If a parent's greatest fear is their child getting behind the wheel, covering their car insurance premium might be a close second. On average, adding a teen driver increases annual car insurance rates by about 83%. This is because of the risks posed by teen drivers: they're less experienced and more likely to take risks behind the wheel, leaving the insurance company vulnerable. We assessed premiums from top insurers after adding a teen to the car insurance policy of a married couple.
Compare popular auto insurance companies' financial stability and claims satisfaction ratings to better understand the quality of service they will provide. Claims satisfaction — measured by J.D. Power — is ranked on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being "among the best" and 2 being "the rest." Financial strength — calculated by A.M. Best and running from "Superior" to "Poor" — determines an insurer's financial strength and ability to meet its policy and contractual obligations.
Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we personally found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won't see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver among others.
How much you drive, or your annual mileage, is a huge rating factor in places like California but can still positively and negatively affect your premium in other states. If you live in California, you can expect a 25% gap in average annual premiums between those who drive 0-7,500 miles a year and those who drive more than 15,000 miles a year. On average, however, the less you drive, the more it saves you — but not by much.
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These sites often attract your interest with competitive rates, but then transfer you to a different site to continue shopping and complete your transaction, often at a far less attractive rate. This is because lead generations sites are paid to sell your information to an agency or insurance company, not to present you with the rates on car insurance.
Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
Nationwide is the cheapest company for adding a teen driver to your policy, with Farmers second-cheapest. Bear in mind, the data above was generated by averaging the projected premium for a teen male driver and a teen female driver. A male teenager, on average, costs $239 more per year than does a female driver. This is because of the additional risk presented by a young male driver compared to a female driver. Nationwide is the cheapest insurer for a family with either a female or male teen driver.
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When you get an insurance quote, an agent might add extraneous coverage. Unlike your home, your vehicle will rapidly depreciate in value, meaning the coverage you once had might not be necessary after a few years. For example, collision and comprehensive coverage are designed to protect your vehicle from damage. But if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, the value of insurance payout you would receive may not justify the cost of your insurance premium.
First, you can play with your deductible. We all like to have the least amount of out of pocket expense if we are involved in an accident. However, the lower the deductible, the higher your premium will be. Select a higher deductible amount. If you have chosen a $500 deductible, rerun your quote with a $1,000 or higher deductible. This will assuredly lower your overall premium.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women for 10 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits: