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Cheapest car insurance for new drivers

New drivers pay more for auto insurance than older drivers, but they can lower their costs by joining an existing policy or shopping around for coverage.

Andrew Hurst

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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This article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.

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By

Fabio Faschi, PLCS, SBCS, CLCS

Fabio Faschi, PLCS, SBCS, CLCS

Licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Expert

Fabio Faschi is a licensed property and casualty insurance agent. His expertise on home and auto insurance has been featured on Forbes, Consumer Affairs, Realtor.com, Apartment Therapy, SFGATE, Bankrate, and Lifehacker.

Updated|6 min read

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The cheapest car insurance for new drivers depends on whether they’re added to an existing policy or decide to get their own coverage. On average, GEICO is the best cheap company for new drivers who are added to their family’s policy. State Farm is the best option for new drivers who decide to get their own coverage.

Geico Logo

Best for adding a new driver to a family policy

  • Rating: 4.5/5 ★

  • Monthly cost: $155 per month

  • Cheapest runner-up: New Jersey Manufacturers

State Farm Logo

Best for new drivers who get their own policy

  • Rating: 3.8/5

  • Monthly cost: $244 per month

  • Cheapest runner-up: COUNTRY

Auto insurance for new drivers can cost thousands of dollars more per year than insurance for more experienced drivers. But new drivers can still get cheap insurance by comparing quotes from multiple companies, and by considering per-mile or usage-based insurance.

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Who do insurance companies consider new drivers?

There’s not necessarily one definition for who insurance companies consider new drivers. For insurance purposes, teenage drivers aren’t the only member of this group. Instead, “new drivers” can be anyone who:

  • Recently got their license, no matter their age

  • Have never had car insurance or been a part of a policy

  • Just moved to the United States from another country

Despite their inexperience, newly licensed drivers don’t need to get a separate type of new-driver car insurance to meet their state’s insurance requirements. The only difference for new drivers is that their insurance coverage will be more expensive since they don’t have a driving record yet.

Where to get auto insurance for new drivers

If you’re someone insurance companies consider a new driver, the process of buying car insurance will be the same for you as for experienced drivers. You can still get coverage from well known companies.

New teen drivers will have the best luck if they’re added to an existing family policy, while newly-licensed adults may have to shop for their own coverage.

But it might be hard for some new drivers to find their own car insurance. It’s more expensive, and insurance companies don’t always let newly licensed drivers fill out an online quote form to get their own insurance. Also, if you’re a minor and you want your own car insurance, you’ll have to get approval from a parent or guardian.

Cheapest car insurance for adding a new driver

GEICO

4.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

GEICO logo

Best for new drives who are added to a family policy

Monthly cost of full coverage

$155

GEICO has the best insurance rates of any of the nationally available companies for adding a new driver to an existing car insurance policy. In addition to low rates, GEICO offers coverage endorsements like rental reimbursement and roadside assistance.

GEICO is the best and cheapest car insurance for families adding a new driver to an existing car insurance policy. GEICO isn’t the cheapest overall, but it’s still an affordable choice that’s available in every state. We found that at $240 per month, GEICO cost $907 less per year than the average rates for new drivers.

NJM is the absolute cheapest car insurance for new drivers but it’s only available in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, or Pennsylvania. But new driver insurance from NJM is only slightly cheaper than GEICO — $6 per year on average.

Members of the military, both active-duty and retired vets (and their families) can also get cheap car insurance for new drivers from USAA, where coverage for new drivers costs $141 a month ($1,076 cheaper per year than average). But unlike GEICO and NJM, USAA isn’t available to the general public.

Bar graph showing the cost of car insurance for new drivers who are added to an existing policy.

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Company name

Average monthly cost

Average annual cost

USAA*

$141

$1,687

NJM

$154

$1,853

GEICO

$155

$1,856

Auto-Owners

$188

$2,260

Nationwide

$200

$2,400

MAPFRE

$202

$2,420

American Family

$203

$2,440

Farm Bureau

$213

$2,551

Amica

$217

$2,608

Travelers

$218

$2,612

State Farm

$223

$2,678

Progressive

$229

$2,751

COUNTRY

$230

$2,756

Shelter

$237

$2,846

AVG

$230

$2,763

Farmers

$244

$2,931

AAA

$254

$3,053

Erie

$259

$3,112

Allstate

$260

$3,125

National General

$269

$3,226

Kemper

$311

$3,737

Hartford

$336

$4,032

CSAA

$362

$4,350

Mercury

$385

$4,618

Sentry

$411

$4,929

Hanover

$528

$6,333

Cost of full-coverage car insurance for new drivers at the 20 cheapest companies.

How to add a new driver to an existing policy

Most insurance companies require that every licensed driver in your household be included on your car insurance policy. Fortunately, it’s easy to add a new driver to an existing policy.

You can usually add a new driver to an existing policy over the phone or online, through your insurance company’s website or mobile app. 

You’ll need a few key pieces of information on hand to add a driver to a car insurance policy, including their:

  • Name and birthday

  • Social Security Number

  • Drivers license number

Cheapest car insurance for new drivers who get their own policy

State Farm

3.8

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

State Farm logo

Best for new drivers not added to an existing policy

Monthly cost of full coverage

$244

New drivers shopping for their own policy can get cheap coverage from State Farm. Since State Farm’s rates also stay low after an accident or speeding ticket, new drivers may not have to pay significantly higher rates after an early mistake.

State Farm has the best and cheapest car insurance for new drivers who are buying their own policy. On average, new-driver insurance costs $380 per month with State Farm, which is $1,632 cheaper per year than average for new drivers. 

Car insurance from State Farm is available in every state except Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but depending on where you live a smaller company might be a cheaper option. We found that COUNTRY, followed by Erie and Auto-Owners all have cheap auto insurance for new drivers.

A bar graph showing the cost of car insurance from the 10 cheapest companies for new drivers who get their own policies.

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Company

Average monthly cost

Average annual cost

COUNTRY

$210

$2,515

Erie

$215

$2,578

USAA*

$239

$2,871

Auto-Owners

$243

$2,913

State Farm

$244

$2,930

NJM

$248

$2,981

GEICO

$255

$3,059

MAPFRE

$267

$3,199

Farm Bureau

$277

$3,322

American Family

$296

$3,546

Travelers

$358

$4,298

Nationwide

$360

$4,314

Shelter

$371

$4,447

Kemper

$415

$4,975

Allstate

$459

$5,513

CSAA

$486

$5,836

National General

$494

$5,926

Hartford

$520

$6,242

Progressive

$559

$6,708

Amica

$571

$6,855

Farmers

$578

$6,935

Sentry

$637

$7,648

AAA

$654

$7,849

Mercury

$793

$9,514

Hanover

$957

$11,487

Cost of full-coverage car insurance for new drivers at the 20 cheapest companies.

Cheapest new driver car insurance in every state

The cheapest auto insurance for new drivers depends on lots of other factors too — especially location.

Here are the cheapest car insurance companies for new drivers in every state — whether you’re adding a newly-licensed driver to your family policy or you’re a new driver shopping on your own.

State

Cheapest for adding a driver

Cheapest for their own policy

Alabama

USAA

COUNTRY

Alaska

USAA

USAA

Arizona

GEICO

GEICO

Arkansas

Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau

California

Wawanesa

Wawanesa

Colorado

National General

American National

Connecticut

General Electric

State Farm

Delaware

USAA

State Farm

District of Columbia

GEICO

Erie

Florida

UAIC

GEICO

Georgia

USAA

Auto-Owners

Hawaii

USAA

GEICO

Idaho

State Farm

American National

Illinois

Pekin

Pekin

Indiana

Allstate

USAA

Iowa

IMT

State Farm

Kansas

USAA

American Family

Kentucky

GEICO

GEICO

Louisiana

Farm Bureau

USAA

Maine

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners

Maryland

USAA

USAA

Massachusetts

USAA

USAA

Michigan

Farm Bureau

GEICO

Minnesota

Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau

Mississippi

USAA

USAA

Missouri

USAA

USAA

Montana

USAA

State Farm

Nebraska

Farm Bureau

Farmers Mutual of Nebraska

Nevada

GEICO

COUNTRY

New Hampshire

MMG

Auto-Owners

New Jersey

GEICO

GEICO

New Mexico

USAA

USAA

New York

Progressive

American Family

North Carolina

State Farm

State Farm

North Dakota

North Star

American Family

Ohio

GEICO

USAA

Oklahoma

American Farmers and Ranchers

American Farmers and Ranchers

Oregon

COUNTRY

COUNTRY

Pennsylvania

Nationwide

GEICO

Rhode Island

GEICO

USAA

South Carolina

State Auto

American National

South Dakota

Farm Bureau

State Farm

Tennessee

USAA

State Farm

Texas

Redpoint

Farm Bureau

Utah

Farm Bureau

GEICO

Vermont

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners

Virginia

USAA

GEICO

Washington

PEMCO

State Farm

West Virginia

GEICO

State Farm

Wisconsin

GEICO

USAA

Wyoming

USAA

USAA

Cost of full-coverage car insurance for new drivers in every state.

Car insurance for new drivers who just moved to the U.S.

No matter their age or experience behind the wheel, anyone who moves to the United States is considered a new driver. Because these drivers don’t have an insurance history with U.S. companies, it’s hard to evaluate their chances of making a future claim.

While the cost of insurance for international drivers who were just licensed will be more expensive, regardless of their experience in their home country, their rates will still go down with time as long as they avoid accidents and tickets.

In the meantime, foreign drivers who move to the United States can get the best rates from the same companies that are cheapest for new drivers, including GEICO and State Farm.

Can new drivers get car insurance if they’re undocumented?

New drivers can still get car insurance if they’re undocumented immigrants, but it depends on where they live. Not every state allows undocumented new drivers to get a license — which you need to get car insurance.

But the following states do allow undocumented new drivers to get a license — and car insurance — even without proof of citizenship. These states are:

What does new driver insurance cost?

Car insurance for new drivers is always more expensive than the average rates for older, more experienced ones. But it’s even harder to find cheap car insurance when you’re a new driver shopping for your own policy instead of being added to an existing one.

On average, the cost of standalone new-driver insurance is $380 per month, or $4,562 per year. That’s nearly $2,000 more expensive per year than adding a new driver to an existing policy, which costs $230 per month, or $2,763 per year.

A bar graph showing the how the cost of car insurance for new drivers compares to that for more experienced people.

Among the largest companies, the cost of car insurance for new drivers is $280 more expensive per month than it is for most older drivers (ages 30 to 45) who have a comparable standalone policy.

Company

New drivers

Experienced drivers

COUNTRY

$210

$115

Erie

$215

$94

USAA*

$239

$87

Auto-Owners

$243

$99

State Farm

$244

$98

NJM

$248

$123

GEICO

$255

$99

MAPFRE

$267

$87

Farm Bureau

$277

$123

American Family

$296

$118

Travelers

$358

$125

Nationwide

$360

$123

Shelter

$371

$146

Kemper

$415

$138

Allstate

$459

$165

CSAA

$486

$201

National General

$494

$143

Hartford

$520

$162

Progressive

$559

$148

Amica

$571

$141

Farmers

$578

$162

Sentry

$637

$270

AAA

$654

$215

Mercury

$793

$217

Hanover

$957

$308

Monthly costs of full-coverage insurance.

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Why is insurance so expensive for young drivers?

There are a couple of reasons why car insurance costs new drivers more than older drivers. Because of their inexperience, newly-licensed drivers are more likely to be involved in a serious accident than their more seasoned counterparts.

Companies also look at your driving record to predict how likely you are to get in an accident. But since new drivers don't have a record yet, companies charge them higher rates until they've proven they're safe drivers.

Age

Monthly cost

Yearly cost

16

$565

$6,779

17

$489

$5,868

18

$411

$4,931

19

$319

$3,822

20

$273

$3,265

21

$226

$2,708

How to get cheap car insurance for first-time drivers

The best way to find insurance for new drivers that’s not too expensive is by shopping around and comparing quotes, but you should also:

  1. Add a new driver to an existing policy: If you’re a newly-licensed teen or young adult who lives at home, you can save money by staying on your parents’ car insurance instead of buying your own. 

  2. Be ready to switch companies: Since you can switch insurance carriers at any time, shop around at least once a year and get quotes from other places if adding a new driver to a policy makes it too expensive.

  3. Make sure you’re getting every available discount: Most discounts are automatically applied when you shop for coverage, but you might qualify for more over the course of your policy. If you’re a new driver and you have a life-changing event, like getting married, you could end up being eligible for more discounts.

  4. Consider usage-based or per-mile car insurance: Signing up for a usage-based program like Drivewise or Rightrack, your rates will be set based partly on your driving behavior. That means you’ll save for being a good driver or drive infrequently.

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Frequently asked questions

How much is car insurance for a new driver?

For new drivers who join an existing policy, car insurance is $2,763 per year. But a standalone policy for a new driver costs an average of $4,562 per year.

Where are insurance costs for new drivers the cheapest?

Of major companies, GEICO has the cheapest rates for new drivers. But you might be able to get insurance for cheaper with NJM, a regional company available in five states. State Farm has the best rates for most new drivers who get their own coverage. Smaller companies like COUNTRY and Erie also have cheap rates.

What is the best way for new drivers to get cheap car insurance?

New drivers should shop around for car insurance and compare quotes from more than one company. They should also be willing to change companies if their rates get more expensive over time. New drivers can also get cheaper car insurance by taking complete advantage of discounts or switching to per-mile or usage-based insurance to save.

Methodology

Policygenius found the cost of car insurance for new drivers using rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. These rates corresponded to every ZIP code in all 50 states by the District of Columbia. Our sample insured vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

We calculated the cost of adding a driver to an existing policy by finding the average yearly rate of decay for drivers aged 17 through 21. Then we applied these rates of change to the one-year-younger driver’s average rate for each company, starting with the cost of adding a 16-year-old to an existing policy.

Our sample policies used the following rates:

  • Bodily injury liability: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident

  • Property damage liability: $50,000 per accident

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Expert reviewer

Licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Expert

Fabio Faschi, PLCS, SBCS, CLCS

Licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Fabio Faschi is a licensed property and casualty insurance agent. His expertise on home and auto insurance has been featured on Forbes, Consumer Affairs, Realtor.com, Apartment Therapy, SFGATE, Bankrate, and Lifehacker.

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