Can a teenager get their own car insurance policy?

Unless they are emancipated, teens typically aren’t able to buy their own car insurance policy until they are 18 or 19 years old.

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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In some situations, letting a teenager buy their own insurance seems like the best choice, but 16 and 17-year-old teens usually aren’t allowed to buy their own car insurance policy, and standalone car insurance policies for teens are typically much, much more expensive than adding a teen to an existing car insurance policy.

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There are some exceptions, however, so young drivers who need to buy their own insurance do have some options.

Key takeaways

  • 16 and 17-year-old teens typically aren’t allowed to buy car insurance on their own because they are too young to legally enter into a binding contract.

  • Teenagers who are 18 or older are allowed to buy a car insurance policy on their own in almost every state.

  • Teens (and parents of teens) can check the laws in their state to find out exactly when teen drivers are allowed to buy their own car insurance policy.

What age can you get your own car insurance?

Teenagers who are 18 or older are allowed to buy a car insurance policy on their own in almost every state. 

But some states have a higher age of majority (which is a legal term that explains when a teenager is considered a legal adult) while some states may allow younger teens to purchase their own car insurance in some situations. 

Because car insurance requirements vary by state, teens and parents may want to look into the laws where they live to find out exactly when they are allowed to buy their own car insurance policy. Reaching out to your state’s DMV or your state Department of Insurance is a good place to start.

➞ Learn more about how long you can stay on your parents’ car insurance

What is the age of majority in my state?

While the age of majority in most states is 18, two states (Alabama and Nebraska) set their age of majority at 19 years old

The age of majority is not necessarily the same as the age requirement for getting your driver’s license, so teen drivers can be licensed years before they are able to buy their own car insurance policy.

State

Age of majority

Minimum age for a learners permit

Minimum age for a full driver's license

Alabama

19

15

17

Alaska

18

14

16 and a half

Arizona

18

15 and a half

16 and a half

Arkansas

18

14

18

California

18

15 and a half

17

Colorado

18

15

17

Connecticut

18

16

18

District of Columbia

18

16

17

Delaware

18

16

18

Florida

18

15

18

Georgia

18

15

18

Hawaii

18

15 and a half

17

Idaho

18

14 and a half

16

Illinois

18

15

18

Indiana

18

15

21

Iowa

18

14

17

Kansas

18

14

16 and a half

Kentucky

18

16

17

Louisiana

18

15

17

Maine

18

15

16 and 9 months

Maryland

18

15 and 9 months

18

Massachusetts

18

16

18

Michigan

18

14 and 9 months

17

Minnesota

18

15

17

Mississippi

18 (21 for the purpose of their parent paying child support)

15

16 and a half

Missouri

18

15

18

Montana

18

14 and a half

16

Nebraska

19

15

17

Nevada

18

15 and a half

18

New Hampshire

18

15 and a half

18

New Jersey

18

16

18

New Mexico

18

15

16 and a half

New York

18

16

17

North Carolina

18

15

16 and a half

North Dakota

18

14

16

Ohio

18

15 and a half

18

Oklahoma

18

15 and a half

16 and a half

Oregon

18

15

17

Pennsylvania

18

16

17 and a half

Rhode Island

18

16

17 and a half

South Carolina

18

15

16 and a half

South Dakota

18

14

16

Tennessee

18

15

17

Texas

18

15

18

Utah

18

15

17

Vermont

18

15

16 and a half

Virginia

18

15 and a half

18

Washington

18

15

18

West Virginia

18

15

17

Wisconsin

18

15 and a half

18

Wyoming

18

15

16 and a half

Can a teenager buy a car on their own?

16 and 17-year-old teens typically aren’t allowed to buy a car on their own because they are too young to legally enter into a binding contract. But 18-year-old teens are usually allowed to buy a car, take out a car loan, and purchase a car insurance policy on their own.

Can an emancipated minor buy their own car insurance policy?

Yes, an emancipated minor can buy their own insurance policy, but they may need to work directly with an insurance expert to get a policy (instead of shopping online like most drivers would). 

People under 18 (usually) aren’t legally allowed to enter into a contractual agreement, but an emancipated minor is permitted to do things like buy a car or sign an insurance policy.

There are three ways a minor may become emancipated, including:

  • Getting a court order from a judge

  • Getting married (which typically requires parental consent)

  • Joining the military (which typically requires parental consent)

A minor can prove to an insurance agent that they are emancipated by presenting a court order, marriage certificate, or their military enlistment paperwork.

➞ Learn more about removing your children from your car insurance policy

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Can my teenager buy their own insurance policy if I exclude them from my insurance coverage?

Probably not. Each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to car insurance, so whether or not your teen is eligible for their own insurance policy depends on the laws in your state.

Additionally, each insurance company will have their own rules regarding who is eligible to purchase insurance. For example, GEICO doesn’t provide car insurance quotes to drivers under the age of 18.

If your child is 18 or older, they are likely old enough to purchase a car insurance policy on their own. That said, buying an individual car insurance policy for an 18-year-old driver is much more expensive than adding them to your family coverage

Adding a teenage driver to your policy lets them take advantage of bundling discounts, multi-car discounts, and loyalty discounts they wouldn’t otherwise be able to use.

➞ Learn more about excluding a driver from your policy

Cost of insurance for a teenage driver

Car insurance rates are higher for teenage drivers than any other group, and for good reason. Teens are more likely to be in an at-fault accident or file a claim than older drivers, which means teen drivers pay a much higher rate for car insurance.

The table below shows the rates for standalone policies for teen drivers with some of the top insurance companies:

Company

16-year-old female

16-year-old male

18-year-old female

18-year-old male

Allstate

$8,215

$8,788

$5,015

$5,916

Farmers

$10,164

$10,812

$7,682

$8,155

GEICO

$4,341

$4,803

$2,911

$3,182

Nationwide

$5,099

$6,111

$4,427

$5,328

Progressive

$9,478

$10,343

$7,138

$7,942

State Farm

$3,422

$4,222

$2,718

$3,327

USAA

$4,414

$4,792

$2,659

$2,860

Some of these rates are incredibly high, but keep in mind that these are the rates for an individual policy for a single teenage driver. The average rates to add a teen to your family insurance plan are much more reasonable, as you can see in the chart below:

Policy

Add a 16-year-old male driver

Add a 16-year-old female driver

Monthly cost

$364

$315

Annual cost

$4,364

$3,776

Car insurance rates for young drivers and college students tend to go down over time, so the best way for young drivers to lower their rates is to keep their driving record clean.

➞ Learn more about when car insurance rates go down

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We don't sell your information to third parties.

Frequently asked questions

Should my 18 year old have his own car insurance?

If your 18-year-old owns their own car and doesn’t live in your home, they are required to have their own car insurance policy. However, if they live in your home and drive your car, they should stay on your family car insurance policy.

Can I insure my son or daughter's car if they own it?

Yes! In many cases, if your teen lives in your house and parks their car on your property, you are able to insure it even if you aren’t the legal owner of the vehicle.

Should a teenager pay for their own car insurance?

Whether or not a teenager pays for their own car insurance depends on your particular needs as a family. Some people really want their children to pay for their own insurance to teach them responsibility and encourage them to drive carefully, while others don’t want to burden their child with the high cost of car insurance for a teenage driver.

Should I put my 17-year-old on my car insurance?

It is usually a good idea to put your 17-year-old driver on your insurance policy. It is almost always more affordable to put them on your family insurance plan and most states don’t allow a 17-year-old to purchase a car insurance policy on their own.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers age 16 and 18. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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