D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Age is more than just a number when it comes to calculating your insurance rates — it indicates a great deal about a person’s likely driving patterns, experience, and risk behind the wheel.  A driver’s age affects rates and premiums as a key factor, and impacts the average driver’s premium cost.  According to the 2000-2010 ten-year report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on traffic injuries and fatalities, young males are responsible for the majority of high-speed and alcohol-related traffic incidents, injuries, and fatalities, while older drivers pose lower risk of injury-related accidents.  Insurers use data like this among other factors to assess each age group’s risk, and charge them higher or lower premiums accordingly.

Below, we’ve included a handy list that demonstrates how a driver’s age relates to an average premium based on a study cited by Fox News as well as information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Teenagers
Average 6-Month Premium: $3,326
According to Fox News, one major car insurance company in California charges a newly-licensed 16 year old driver at a rate that’s 1.9 times their base premium. And by age 25, drivers can expect the surcharge to disappear completely, followed by discounts off the basic rate after reaching 10 years of driving experience.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that “teenagers’ fatal crashes are more likely to involve speeding than those of older drivers, and teenagers are more likely than drivers of other ages to be in single-vehicle fatal crashes. Plus teenagers do more of their driving in small and older cars  and at night, compared with adults. In 2010, 17 percent of teenagers’ fatalities occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight, and 24 percent occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. Fifty-five percent of teenagers’ fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.”

Additionally, the Insurance Information Institute provides intriguing information on teenage drivers, the risks they pose, and steps that parents can take to keep teen drivers safer on the road.

Age 20-24
Average 6-Month Premium: $2,008
For most insurers, drivers  age 24 and younger are considered in the same category as teenagers as far as their driving habits, risk of accidents, and types of claims in which they are involved.  

Age 25-39
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,537
As drivers age, their lifestyles typically change from late nights and irresponsible driving habits of teenagers to commuting to and from work, errands, and more “adult” driving patterns.  Drivers in this category pose lower risk of crashes, fatalities, high-speed and alcohol-related crashes than their younger teen and early-20s counterparts, but still pose a slightly higher risk as a demographic than drivers over the age of 40.

Age 40-65
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,260
According to a new report published by Fox News, the “sweet spot” concerning age for obtaining the lowest car insurance rates occur after a driver hits 40 years of age, and continues throughout a driver’s lifetime, although rates being climbing back up after hitting the age of 70 or above.

Age 65-69
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,138
So what age sees the lowest average premium cost? That’d be drivers at 65 to 69 years old. Their average annual premium is just $1,138, just 28 percent of what a sixteen year old driver would pay. However, drivers can expect rates to begin rising again after crossing the threshold of 70 years old.

Age 70+
Average 6-Month Premium: $1,454
Older drivers are more likely to cause certain types of accidents, according to the IIHS’s data on older drivers. They report that, “compared with younger drivers, senior drivers are more likely to be involved in certain types of collisions — angle crashes, overtaking or merging crashes, and especially intersection crashes. Among passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010, multiple-vehicle crashes at intersections accounted for 39 percent of the crashes for drivers 80 and older, compared with 17-19 percent for drivers ages 20-49.”

Keep in mind, auto insurance companies consider more than just your age when determining your insurance costs. Your insurance rate also depends on major factors like marital status, credit history, whether or not you have a clean driving record, and more. Safe drivers with a clean record will save a lot on auto insurance. These rating factors vary by company, so make sure to shop around for insurance quotes.

The cost of auto insurance also depends on the types of coverage and the coverage limits included in the policy. If you purchase only the minimum coverage required by your state (usually bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage), you’ll pay considerably less than if you opt for comprehensive coverage, personal injury protection, uninsured motorists coverage, and so forth. But remember, the cheapest car insurance may not give you the type of coverage you need. It’s better to have insurance coverage you don’t need than to need coverage you don’t have.

Make sure to ask an insurance agent about insurance discounts you may be entitled to, as these can significantly lower your monthly payment. Customers can receive discounts for bundling auto policies with homeowners or renters insurance, but there are many different opportunities to save. If you don’t have the best driving history or credit score, insurance discounts can be a big help.