Can I get my own car insurance at 16?

You can get your own insurance at 16, but, in most cases, you will be better off being added to your parents' auto insurance policy. Since auto insurance companies consider young drivers high-risk, auto insurance rates for teens are often relatively high. So staying on your parents' insurance policy is a great way to save money.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Dec 8, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • If you are still living at home and under 21, you can stay on your parents’ insurance until you leave home
  • Whether you get your car insurance should be partly determined by whether you own your own car
  • Consider temporary insurance if you are only driving your parents’ car or use their insurance for now
  • As a teenager, you are considered a different driver type than an average adult
  • Shop and compare to see what’s available once you get your insurance

If you are a brand new driver or getting ready to take your driver’s test, you may be wondering if you need to get your own car insurance when you begin driving and can you be denied auto insurance.

It’s easy to use our comparison tool for car insurance quotes; just enter your ZIP code here!

Do I need insurance?

If you still have your permit, you may not need to do anything. You are probably automatically covered under your parents’ insurance. If you are concerned about this, simply ask your parents to contact their car insurance company to see if it is necessary to report you on their insurance.

If you already have your license, then you do need to be covered, as this is required by law in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia.

There are even laws in those two states as well, but they do not need actual car insurance.

When you turn 16, you are still able to be counted on your parents’ insurance, but you will need to make sure you are registered under their policy.

If your mom or dad has not informed your insurance company yet, you should ask them to call to find out.

It is against the law to fail to have insurance when driving, and you may be asked to provide your insurance information at any time. You must also carry proof of insurance in your car with you at all times.

But if you are still under 21 and are living at home, you are fully covered by being listed on your parents’ car insurance.

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How to Be Legal While Driving

Once you discover that you are indeed on your parents’ insurance, you will just need to follow these steps to be legal on the road:

  • Get a copy of your insurance card – Even if you are fully covered by your parents’ insurance, you will still need a copy of your coverage to carry with you at all times. You also have a responsibility to make sure your parents’ coverage meets the mandatory requirements of your state.
  • Make sure the car insurance company has your information – Some teens who are covered by their parents’ insurance do not yet own their vehicle. But if you already have a car, you will need to make sure your car with make and model are indicated on your insurance that you have through your parents.
  • Insurance follows the car – You will only have the amount of coverage that your parent has on their vehicle you are driving.  Some additional coverage you might want could include roadside assistance or comprehensive coverage.
  • Keep a clean driving record – One of the biggest mistakes young drivers make is that they get through their driver’s test fine but then mess up their driving record too soon by distracted/reckless driving When you get your own insurance, these bad behaviors will come back to haunt you.


What if I have an accident?

If you have a car accident, traffic violation, or other problem while driving, your parents’ insurance will go up, which is why some insurance companies recommend that parents keep their children on their insurance until they are 21.

There is a motivation among teens to watch their driving habits more if their parents are going to be immediately notified about it via their insurance.

Which is cheaper: my parents’ insurance or mine?

You will want to dig in and do some of your own research to find out which insurance is cheaper. It helps to use sites like ours to look at the various types of insurance coverage and companies.

Then — to make sure you cover all of the bases — create a list of the types of coverage you will need.

You will usually find that your parents’ insurance will go up when they add you to their insurance.

However, as long as your driving record remains clean, it should not affect it a great deal.

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What will happen when I get my insurance?

Once you go with your insurance, you will pay much more per month due to carrying your car on your individual insurance.

The idea of staying on your parents’ insurance until you are at least 21 is good because it puts you on your parents’ insurance until you get out of the higher risk group.

The 21-24 age group is also a high-risk group, but you may be able to get some discounts once you reach that age.

Talk to Your Parents

Communicate with your parents about your insurance options to determine the best course of action.

Whether you get your own insurance should be partly based on whether you are getting your own vehicle.

Technically, you can stay on your parents’ insurance even with your car, but talking to your parents about this can help you make a better decision.

Best Advice of All

The best advice for a new driver is to keep your eyes on the road, avoid distractions, and think about the future. The future may involve a lot of things, such as who your friends will be, where you will go to college, and your future job or career.

But the most important thing is that you drive safely so that you will live to see that future and avoid legal problems.

Driving safely and defensively also protects you from exorbitant premium rates later when you get your car and insurance. Think of this time as a time to test drive your responsibility on the road.

But remember, it’s not a game.

If you or your parents are in need of car insurance, click here to get car insurance quotes!

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