auto insurance for a young AND new driver?
August 13, 2019 11:34 PM   Subscribe

Have you or anyone you know ever gotten auto insurance for a new driver under 21 who can't be added to their parents' plan? Or is it just a really bad idea?

A young family friend of mine just got her driver license (last week!) and now she wants to buy a cheap car and drive to college (about 25 miles away via freeway!!). I don't think it's practical or realistic (and probably downright risky at this point) - I can't even imagine what her car insurance must cost since she is:

-under 21
-has no credit history
-a new driver (so no driving history)
-can't be covered by her parents' insurance (they live abroad)

Have you or anyone you know ever gotten auto insurance this way? Do you know any auto insurance carriers in SoCal that would cover such drivers?

Or should I just try to convince her to give up this (crazy to me) idea? I feel like even if she buys a super cheap car, the cost of auto insurance + gas + maintenance will be astronomical in this case but I have no clue how astronomical it would be.
posted by Sparkling Natural Mineral Water to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I did it in the mid-99s and the rates weren’t bad at all - I paid for it with a part-time minimum wage job - but I imagine things have changed since then.
posted by okayokayigive at 3:17 AM on August 14, 2019

My 19 year old daughter has her own car with her own insurance that does not elaborate e to me at all (I don’t have a car at the moment). She has a brand new car and the insurance is $400/month (in Ontario, so YMMV). When we were pricing it out, it was far cheaper to insure a new car with safety features than an older car. Call up an insurance broker and get quotes for free. She also just got her piece CS less than 3 months ago and has already done one 16 hour round-trip road trip and drives the 401 (the busiest highway in North America) on a regular basis. Your friend should be able to handle 25 miles on a freeway - it is safer than driving in town usually as it is controlled.
posted by saucysault at 4:01 AM on August 14, 2019

Anyone who can’t manage 25 freeway miles safely still needs to be on a learners permit and not yet licensed.

Also she wants to drive to college. Has she costed out the price of keeping her car at school? Many campuses in California make life miserable and expensive for students who drive cars to campus. (For faculty too.) Parking will be the big cost.
posted by spitbull at 5:16 AM on August 14, 2019

Also there is no such thing as a “super cheap car.” You pay one way or the other.
posted by spitbull at 5:18 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I did this as a teenager because my custodial parent never had a driver's license. My experience/costs were similar to saucysault's daughter's, albeit nearly 20 years ago but in the same province. I owned a beater when I first got my license, and a late-model car a couple years later - insurance was similarly expensive on both cars. That said, in my case it was justified because I was driving family around as well as driving to work; subsidizing my car ownership costs while I was away at university made less sense because I didn't really need a car there.

She should be aware that in the future, her cost to insure a car will always be higher than that of her peers if she is not continuously insured on someone's policy. Even in my case, going more than 2 years without owning a car means that most insurers treat me as a new driver despite having had a license since my teens.

There is a lot of unexamined privilege in assuming that teenagers necessarily have parents who can drive, own a car, and have insurance. This is crap that will continue to influence her transportation choices for years to come.
posted by blerghamot at 7:52 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I got my own as a teenager, but that was 25 years ago! My son researched costs a couple years ago and it was super expensive, but not a heck of a lot more expensive than adding him to my policy. Go on Geico and get a free quote online for the sort of car she's considering; they cover solo teenagers in my area, but YMMV.
posted by metasarah at 8:59 AM on August 14, 2019

I bought a beater, insured it and started a commute that was a 50 mile round trip. I had passed my test a few years earlier but never driven with any regularity and not at all in the last four years. I had no driving history in the country I was in and was 22. It was fine. This plan is an excellent way for her to learn about the various costs associated with owning and running a car and how to buy car insurance.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2019

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