It seems to be one of those cosmic realities of life that the younger you are the more you’ll pay for car insurance. Unfortunately, that’s not just a perception either. Age is one of the most important factors in determining car insurance premiums. Exactly how much you’ll pay will largely be affected by your age range.
Let’s take a look at these different age groups and figure out how high (or low) your rates will be.
Average car insurance premiums by age and gender
Below is a chart that summarizes premium information provided by Car Insurance.com. The premium rates quoted are based on standard minimum liability coverage, and are for comparison purposes only:
Liberty Mutual factors your age into the premiums you’ll pay. A 25-year-old male will pay the highest rates, followed by a 25-year-old female. However, as you get older, those rates gradually decrease, dropping by 68% for males and 64% for females by the time you reach age 55.
I found that other factors can bump up or discount your insurance rates up with Liberty Mutual. If you have children, adding them to your policy once they reach adolescence will significantly increase your premiums. On the other hand, if your student gets good grades, you may be eligible for a discount. And if your college-bound teen will rarely be driving, discounts might apply there, as well.
New and teenage drivers
New drivers not only pay more for car insurance than other drivers, but a lot more. If you look at the chart below, a 20-year-old male driver will pay $1,129 per year for standard minimum liability coverage. But by age 30, this drops down to $552. However, a brand-new driver, particularly one who is a teenager, might pay over $1,500.
That might not seem at all fair, but statistics confirm that young drivers are a much higher risk than experienced drivers.
For example, young drivers are more likely to be in accidents. Even though teenagers drive fewer miles on average than adults, they have much higher incidences of both crashes and crashes resulting in death. They’re three times more likely to get into accidents than 20-year-olds are. And while they are less likely to drink than adults, they have a higher incidence of being involved in a crash when they do.
This is mostly due to inexperience. Teenagers are more likely to speed and tailgate, and less likely to wear safety belts. They are also more likely to underestimate the gravity of the situation that they’re in.
For those reasons, teenage drivers pay substantially higher car insurance premiums than other age groups. We’ll offer some suggestions at the end of this article that can help minimize those premiums.
Drivers between 20 and 24
Car insurance rates begin to drop at around age 20. By how much, depends on a variety of factors, including how long you’ve been driving as well as your history of being involved in accidents or in committing traffic violations.
If you’re a new driver age 20 or older, you can still expect to pay more for car insurance than someone of the same age who has been driving for several years.
In fact, car rental companies typically will not allow a driver under the age of 21 to rent a car. And they will charge higher fees for rentals if you are between the ages of 21 and 24.
In the 20 to 24-year-old age bracket car insurance premiums began to decline, but only slowly. The real difference occurs between the ages of 25 and 30.
Drivers between 25 and 65
This is the age range at which car insurance premiums finally become more affordable. Using the same example of a 20-year-old male driver paying $1,129 per year for standard minimum liability coverage, we see that the premium drop to $552 at age 30. That’s a decline of more than 50%!
Of course, that decline is contingent upon a clean driving record. That means no accidents (that are deemed to be your fault), and no traffic citations or DUI episodes. Your rates are also dependent upon the kind of car you drive, as well as the amount of miles that you drive. Geography is another important factor. Car insurance premiums can vary dramatically from one state to another, or even from one city to another within the same state.
Once you reach age 30, car insurance premium rates become relatively stable, declining only slightly through age 60.
Drivers over 65
The situation begins to reverse once you reach your 60s. Car insurance premiums begin to rise slowly from that point forward. It’s not so much that older drivers are more reckless, but rather that their driving is affected by physical changes related to age.
For example, it’s common for older drivers to experience impaired vision, particularly at night. They may also be dealing with various physical conditions, such as arthritis. Many are also using prescription medications, which may impair their judgment.
While there is no evidence that older drivers get involved in more accidents, they are more likely to sustain serious injuries as a result of the accidents that they’re involved in.
Gender also plays a role
Age isn’t the only physical factor that affects car insurance rates. Women generally pay less for car insurance than men do.
This isn’t a form of discrimination, but a recognition of the statistical fact that men are more likely to speed and get involved in serious accidents than women are, particularly at young ages. Males are also more likely to incur traffic violations, as well as participate in drunk driving.
Apart from actual driving behavior, men are more likely to own cars that are considered to be higher risk—like sports cars, for example.
But despite the higher premiums that men typically pay, that result is not necessarily across-the-board. It’s most pronounced among young drivers ages 16 to 24, where male drivers will pay 15% or more than female drivers. Premium rates tend to be slightly more expensive for female drivers at ages 30 and 40. This may be because of pregnancy and the likelihood of driving with small children and the distraction that they create.
So does marital status
Married drivers can pay up to 50% less than single people at the same age. Part of this is because married drivers tend to be more conservative in their driving habits than single people do.
Another important factor is having multiple drivers on the same policy. Since car insurance companies typically give discounts for multiple drivers, a married couple pays less than a single person. This can be especially beneficial if one partner has an impaired driving record, and the other has a clean record.
How to reduce the impact of age on your car insurance rates
Even if you are a young, single, or new driver, there are ways you can lower your car insurance premium.
Here are some strategies to consider:
- Take a driver education course – this is especially beneficial if you’re either a new driver or you have a history of at fault accidents or traffic violations
- As a new or teenage driver, ask about student driving discounts – you usually have to have a good or excellent school record to qualify
- If you are over 65, ask about senior car insurance discounts
- Drive carefully—in most states violations and accidents are dropped from your record after three years
- Consider the car you’re driving – sports cars and high-priced cars naturally carry higher insurance premiums than other vehicles
- When you buy a car, look to add insurance-friendly safety features, like air bags and anti-lock brakes
- If you are a teenage driver, you can usually get a lower premium by being included on your parents’ policy, rather than having a separate policy of your own
- Compare rates. When you shop around for insurance, you’re more likely to get the best rate available for your situation.
Driving carefully and cleaning up your driving history is the single most important step you can take to lower your premium.
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While there are many factors that go into your car insurance premiums, age is by far the most important. Premiums are almost entirely determined by statistics, and certain age groups (teenagers, for example) have worse statistics than others.