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The cost of auto insurance varies by age and gender, with young drivers hit the hardest by high rates. That's because insurers use crash statistics to determine premiums. Even the best car insurance for teens cannot ignore that young drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident than older, more experienced drivers. While the cost of buying car insurance for an 18-year-old is sure to pinch, rates also vary depending on the gender of the person seeking coverage. Here, we'll illustrate the differences.
As mentioned, age plays a huge role in determining rates. Here's a quick breakdown of average auto insurance cost by age. Each category combines rates for males and females.
Good car insurance companies are not looking to sock it to young drivers, but it's difficult to overestimate the value of experience. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are nearly three times as likely as drivers over 19 to be in a fatal collision. As the table showing average car insurance cost by age indicates, older drivers benefit by paying lower premiums.
Our findings show that the average national rate for a teenage driver is just shy of $6,000 per year, or $500 a month. Even the cheapest car insurance for teens is much higher than the rates quoted for more experienced drivers.
That said, these numbers reflect the cost of a teen having their own auto insurance policy. It's less expensive to keep them on their parent's policy. And if the teen in question gets good grades or is away at college, discounts on car insurance can help drive the cost down.
While car insurance rates are important, they pale compared to the risk of losing a child. For parents with a teen at home, it's important to know when teen drivers are at the greatest risk:
There is no denying that car insurance for an 18-year-old is expensive. But whether or not a parent decides to keep their child on their insurance policy, parents should go over these risk factors with their young drivers.
Here's a sobering thought regarding gender and driving habits: An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study showed that in nearly every year from 1975 to 2019, men died in car accidents twice as often as females. In 2019, 71% of all car crash deaths were male.
Still, it does not always hold true that men pay more for auto insurance than women. While young males pay significantly more than young female drivers due to the statistical odds of a male being involved in an accident, men either pay the same rate as women or slightly less by the time they've hit middle age. And by the time they're old enough to begin shopping for auto insurance for seniors, women are often surprised to learn that they are expected to pay more.
The reason women end up paying more at any point is unknown. In fact, some states have started to take steps to eliminate gender as a rate consideration. Unless there is a statistical reason to believe one gender is involved in more accidents than the other, it makes no sense to charge one more.
Things may be changing already. When we compared the average cost to insure a 35-year-old female against the cost to insure a 35-year-old male, there was only a $26-a-year difference, with females paying slightly less. Given the sheer number of good car insurance companies included in our analysis, $26 per year (or $2.16 per month) may be as close to even as is reasonable to expect. Today, when one looks at average car insurance rates by age and gender, it's easy to see that age makes a much bigger difference than gender.
As the car insurance rates by age chart showed, young drivers pay more for insurance than older drivers with clean driving records. What's interesting is how different combinations of circumstances impact rates. For example, how do the rates of a young driver with a clean driving record compare to the rates of a middle-aged driver with an accident on their record? Here, we'll look at the average national rates for different age and gender combinations.
What these tables show is not only how much more teens pay for car insurance, but also how much of a difference there is between the premium rates quoted to drivers with an excellent credit score to the car insurance quotes offered to drivers with a low credit score. When an older driver is shopping for cheap car insurance for seniors, they will quickly find that the higher their credit score is, the lower their annual auto insurance premium. The same is true for drivers of all ages. That's because insurance industry studies have shown that people with high credit scores tend to make fewer insurance claims. Naturally, that's not always the case, but it's true often enough to inspire insurance companies to offer a price break to drivers with strong credit.
Here's a quick rundown of average car insurance rates by age, state, and gender. It's important to note that these averages include credit scores of all kinds, from excellent to poor. They also include drivers with a clean driving record and drivers with a violation or accident on their record. The rates do not include bundling or other car insurance savings. In other words, the actual rate depends on a driver's specific circumstances. What this chart does offer is a sense of how much rates vary by state, age, and gender.
No matter a driver's age, gender, or state of residence, it pays to keep a clean driving record and maintain a high credit score — both of which will keep premiums down. That way, a driver checking out auto insurance average cost by age or gender understands that they qualify for the lowest rates available.
Young drivers pay the most for insurance, by far.
The primary reasons teens pay more comes down to a lack of experience and statistics showing that teens have the highest risk of being involved in a fatal accident.
Older drivers with more experience typically see the cheapest premiums. For example, 65-year-olds almost always receive cheaper auto insurance rates than 35-year-olds.
No, not if a driver's record remains clean.
Maintain a high credit score, clean driving record, and take advantage of any insurance company discounts you qualify for.
Dana has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years, specializing in loans, debt management, investments, and business. Her work has appeared on San Jose Mercury News, The Detroit News, Oakland Tribune, and Dun & Bradstreet. After moving around the globe, she’s thrilled to be living in her hometown of Kansas City.
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