Car Insurance Rates by Age: Factors to Consider
Curious to know how old you might be when your premiums are at their lowest? Here's more.
Average car insurance rates by age are based on how likely individuals are to file a claim. Across all age groups, the average U.S. driver paid $1,483 for car insurance in 2021, according to an analysis of 83 million rates by The Zebra, an insurance comparison site. However, car insurance rates can be as high as $5,800 a year for new teenage drivers or as low as $1,300 for middle-aged adults.
Here's a breakdown of car insurance rates by age and what drivers may pay annually for auto insurance at different points in their lives.
Age Range: 16 to 19
Annual Price Range: $2,300 to $5,800
Teenagers tend to pay far more for auto insurance than any other age group, according to The Zebra's State of Insurance 2021 report (which informs all the price ranges in this article). New drivers are simply less skilled and more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors. In fact, teens experience more crashes per mile driven than any other age group except seniors, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It's understandable that teens pay higher rates.
A 16-year-old male with a standalone policy will generally pay steeper rates than other drivers. The good news is that teens (and their parents) can often save substantially by shopping around. Some insurers offer more favorable rates to teen drivers than others.
One of the most effective ways for teen drivers to reduce their car insurance rates is to get insured under a parent's policy. On average, male drivers pay $2,814 and female drivers pay $2,514 per year when they go this route. Some insurance companies also offer good student discounts to young drivers with above-average grades and driver education discounts to those who complete an approved course.
Age Range: 20s and 30s
Annual Price Range: $1,400 to $1,900
With more years of driving experience and greater maturity, drivers in their 20s usually become eligible for lower premiums. Typically, car insurance rates more than halve for drivers aged 16 to 20 and nearly halve again for those aged 20 to 25. After that, they decline steadily. Once you're in your 30s, age doesn't play a meaningful role in year-to-year premium changes.
Other factors that may contribute to decreasing premiums for young adults include getting married and bundling policies. Insurance companies have found that married drivers are generally less likely to file claims. Also, young adults are often purchasing renters or homeowners insurance for the first time. When you buy more than one type of policy from the same insurer or insure more than one vehicle, you'll often get a discounted rate. Some insurers even offer auto insurance discounts for owning a house that's insured with another company.
Age Range: 40s, 50s, and 60s
Annual Price Range: $1,300 to $1,400
Drivers in their 50s and 60s tend to pay the lowest rates of any age group. They usually have ample driving experience and generally haven't confronted the age-related changes that can make driving more challenging. While premiums may decrease slightly each year from age 40 to age 59, rates often start to increase modestly for drivers in their 60s.
Quite a few drivers in this age group will have teenagers who are ready to get behind the wheel. Parents can enjoy some of the lowest rates for themselves while they may be paying some of the highest rates for their children. Accordingly, parents should know that shopping around for a new auto insurer when they're ready to add a teen to their policy could bring major savings, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.
Age Range: 70s and 80s
Annual Price Range: $1,500 to $1,800
Drivers who stay behind the wheel throughout their 70s and 80s will see their rates creep back up until they're close to what drivers in their mid-20s pay. As we grow older, aging may take a toll on our vision, reaction times, and ability to think clearly and make good decisions—including whether we're still sharp enough to get behind the wheel.
Seniors are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents, but interestingly, at least one study (albeit an older one) shows that the increased fatality rate is because seniors' bodies are more fragile, not because they get into more accidents. Still, adults in this age group may want to prioritize driving a vehicle with excellent crash ratings, even if that vehicle costs more to insure.
You may be able to keep your insurance rates down as a senior driver by letting your insurance company know how many miles you're driving each year. If you're not commuting to work anymore, you might be driving far less and qualify for a lower rate.
Taking Control of Your Premiums at Any Age
Age is an uncontrollable factor that affects how much you pay for car insurance, but many other variables are up to you, including what vehicle you drive and how cautious you are. Certain companies may offer more favorable premiums to drivers in pricier age groups, so shopping around to compare rates on identical coverage levels is often the most practical way to save.