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How your driving experience affects your car insurance

The age you got your license could impact the amount you pay for coverage.

Insurance companies view any new driver as an increased risk because of less experience behind the wheel. To compensate for that, you can expect higher rates based on how long you’ve been driving. However, you can still save on your premium.

How long you’ve had your license affects your car insurance rates

Similar to your personal age, how long you’ve held a license shows your experience level to insurance companies. That means those that wait longer to get a license may pay higher rates than other drivers their age.

Also, drivers who wait past a specific age in their state may not have to take driver safety training, which could factor into higher insurance rates.

However, your license age will only be a big factor for the first few years of driving. By the time you hit your late 20s, you shouldn’t see much of a difference whether you got your license at 16 or 17.

How much license age affects your car insurance rates

Insurers may increase your premium until you’ve held your license for several years, but how long depends on the insurance company and possibly the state you live in.

The average car insurance rate across all drivers is about $1,300 per year. However, teenage drivers with little to no experience could pay over $6,000 for insurance. Those who hit age 21 with several years of driving experience could pay between $2,700 to $2,900, a huge decrease due to perceived experience level.

Another factor that may play into that rate is the requirements your state has to get a license, such as minimum licensing age. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), studies show that strict requirements and higher licensing age do lead to fewer collision claims. That means states with high standards may also offer lower rates for inexperienced drivers.

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Why insurers look at license age to decide your car insurance rates

The age of your license may help companies determine risk based on your driving experience. Age and driving experience have a huge influence because young, less experienced drivers have statistically been shown to get into more accidents.

Are there any exclusions?

No. Insurance companies can rightfully use your license age to determine driving risk. However, pay-as-you-go insurance can help companies track your driving habits and rate you more individually. This could work in your favor if you’re a safe driver but can’t get good rates due to your age.

How to get cheap insurance regardless of when you got your license

Even though your driving abilities are just now budding, you don’t have to settle for high insurance rates. You can look into several simple ways to save.

  • Share a policy. Consider joining policies with a more experienced driver, such as your parent or roommate.
  • Take driver training. Even if it’s not required, you could complete safety training for an insurance discount.
  • Use telematics. A policy that uses telematics uses an app or black box device to track your personal driving habits, helping your provider base your rate on your driving rather than experience.
  • Stay claims-free. Nothing says safe driver quite like a sparkling driving record.

Our top pick: Progressive

Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.

  • Broad coverage, including for custom car parts or ridesharing
  • Transparent pricing tools that help you buy within budget
  • Accident forgiveness on small claims or for staying claim-free
  • Stack a variety of discounts for multiple cars, autopay or homeownership

Compare car insurance for drivers under 21

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Enjoy low rates for mature drivers, plus perks like new car replacement and lifetime repair guarantees. Only for drivers over age 50.
USAA
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service. Only available to military members and veterans and their family.
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Bottom line

Similar to your personal age, license age tells an insurance company how much driving experience you have. That’s why you may see an above-average premium for your age if you got your license later than other drivers.

However, the exact premium can differ a lot as you shop multiple providers.

Frequently asked questions about car insurance and license age

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