit and a clean driving record overseas, it isn’t going to be factored into your auto insurance policy.

If you’re moving to the U.S. permanently, your rates will eventually go down as you develop a good credit score and driving record, or if you become a homeowner and qualify for a multi-policy discount.

If you’re only here temporarily, such as for work or study, then you may be better off renting a car and getting insurance through your rental provider.

Drivers With Gaps in Insurance

Finally, drivers who cancel their car insurance for an extended period may also have to pay higher rates for new driver car insurance when they re-apply. This can be tricky if you don’t plan to own a car for a while or will be temporarily living overseas.

If that’s the case, you may want to consider maintaining non-owner insurance coverage so you can get the best rates possible when you return.

What Is the Best Car Insurance for New Drivers?

New driver car insurance: man in his car, smiling

Now that you know how new driver car insurance works and who needs it, what are the best car insurance companies for new drivers? The best way to find out is to compare car insurance quotes, since the cheapest car insurance for you depends on several factors, not just your age and driving history.

Still, you can start by taking a look at the five top car insurance providers based on the discounts they offer for new drivers:

Nationwide

Nationwide offers several great programs to lower the cost of new driver car insurance, starting with a good student discount for students with at least a B average.

Nationwide makes it easy to add a teen driver to an existing policy, and even offers an Accident Forgiveness program, which can be used once after an at-fault accident. This option will increase the cost of your policy up-front but will ensure that your premiums don’t spike if a driver on your policy gets into an accident.

Finally, there’s the Smart Ride program, which uses an app to measure the number of miles you drive, how often you idle or brake abruptly, and whether you drive at night. You can get a discount of up to 40% if you demonstrate that you’re a safe driver.

Allstate

Allstate also offers a student discount for drivers under 25 years old, and there are three ways to qualify: getting good grades, taking the teenSMART driver training, or going to school more than 100 miles away. This is a good option if the new driver is a college student and only uses the car occasionally when they visit home.

New drivers may also want to consider the Milewise program, which charges a per-mile rate instead of a flat monthly premium.

Progressive

Progressive offers a wide range of discounts that may apply to new drivers, including a Good Student Discount, a Distant Student Discount, and a Teen Discount. In addition to standard collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, you can also get rideshare coverage if you work for a platform like Lyft, Uber, or DoorDash.

Another perk is the Deductible Savings Bank, which lowers your deductible by $50 every time you make it through a policy period without any issues.

Finally, like several other auto insurance companies, Progressive is getting in on the usage-based insurance trend with the Snapshot smartphone app.

State Farm

State Farm offers an impressive 25% discount for good students, as well as a separate driver training discount for drivers who are 21 and under. Drivers under 25 can get 15% off for avoiding accidents and moving violations for three years.

New drivers of any age can use the Drive Safe and Save app or take a driver education course for a safe driving discount.

State Farm also offers multi-policy discounts for renters and homeowners, as well as discounts for driving a vehicle with anti-theft and safety features.

GEICO

GEICO has made a name for itself by offering cheap car insurance, and that extends to new drivers looking for their first auto insurance policy.

Young drivers can benefit from a good student discount, while older drivers can take a defensive driving course to keep their rates low.

GEICO also offers a safe driver discount for drivers who download the DriveEasy app, which will give you tips on how to improve your driving habits.

Compare Auto Insurance Quotes Today

Woman in the driver seat, smiling to the camera

Knowing which discounts you’re eligible for can help you find the best rates on new driver car insurance. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to getting a quote based on your location, your vehicle, and the type of coverage you need. 

Learn more about how car insurance works here, or use our handy comparison tool, which shows you all of the best car insurance rates in one place.


Compare Car Insurance Rates


Compare Car Insurance Quotes