The national average annual car insurance premium for 16-year-old drivers was a staggering $8,226, as of 2015, more than four times higher than the average premiums for drivers age 30 to 60. A married couple adding a teen driver to their insurance policy can expect to pay around 80 percent more, according to Forbes.
Why Teen Drivers Cost More
Insurance companies have to pay damages when one of their customers causes an accident. They set higher rates for riskier drivers to cover the extra costs those drivers impose. Teen drivers are by far the riskiest customers in the business. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers' crash rates are three times higher than rates for drivers over 20, after adjusting for distance driven. All those extra accidents mean extra premiums.
Variables in Cost
Age isn't the only factor in determining car insurance costs. Insurance companies also look at driving history, gender, traffic density and miles driven when setting their rates. States with low crime rates, few natural disasters and relatively little traffic usually have the lowest rates. Maine, for example, had an average car insurance premium of just $889 per year in 2011. Premiums in Louisiana topped $2,500 per year in 2011.
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Discounts for Teen Drivers
Insurance companies don't view all 16-year-olds as equally risky. They offer discounts to teen drivers who are statistically less likely to be involved in accidents. First, because insurers view good students as less risky, they can slash premiums by up to 20 percent for students who maintain a B average in school or score in the top 20 percent on standardized tests. Additionally, young drivers who complete a defensive driving course in addition to normal drivers' education can qualify for a discount of up to 15 percent.