Ageism and car insurance

It’s only a number, sure. But how old you are can hugely affect your auto insurance rates.

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Don’t like how much you’re paying for car insurance? There’s one surefire way to pay less: Get older. Did you know that people ages 56 and older pay an average of $4,492 less in premiums each year than someone younger than 18?

If you’re wondering how and why your age affects car insurance, compare car insurance rates by age to find out how much the “youth tax” could cost you.

Then, check out how those rates compare to car accident statistics for different ages. After all, the fewer car accidents you have, the less car insurance companies have to charge you to make a profit.

Car insurance costs by age

Age is a top factor that insurers look at when deciding how much you’ll spend on car insurance every year. The reason young people pay more for car insurance is that they’re less experienced and more likely to get involved in a car accident than people older than 26. The good news is that it all gets better with age.

AgeAverage car insurance premium
Under 18$6,932
18-21$3,858
22-25$2,819
26-30$2,555
31-35$2,541
36-45$2,592
46-55$2,465
56+$2,440

How we got these rates

  • 20+ providers available in New York state
  • All NY ZIP codes
  • Currently insured
  • Sedan — 2017 Toyota Camry LE
  • State minimum coverage
  • Good credit

When do insurance rates go down?

Drivers over 55 pay the lowest annual premiums at an average of $2,440. However, drivers between the ages of 26 and 45 have access to the lowest minimum rates of any group — between $596 and $601 a year.

Those rates vary depending on your insurance company. Our research found that Allstate is cheapest for drivers younger than 21, while Travelers offers most other age groups the cheapest coverage. If you’re planning to add a young driver to your policy, you might be better off with Allstate.

Once you hit 18, you could save a whopping $3,074 on average for a standalone car insurance policy. The bad news is that you’ll still pay about $3,858 a year. Your next price drop for car insurance comes between the ages of 22 and 25, where you’ll save another $1,039 in premiums.

How a driver’s age affects car accidents

Experience combined with driving record tells insurance companies a compelling story about how safe of a driver you are. You’re less likely to get in an accident as you get older since age and experience go hand in hand.

By sheer numbers, 21- to 25-year-olds see the highest number of car accidents, both nonfatal and fatal. This age group averages nearly 1.5 million nonfatal accidents and 5,900 fatal accidents per year. Following, 16- to 20-year-olds see the second-highest number of nonfatal crashes at 1.3 million per year. Meanwhile, for fatal crashes, 26- to 30-year-olds come in second with about 5,000 fatal crashes per year.

We sourced these car accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), looking at data from 2010 to 2019.

Total car accidents by age

Age groupDrivers in nonfatal car accidentsDrivers in fatal car accidents
16-2013,256,66041,798
21-2514,809,66859,208
26-3012,178,21450,896
31-3510,586,97043,146
36-409,364,75438,620
41-458,880,66337,440
46-508,647,42138,489
51-558,090,20438,648
56-607,034,36334,580
61-655,281,43926,879
66-703,766,63819,906
71-752,441,36414,482
76-801,615,85210,987

Speeding-related car accidents by age

As a common theme, 21- to 25-year-olds bring the most speeding-related car accidents of any age group. This age category is followed by 26- to 30-year-olds who also tend to drive above the speed limit.

However, accidents caused by zooming around town decline sharply for drivers over age 35.

Age groupDrivers in nonfatal speeding accidentsDrivers in fatal speeding accidents
16-201,580,51812,626
21-252,097,44821,209
26-301,604,74916,805
31-351,337,32313,386
36-401,164,33911,259
41-451,101,31510,211
46-501,042,0919,931
51-55889,0279,247
56-60728,6107,631
61-65527,0005,503
66-70150,9511,784
71-75210,4002,387
76-8063,733805

Drunk driving accidents by age

By no surprise, 21- to 25-year-old drivers cause the most drunk driving fatalities compared to other ages. This group causes 2,187 fatal drunk driving accidents every year.

Coming in at a close second, 1,825 drivers from ages 26 to 30 are involved in deadly drunk driving accidents each year.

However, what’s most surprising is the 9,820 drivers under the legal drinking age who also get into fatal car accidents.

Age groupDrivers involved in fatal drunk driving accidents
16-209820
21-2521871
26-3018253
31-3514779
36-4012539
41-4511371
46-5011243
51-5510378
56-608227
61-655426
66-703278
71-751979
76-801232

Ages most likely to be without a seatbelt during an accident

It turns out that buckling up isn’t second nature to everyone. Over 47% more 21- to 25-year-old drivers get thrown from their vehicles in nonfatal crashes than any other age. In fatal crashes, over 31% more 21- to 25-year-old drivers get thrown from vehicles over other ages.

Getting ejected from a vehicle can happen when a driver or passenger doesn’t wear a seatbelt. We looked at the number of drivers ejected in this case.

Age groupDrivers ejected from vehicle, nonfatalDrivers ejected from vehicle, fatal
16-20156945179
21-25231137577
26-30155355778
31-35132444569
36-4081353742
41-4592833330
46-5069683177
51-5574882962
56-6064352385
61-6538921694
66-7026421213
71-751825825
76-80548

Collision types

Across all collision types, 21- to 25-year-old drivers experience each type of collision the most.

For fatal accidents, collisions that don’t involve other moving vehicles are most common. 21- to 25-year-olds are involved in this fatal crash over 25% more than other ages.

For non-fatal accidents, rear-end collisions are the most common. Here again, 21- to 25-year-olds most often end up in this fender bender.

Thankfully, numbers for all types of accidents start dropping off when drivers turn 36.

Age groupAngleHead-onRear-endSideswipeOther/unknown
16-2011236541628891511250
21-2513775775055692303439
26-3012111726354352148380
31-3510208641351011997355
36-409358562546971821312
41-459361550547261921374
46-509290574349511939328
51-559552581548871900379
56-608954522543151724281
61-657087397932041276221
66-70566030372159916143
71-7546632232138261188
76-804047156597341775
Age groupAngleHead-onRear-endSideswipeOther/unknownNot collision with motor vehicle in transport
16-203,371,844390,2635,202,5511,369,015174,3822,748,605
21-253,616,379409,1655,878,1611,748,056222,3952,935,512
26-302,948,315335,6144,972,4581,561,891193,7422,166,195
31-352,492,195274,8024,407,0941,396,330197,8731,818,676
36-402,225,288250,5343,920,3671,245,412175,0951,548,059
41-452,080,119221,9853,731,9841,241,904173,8931,430,780
46-502,028,184224,2293,641,6911,218,917168,9701,365,430
51-551,951,797212,9913,302,0701,159,271164,0311,300,044
56-601,737,640183,7962,801,2961,056,920141,9971,112,715
61-651,397,660140,8322,055,541760,523116,378810,504
66-701,061,712105,5391,384,637568,70480,415565,632
71-75758,43277,521834,775364,13157,939348,567
76-80550,03553,300504,650239,32236,780231,765

Time of day

Contrary to popular belief, most people get into car accidents during the day, especially nonfatal accidents. In fact, drivers across most ages experience nonfatal crashes two to three times more during the day than at night.

However, fatal accidents are a different story. Drivers from ages 16 to 35 get into fatal accidents most often at night. Around age 36 is when the numbers switch to more fatalities during the day versus night.

Age groupDayNightUnknown
16-2019,22722,365206
21-2523,55635,331321
26-3022,20728,408281
31-3520,37422,574198
36-4019,28619,157177
41-4519,63817,648154
46-5020,93117,391167
51-5522,10116,380167
56-6020,97813,446156
61-6517,3789,376125
66-7013,7946,02191
71-7510,6393,78855
76-808,6142,32746
Age groupDayNight
16-209,106,3314,150,329
21-2510,005,7804,803,888
26-308,542,0223,636,192
31-357,641,6442,945,326
36-406,898,0782,466,676
41-456,578,5992,302,065
46-506,471,4832,175,938
51-556,113,4471,976,758
56-605,422,4041,611,959
61-654,183,6901,980,760
66-703,033,281733,356
71-752,015,887425,477
76-801,358,883256,969

Day of week

Friday stands as the worst day for car accidents across most age groups. However, on any day of the week, 21- to 25-year-olds see the most car accidents of any age.

The disparity between this group and other ages is the greatest on Saturday. On Saturdays, 21- to 25-year-olds get in an average of 192,000 accidents per year, over 15% more than other ages.

Age groupSundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
16-201,374,8991,875,9721,989,8102,005,8982,033,4602,349,8921,668,527
21-251,600,2302,125,4852,208,1652,236,4942,227,8022,547,0551,923,645
26-301,229,6491,759,7881,861,8141,871,7991,906,6002,107,3291,492,130
31-35986,1271,572,7221,672,5131,648,4061,658,7931,832,5601,258,994
36-40840,8441,415,9031,493,0411,452,9081,490,6021,616,3381,093,740
41-45794,7141,314,2921,431,3131,415,0671,393,9451,521,4091,047,365
46-50751,3081,300,7821,370,0221,371,2841,370,8351,500,4041,021,355
51-55691,2491,220,0131,303,6541,252,1771,307,2871,397,738956,732
56-60590,6791,062,0631,151,1951,132,1721,105,4041,205,818821,611
61-65439,478799,718847,161831,380849,347924,992616,241
66-70326,760560,709592,833594,197607,228649,793455,022
71-75212,031349,659387,602395,239408,886431,391271,038
76-80144,598255,580260,384251,141266,544266,018182,573

Why older drivers pay less on car insurance

The reason older drivers pay less on average for insurance — leaving younger drivers ages 18 to 22 to pay some 50% more on premiums — comes down to statistics.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those older than 20. Young drivers are also less experienced and more likely to speed.

All of this informs why insurers charge those younger than 18 over 50% more than someone between the ages of 18 and 22. But what can you do to spare your wallet if you’re younger than 18?

How you can save on car insurance

While getting older saves you money on car insurance, cut down on the cost of premiums at any age by comparing your options. And when shopping around for car insurance, keep an eye out for discounts that include:

  • Good student
  • Pay in full
  • Safe driver
  • No-claims bonus
  • Multiple cars
  • Mileage based
  • Safety devices
  • Homeowner
  • Loyalty
  • Antitheft

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