How Much is Car Insurance for a 21 Year Old?

Last Updated on January 25, 2021

It is no secret that car insurance for young adults is very expensive. The younger you are, and the more inexperienced you are as a driver, the higher your insurance rates will be. In fact, car insurance premiums drop by about $400 per 6-month policy period between the ages of 21 and 25.

A 21-year-old driver on his or her own car insurance policy can expect to pay $1199 for six months of insurance coverage. Therefore, if you have recently found yourself on your own and off of your parents’ car insurance policy, you could be looking at some steep prices for auto insurance. Here is a breakdown of what makes car insurance for 21-year-olds expensive and ways that you can save.

How Much is Car Insurance for a 21 Year Old?

Why You Pay More for Insurance

You may be wondering why you pay more for car insurance as a 21-year-old than a 22-year-old or somebody even older does. The answer is fairly simple. You are not yet an experienced driver. But the full answer is more complex. Auto insurance rates are primarily based on risk. Insurance companies use a number of statistics to determine what constitutes risk. Statistics show that drivers age 21 are more likely to get citations, and they are more likely to have accidents. Based on those statistics and other factors, you will probably pay a lot more for auto insurance than your parents.

Average Rates for 21-Year-Old Drivers by State

The rates that 21-year-olds will pay for car insurance vary by state. Each state has different laws and requirements that play a role in determining insurance rates. Below are the average rates for full coverage auto insurance policies for 21-year-olds, by state.

StateAverage Annual Premiums
North Carolina$1,715
North Dakota$2,405
New Hampshire$1,763
New Jersey$3,014
New Mexico$2,527
New York$3,040
Rhode Island$3,390
South Carolina$2,515
South Dakota$2,429
Washington, D.C.$3,464
West Virginia$2,684

What Factors Come Into Play?

There are many factors that come into play when calculating how much car insurance will cost for a 21-year-old besides your age. Some of these factors you can control, while others you cannot. Consider these things when budgeting for car insurance.

  • Gender: It is a sad reality that men pay on average 1 percent more for auto insurance throughout their lives than women. Yet this gender gap can be even larger for younger drivers. If you are male and under 25, be prepared to pay more for car insurance than women in the same situation.
  • Education: Car insurance companies see people with education as being more responsible and less likely to file a claim. For this reason, you can save on your car insurance if you hold a degree. If you started college at 18, you probably have a degree at 21 or 22. You can expect to save even more if you maintain good grades while at school.
  • Credit: Your credit score can affect your car insurance premium, depending on the insurer you use. Car insurance companies often view people with bad credit as a higher risk, because statistically, bad credit leads to higher and more frequent claims. If you have bad credit due to student loans, you might find yourself paying more for auto insurance.
  • Location: What state you live in, and where you live within that state, also has an effect on your car insurance rates. If you live in a college town with a lot of young drivers on the road, you’ll pay more for your car insurance than you would in a rural town or even a major city.
  • Your Vehicle: The type of vehicle you have plays a large role in how much your insurance premiums will be, especially as a young driver. If you try to insure a car with a high value, high performance, or off-roading ability, you should expect to pay quite a bit for car insurance.

Ways You Can Save on Your Auto Insurance Rates

Now that you understand why auto insurance for 21-year-olds is more expensive, here’s a breakdown of what you can do to save money. There are a lot of discounts available these days depending on the car insurance company you buy from. Some of the most common discounts 21-year-olds qualify for include:

  • Good Driver Discount: If you’ve been driving for at least three years and you have had no violations or accidents in that time, you might qualify for a good driver discount.
  • Good Student Discount: If you are still in school and maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA you may qualify for a student discount. Sometimes you’ll have to present your report card or school transcript to get this discount, so don’t lie!
  • Student Away From Home Discount: If you live at school and only drive when you are at home with your parents, you can get a significant discount on your monthly rates.
  • Driving Education: In some states, you can get a discount on your car insurance if you take a defensive driving course or driver’s education course. Ask your insurance agent for a list of qualified courses you can enroll in to secure this discount.
  • Driving Habits: Some car insurance companies have an app that you can download on your smartphone to help you save money on your car insurance. The app monitors how hard you brake, how fast you accelerate, your average speed, and other factors. If you are rated a good driver based on the data you could get a discount.
  • Safety Feature Discount: Many insurers give extra discounts if your vehicle is equipped with certain safety features. Airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control systems, and daytime running lights are all features that sometimes warrant discounts.
  • Low Mileage Discount: If you don’t drive often, you can save a lot on your monthly premiums. Many companies give discounts to drivers who drive fewer than 7,000 miles annually. If you are a student that lives on campus or only drives when you go back home, there is a good chance you qualify for this discount.

The Bottom Line – Car Insurance Rates for a 21-Year-Old

The national average cost for auto insurance for 6 months for a 21-year-old is $1199. If you can, stay on your parent’s policy as long as possible to save money on car insurance. You will pay less to your parents paying the difference than you will for a policy on your own. You can also save a bundle on insurance if you maintain a clean driving record and avoid accidents. Shop around for the best rates every 6 months to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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