Can A 17 Year Old Get Their Own Car Insurance?

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Written by
Lacey Jackson-Matsushima
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If you are 17 or have a 17-year-old in your house, you might wonder whether a policy can be taken out alone or if it needs an existing parental policy.

By understanding when a 17-year-old can get their own car insurance and what discounts can be applied to those costs, you can avoid unnecessarily high premiums and complicated policies.

Key Takeaways

  • A 17-year-old cannot legally take out their own policy unless they are emancipated

  • A 17-year-old can have a vehicle title in their name in certain states but still require an adult to help them get insurance

  • Insurance providers offer several discounts for 17-year-olds based on driving habits, grades, and multi-vehicle policies

Can A 17 Year Old Get Their Own Car Insurance?

A 17-year-old can only get their own policy without any adult interaction if they are emancipated. Otherwise, all 50 states require 17-year-olds to open policies under an existing parental policy even if they own their vehicle and have the title in their name.

Car Insurance Options For 17-Year-Olds

There are several car insurance types, each of which offers different protections and come at different costs.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is the most basic coverage, the minimum required in most states. This covers the cost of injuries another person incurs if you are in an accident and the damage you might do to another person’s car, but it does not cover any of your injuries or property damage.


Uninsured/ underinsured coverage will apply to medical bills or vehicle repairs if you get hit by another driver who doesn’t have car insurance. Some states require this in addition to liability coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage extends beyond a simple car accident and includes vandalism, theft, fire damage, or hail damage to your vehicle. There is a deductible for comprehensive coverage, which means there’s a dollar amount you have to pay out of pocket before the company will step in and cover the rest.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage might be a requirement if you have a vehicle with financing. So, for example, if you are a 17-year-old and your parents agree to buy a car with a car loan in their name, and you pay them the monthly fee, you might be required to include collision coverage when you get insurance. This will repair or replace your vehicle if you are involved in an accident.

Medical Payments

Medical payments coverage can compensate you for medical bills you incur if you or anyone in your vehicle is injured in an accident.

Personal Injury Protection

Finally, there is personal injury protection which is not available in every state. Personal injury protection can cover medical expenses, much like medical payments coverage.

What Are the Minimum Coverage Requirements for 17-Year-Old Drivers?

Each state has minimum car insurance requirements as well as minimum dollar amounts for 1) bodily injury per person, 2) bodily injury per accident, and 3) property damage per accident.

When reviewing insurance policies, you might see “BI” and “PD,” which are shorthand for bodily injury and property damage. If you see figures next to it that refer to the minimum dollar amount.

For example, in Alaska, you might see “BI and PD” followed by “25/50/25,” which means the minimum state requirement is bodily injury and property damage liability insurance at a rate of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, 50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and 25,000 in property damage per accident.

49 states require a minimum of liability insurance. New Hampshire does not, but if you find yourself in an accident, you might be required to have liability insurance as well as uninsured or underinsured protection and medical payments coverage.

Tip: Virginia drivers can opt not to have liability insurance by paying $500 but this means there will be no coverage in the event of an accident.

  • Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, require uninsured/underinsured as well.
  • Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah require additional personal injury coverage.
  • Maine requires medical payments coverage as well.
  • Pennsylvania requires medical benefits coverage.

Tip: South Carolina drivers who qualify can pay $600 instead of keeping uninsured coverage.

How State Laws Determine Ages for Car Insurance

Each state has different laws that determine the minimum age for purchasing car insurance directly. These laws have to do with the legal minimum age for entering into a contract, which an insurance policy is.

In almost every state the minimum age for getting a car insurance policy is 18, but in three states it is higher. The table below shows the minimum ages in each state for getting an individual car insurance policy.

U.S. State Minimum Age
Alabama 19
Alaska 18
Arizona 18
Arkansas 18
California 18
Colorado 18
Connecticut 18
Delaware 18
Florida 18
Georgia 18
Hawaii 18
Idaho 18
Illinois 18
Indiana 18
Iowa 18
Kansas 18
Louisiana 18
Maine 18
Maryland 18
Massachusetts 18
Michigan 18
Minnesota 18
Mississippi 21
Missouri 18
Montana 18
Nebraska 19
Nevada 18
New Hampshire 18
New Jersey 18
New Mexico 18
New York 18
North Carolina 18
North Dakota 18
Ohio 18
Oklahoma 18
Oregon 18
Pennsylvania 18
Rhode Island 18
South Carolina 18
South Dakota 18
Tennessee 18
Texas 18
Utah 18
Vermont 18
Virginia 18
Washington 18
West Virginia 18
Wisconsin 18
Wyoming 18

What Is the Average Cost of Car Insurance for a 17-Year-Old?

The average cost for a 17 year old will vary dramatically based on where you live, which insurance provider you choose, and which discounts are applied. For example the average annual cost for a 17 year old in Alabama is 2,800 whereas the average annual cost from the same provider in California is $3,520.

The table below shows the average monthly premium for a full coverage policy for a 17 year old who has their own policy, not one combined with an adult parent or guardian.

Insurance Brand Average monthly premium for 17 year old
USAA $283
Allstate $567
Geico $304
Progressive $788
State Farm $309
Farmers $716

Insurance Type

The six insurance types outlined above will impact the cost. Full coverage averages $4,211 annually compared to the basic liability coverage of $1,407 annually. Full coverage includes collision and comprehensive.

Similarly, the required bodily injury and property damage minimums for each state heavily influenced the average premium for each state.

Michigan, for example, requires $50,000 for bodily injury per person, an additional $250,000 for personal injury protection, and 1 million for personal property.

By comparison, Louisiana only requires a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury per person and $25,000 for property damage per accident, which means the premiums are significantly lower in Louisiana compared to Michigan for the same 17-year-old.


Gender also impacts car insurance age restrictions and price. In most states, car insurance prices for a 17-year-old male average 9% higher than car insurance prices for a 17-year-old female.

The average car insurance rates for a 17-year-old male are over $7,000 annually but only $6,400 for a female.

Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive for 17-Year-Olds?

Car insurance is expensive for 17-year-olds because young drivers are inexperienced and more likely to get into accidents.

  • Young drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents and fatal car accidents which increases their insurance risks.
  • Young drivers have very little driving histories so insurance companies can’t accurately judge their driving behavior yet which puts them at a higher risk.
  • 17-year-olds are more likely to be distracted while behind the wheel, texting or talking on the phone.
  • Teenagers are also more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior.

Is Car Insurance for a 17-Year-Old Cheaper on a Family Policy?

Generally speaking, car insurance for a 17-year-old is cheaper on a family policy because families can receive discounts for multi-person and multi-vehicle policies.

What Affects the Cost of Car Insurance for 17-Year-Old Drivers?

Several factors impact the cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old.


Car insurance costs start to decrease after 25. Several companies offer gradual discounts on costs for milestones such as 19 and 21, owing to the fact that the longer an individual is a driver, the more experience they have and, therefore, the safer they will be.

However, costs will still remain relatively high under the age of 21 because of the risks involved in young drivers.

Drivers between 16 and 25 account for 43% of fatal car accidents impaired by alcohol, according to the Insurance Information Institute.


Male teen drivers are more likely to utilize unsafe driving tactics and find themselves involved in car accidents, so male drivers who are 17 will pay more than their female counterparts.

Male drivers account for 66% of teen crash fatality rates compared to females, according to the IIHS.


Car insurance rates will fluctuate based on the state and the city. Drivers in big cities will face higher rates than those who live out in the country, where car accidents are less likely because of the reduced population.

Type of car

The type of car you have directly influences the cost. For example, a 17-year-old driving a red vehicle or a new sports car is more likely to speed. This means they are more likely to get tickets for speeding. Those will increase the premiums. Similarly, driving a newer vehicle comes with higher insurance costs.

Important: Brighter colored cars, like green or blue, are the least expensive to insure because they are less likely to be stolen.

Driving history

The cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old will go up or down depending on driving history. If teenagers have a history of involvement in car accidents or multiple speeding tickets, it will result in higher insurance premiums. But the opposite is true: a teenager can receive discounts for safe driving and a clean record.

Coverage amount

Different states have several minimum requirements for car insurance coverage. The higher the coverage amount, the higher the premiums will be, and this can affect the cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old, especially if the vehicle being driven by the 17-year-old is a family vehicle and needs coverage appropriate for several drivers.


Some policy options, like comprehensive coverage, have deductibles. If you choose car insurance that comes with deductibles, the higher your deductible, the lower the monthly premium and vice versa.

Tips for Saving Money on Car Insurance at 17

So how can you save money as a 17-year-old getting car insurance?

Get Insurance on a Parent Policy

While you legally can get a separate policy with your parents co-signing, getting car insurance under an existing parent policy will offer multi-person and multi-vehicle discounts.

Apply Discounts

You should also look for discounts such as completing safe driving programs, maintaining good grades, and applying limited usage to a given vehicle.

Drive Affordable Cars

The type of vehicle you drive will directly influence the cost you pay. The Honda CRV, the Subaru Crosstrek, and the Jeep Wrangler JL Sport are three of the least expensive cars. The color of your car can also influence the cost of premiums because brighter-colored, more noticeable vehicles are less likely to be stolen due to how much they stand out and how difficult it is to covertly resell them.

So a brightly colored Honda CRV is your best bet.

Decrease Coverage and Increase Deductibles

Where you can, decrease your coverage to the minimum. If you have coverage with deductibles, you can increase the deductible and, in exchange, see a reduction in your monthly premiums.

Tip: If you increase your deductible, try saving the difference in your monthly premiums. Setting this amount aside will help you build the deductible amount in the event of an accident.

Don’t spring for comprehensive collision coverage if you have a cheaper car. They will, at most, reimburse you for the value of the vehicle minus the damage. You can save a lot of money maintaining the minimum liability coverage on an older car.

Compare Quotes

As a 17-year-old, you will need help from an adult (unless you are emancipated) to do this, but it still pays to compare insurance quotes and find the company with the most favorable policy.

What Discounts Are Available for 17-Year-Olds?

Many discounts can be combined to offer cost savings for teens.

Note: Most insurance providers will let you combine as many discounts as fit your circumstances, including good student discounts, safe driving discounts, and limited driving discounts.

Good Student Discounts

Good student discounts are awarded based on grade point average. These are typically offered for teens who are still in high school and college, under the age of 25. Each insurance company differs slightly, but you can get significantly reduced insurance coverage if you maintain a high enough GPA.

Student Away From Home

Once a teenager goes to college, certain family vehicles might not be driven as often, and that’s where the student away-from-home discounts apply. A 17-year-old who heads off to college but only drives a family vehicle when they visit home on the weekends or holidays can receive discounts for limited driving.

Mileage Tracking Discounts

Tangentially there are mileage tracking discounts that can apply to when you drive, not just how often. These discounts might apply to drivers who avoid high-risk hours such as 12:00 a.m. through 4:00 a.m. on weekends when accident rates are higher.

Safe Driving Discounts

Many insurance providers offer safe driving discounts for teenagers. This typically requires things like:

  1. Participation in safe driving courses and/or
  2. A device or app to monitor driving

The physical devices or apps get plugged into your vehicle, and they monitor things like:

  • Speed
  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Phone usage while driving

All of these items factor into how safe a driver you are. Unexpected hard-breaking because of something jumping into the road is excused a few times, but if you habitually break too hard, it can be indicative of poor driving and not paying attention to the obstacles in front of you.

Most of these programs come with regular reports based on the data that’s collected so you can see where you might want to improve your driving habits and how you can save more. The table below explains some of the common safe driving discounts you can get at different insurance companies.

Company Program How it Works What Discounts You Get
Nationwide’s Smart Ride Program A device is plugged into the car to regularly monitor driving habits and provide feedback on safe driving tips. The safer a driver is, the more they save. Offers discounts for safe driving habits to students and teens.
Save 10% instantly and up to 25% if you drive a vehicle on a limited basis.
Progressive’s Snapshot Program You either have a plug-in device or the mobile app depending on the state in which you live. The mobile app will monitor how often you use your phone while driving and what you do such as hard braking or hard accelerating while on the road. Then it gives you email updates and personalized savings based on how safe a driver you are. Gives discounts for those who avoid driving between 12a.m. and 4a.m. on weekends, limiting driving, and how safely you drive
State Farm’s Steer Clear Program This is only available for those under the age of 25 who don’t have moving violations or accidents for the last 3 years and complete the program.

It requires an app where you watch safe driving videos, participate in quizzes, and record your driving.

You get a discount if you download the app and complete all the safe driving videos and quizzes within the first 6 months of the program.

It regularly monitors your driving and offers discounts on a continual basis too for safe driving.

How to Get Car Insurance as a 17-Year-Old?

As a 17-year-old, getting insurance will look slightly different depending on whether you are:

  1. Being added to a family policy or
  2. Getting your own policy

Being Added to a Family Policy

If you are being added to a family policy, the steps are fairly simple: Have the adult policyholder contact their insurance provider and ask that you be added. Your parents will likely have to sign a consent waiver to facilitate this process.

You can also shop for new providers if your family wants to capitalize on teen-friendly discounts from competing companies.

Getting Your Own Policy

If you are getting your own policy, then you have more flexibility in terms of where you get your coverage. You can submit requests for quotes from multiple companies by providing basic data such as:

  • Your name
  • Your age
  • The state in which you live
  • The type of car you have

Note: If you are under the age of 18, you cannot receive online quotes, and you will have to call several providers directly to receive personalized quotes before you sign your contract.

As a 17-year-old, obtaining quotes from multiple insurance companies and taking advantage of discounts is essential. The more companies from which you obtain a quote, the more likely you are to find a company that offers the right discounts for your circumstances.

  • Some discounts apply to safe driving habits. For example, if a 17-year-old takes a class on safe driving, their insurance provider might reduce the premiums.
  • Other discounts apply to things like good grades. Students who maintain certain grade point averages are likely to receive reduced premiums from many insurance providers.

The table below gives examples of ways teenagers can cut costs with USAA insurance.

Driver Training USAA SafePilot Good Student Discount Multi-Vehicle Discount
Teenagers who complete eligible driver training courses can receive a discount. In select states drivers can download a safe pilot app to monitor their driving habits and receive discounts for good driving. Teenagers with consistently good grades can receive good student discounts. Policyholders with multiple vehicles can receive multi-vehicle discounts so teenagers added to a parent policy can qualify for multi-vehicle discounts.

Can a 17-Year-Old Legally Buy and Own a Car?

There are some situations where a 17-year-old can legally own a car. However, most of these involve private transactions or close family members.

  • In all 50 states, you must be 18 to buy a car from a lender with an auto loan.
  • In Alabama and Nebraska, you must be 19 to enter into a contract, like the contract to buy a car.
  • Mississippi has the highest age limit for contracts: 21.
  • Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California will let 17-year-olds register car titles in their names, but they cannot legally get an auto loan for a car. The only other options are to pay cash, have a parent buy the car, or receive a car as a gift.

For starters, unless a teenager is emancipated, they cannot buy a car with an auto loan from a lender. Emancipated teens with legal emancipation can purchase vehicles in all 50 states.

Some states allow 17-year-olds to have the title to a car in their name. The title, called the pink slip, is the legal form that determines the owner of a vehicle.

A few states let teenagers own vehicles by having their name on the title, but that means the teenager is responsible for registering the vehicle within their state, making sure they pass inspections, and paying any taxes.

All 50 states require drivers to hold insurance, and this is where things get a bit trickier. Only emancipated 17-year-olds are allowed to take out their own insurance policy on a vehicle.

So, a 17-year-old in Texas might be allowed to save up and buy an old car with cash and register the car in their name. That teenager will be able to walk out the door with the pink slip and full ownership of the vehicle. However, they won’t be able to get insurance on the vehicle and, therefore, legally drive it without an adult unless they are emancipated.

Can a 17-Year-Old Emancipated Kid Get Their Own Car Insurance?

Yes, a 17-year-old emancipated kid can get their own car insurance. However, they must be legally emancipated.

Emancipation is a legal process whereby someone under the age of 18 becomes independent of their parents and is granted the same rights and statuses as an adult.

A 17-year-old emancipated kid is allowed to own insurance because they are granted the same contractual rights as adults, which means they can enter into a legally binding contract with an insurance company. A regular 17-year-old who is not emancipated still requires parental consent if they are under the age of 18 and will have to be on someone else’s insurance.

Best Car Insurance Companies for 17-Year-Old

State Farm

State Farm is considered one of the top car insurance companies for 17-year-olds because their rates average over 30% below the national premiums.

They also have some of the highest discounts for teenagers, including safe driving discounts that can drop premiums by up to 30%, educational programs, and good student discounts. They come highly reviewed and provide several multi-vehicle discounts for 17-year-olds who are getting coverage under a parent policy.


Geico is almost equally less expensive than the national average, but they have a better selection of coverage options and more discounts for young drivers.

17-year-old drivers can enjoy multi-vehicle discounts, usage-based discounts for limited driving, and discounts if they complete safe driving education, maintain good grades, or have a new vehicle. Geico comes highly reviewed, particularly where customer service is involved.


USAA is the least expensive of all car insurance providers for 17-year-olds, but it’s only available to military members, military family members, and veterans. Those who qualify can get coverage themselves or under a parent policy and receive great customer service across all 50 states and internationally.

17-year-olds can get additional services like the proprietary vehicle helpline no matter where they are and in-person assistance at all military installations. There are several discounts for 17-year-olds, such as safe driving, usage-based programs, and discounts for those who maintain good grades.


Do you need car insurance as a 17-year-old driver?

Yes, all drivers need insurance. As a 17-year-old, you will need insurance coverage if you have a vehicle. The only exception to this is if you are driving someone else’s car once, not regularly, and they have comprehensive coverage that includes any additional drivers.

Can you get car insurance without a black box as a 17-year-old?

Yes, you can easily get car insurance without a black box as a 17-year-old and simply capitalize on other discounts like good student discounts or pay a higher premium. A handful of providers will offer the same types of discounts without an actual black box in exchange for downloading an app and plugging your phone in when you drive.

Where can a 17-year-old buy auto insurance?

Several insurance companies can offer competitive rates for 17-year-olds, including USAA, Geico, Allstate, Nationwide, and Progressive.

As a 17-year-old, it’s important to receive multiple quotes from several insurance providers and go with the one that has the most affordable premiums, best coverage options, and discounts.

Can a 17-year-old buy a car from a private seller?

Yes, 17-year-olds can buy cars from private sellers if they are emancipated and have full contractual rights as an adult. If you are not emancipated, most states require that the vehicle is in the name of someone 18 years or older, so you will need a parent or other adult to have the vehicle in their name until you turn 18 because most vehicle purchases require an auto loan which is illegally binding contract only available to adults over the age of 18.

Can you add a 17-year-old to an existing car insurance policy?

Most insurance providers will allow you to add a 17-year-old to existing policies. You will generally have to increase the coverage you have or pay slightly more in your monthly premiums to do so.

Can you transfer a car title to a 17-year-old?

Yes, most states will allow you to transfer a car title to a 17-year-old. In Florida, for example, there is no minimum age requirement to possess a car title, but a 17-year-old will still need an adult parent or guardian to co-sign the title.

At what age will car insurance rates start to go down?

Most car insurance rates drop at the age of 25, but several providers offer slight discounts at increments like 19 and 21. Car insurance rates remain high for teenagers because those under the age of 25 are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents.

Will safe driving influence the cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old driver?

Yes, safe driving influences the cost of car insurance for 17-year-olds. Many insurance providers offer progressive discounts based on driving activity monitored by a plug-in device like a black box or an app used with a phone. The data gathered from these devices regularly updates the price of premiums in exchange for safe driving. Tangentially, involvement in accidents or getting tickets will increase the cost of insurance for a 17 year old, so safe driving that avoids both of these can bring down the costs.


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