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At 18, you are legally an adult but have only driven for a few years at the most. You may wonder if you can even have your own car insurance at 18. The short answer is that you can, but there is usually more to it than this.
Our team has carefully reviewed all major auto insurance providers to help you find the best plan for your needs. Just enter your ZIP code into the tool above to get local car insurance quotes from the industry’s leading performers.
Do You Need to Buy Your Own Car Insurance?
Whether or not you need to buy your own auto insurance will depend entirely on your situation. Some people cannot stay on their family’s policy for various reasons, in which case you can have your own car insurance at 18.
If you do have the option of either staying on your family’s policy or getting your own, this guide will cover important and helpful considerations to remember.
Benefits of Getting Your Own Car Insurance at 18
To start, think about some of the benefits of getting your own car insurance at 18.
The biggest plus is that you can personalize your coverage based on what you need and want. This lets you easily balance your ideal coverage with your current budget. If you were to stay on your family’s policy, you would likely be stuck with the coverage that they choose. This may be more or less than you want.
Additionally, getting your own insurance policy will provide you with valuable life experience. It will likely be one of the first times in your life, if not the first, that you learn about insurance coverage firsthand. You will get the chance to research various insurance providers and find out how to buy car insurance after making educated comparisons. You will also pick up budgeting skills and gain experience with paying bills promptly.
Benefits of Waiting to Get Your Own Auto Insurance Policy
On the other end of the spectrum, waiting to get your own auto insurance policy and staying on your family’s plan also comes with benefits.
The most important benefits are financial. 18-year-olds are considered to be quite risky, as they still lack driving experience. This means that if you get your own plan, your premiums will be much higher than if you were to stay on your family’s plan. Simply put, you will have lower car insurance rates on the family policy.
On top of that, you may miss out on potential discounts by leaving your family’s plan. For example, many car insurance companies offer multi-car discounts. They may also offer discounts that only your family is eligible for, such as discounts for homeowners. Staying on the family policy lets you take advantage of those discounts.
Overall, if you want cheap auto insurance, you should wait to get your own plan.
How Will Your Driving Record and Insurance History Impact Your Rates?
We already mentioned that younger drivers tend to have higher car insurance rates because they are considered higher risk. If your driving history already includes some marks, you are likely to have to pay even more to have your own auto insurance at 17 or 18.
Also keep in mind that any previous claims you filed with auto insurance as a teen after an accident may also increase your premium. This applies even if you filed the claim while on your family’s insurance plan. It is also worth noting that the average car insurance rate for 18-year-old males tends to be higher than that for 18-year-old female drivers.
The good news is that some insurance companies offer discounts geared toward 18-year-old drivers. For example, some have good student discounts that apply if you maintain a certain GPA in high school or college. Or, if you are a college student who leaves your car at home while living on campus, you may get a discount for that as well.
One last way to decrease your auto insurance bill is by adding a higher deductible to your plan. Though you’ll pay more out of pocket if involved in an accident, your average rate will be lower.
Consider Whether You Can Afford Increased Auto Insurance Premiums
When it comes down to it, cost is one of the biggest factors affecting whether you should have your own car insurance at 18. Remember that the young adult age group is considered to be at high risk for car accidents, even if they have had their driver’s licenses for two years and maintain a clean driving record.
If you opt for full coverage auto insurance, expect even higher premiums. While bodily injury coverage is required in almost every state, adding on comprehensive and collision coverage will further raise prices for new drivers.
As you try to decide whether to get your own policy as an 18-year-old driver, remember the possibility of increased rates. Consider whether you are willing to pay more to gain personal control over your insurance plan. You may lose out on discount opportunities, but will also gain experience with handling insurance.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
If you do decide to have your own car insurance at 18, or if your family is looking for a new policy, we suggest getting one from GEICO, USAA or State Farm.
The best method for finding the ideal coverage and price is by getting quotes from several different providers to see average rates. This way, you can confirm that you found a great deal that doesn’t sacrifice coverage. The quote tool below offers a simple way to do so and takes mere seconds to use.
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GEICO: Best Overall
After careful research, our team awarded GEICO a 9.1 out of 10.0 overall rating. Its strong industry reputation earned it a 9.8 out of 10.0 in that category. Thanks to great pricing and customer service, GEICO earned a 9.0 rating for customer experience, 9.4 for cost, and 8.5 for coverage.
USAA: Best Military Provider
USAA earned a 9.6 overall rating from our review team. USAA has a solid reputation, earning a 9.3 rating. It also earned 9.3 for customer experience. USAA’s coverage rating is still a very good 9.5, while its cost rating is a solid 10.0. Just keep in mind that this insurance provider is only available for members of the military and their families. If you are eligible, it is very much worth consideration.
State Farm: Best Student Discounts
Our team gave State Farm an overall rating of 9.1 and found that it is a standout option for students and young drivers. It has a 9.9 out of 10.0 industry reputation rating. Our team determined that State Farm earns an 9.0 for coverage, an 9.0 for cost and an 8.8 for customer experience. If you opt for State Farm as an 18 year old, be sure to explore the company’s good driver discount and other potential price reductions on car insurance premiums.
FAQ: Auto Insurance for 18-Year-Olds
Can I get my own car insurance at 18?
Yes, you can get your own car insurance policy at 18. It will likely be quite expensive, though, so many young drivers prefer to stay on their parents’ plan for as long as possible.
How long can I stay on my parents’ auto insurance?
There is no age limit, so you can stay on your parents’ policy as long as the car is in their name and you live with them. You can still be on your parents’ insurance plan if you move out temporarily for college and they pay for your living expenses.
Can I insure a car I don’t own?
It’s possible to insure a car that you don’t own, but it is more challenging. This may be even harder as a younger driver.
What kind of discounts do I qualify for at 18?
18-year-old drivers can get insurance discounts for being good students, for taking defensive driving courses, for having low mileage, for being a safe driver, for being a student away from home, for being in the military, for bundling car insurance and for having safety or security features in their cars.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.