Understanding California insurance requirements, discounts, costs, and more for first-time drivers

If you’re the parent of a first-time driver, ‌you have probably considered the car insurance coverage you’ll need for them. By understanding what’s required for California first-time drivers, you can set yourself and your teen up for success. In this article, we’ll cover the basics — everything you need to know about car insurance in California for first-time drivers.

Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers in California

Before your first-time driver gets behind the wheel and out on the open road, your car will need adequate insurance. Simply put, car insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company of your choice to protect you against financial loss in the event of an accident, theft, or incident beyond your control. In exchange for your paying a premium, the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as outlined within your policy.

Your car insurance can cover vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and damages or injuries you may cause. This includes injuries to yourself, passengers of your vehicle, or other drivers. Your car insurance can also help protect you if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you. Driving without insurance can result in fines, license suspension, or possibly even jail time. Any legitimate car insurer will help you ‌select a policy that will at least meet the California state requirements.

California Minimum Requirements for Driving Insurance

According to Geico, In the state of California, motorists are required to have at least the following auto insurance coverages:

Bodily injury liability coverage. This refers to the other party’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages resulting from an accident caused by you or your child. The following coverage is required in California:

  • $15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident minimum.

Property damage liability coverage. This will help cover damages to someone else’s property that result from an accident that you (or anyone driving your vehicle) caused.

  • $5,000 minimum.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This coverage, also known as UMBI, pays for certain expenses for you (and/or members of your household) injured because of the negligence of an uninsured motorist. This can include medical bills, disability, and death benefits resulting from an accident up to the limits of the coverage you purchased.

  • $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum.

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: Also known as UMPD, this coverage will help protect you on the road if someone else hits you who does not have insurance or is underinsured.

  • $3,500 minimum.

While nobody wants to ‌use their auto insurance, it is required by the state of California to have these policies and coverage in place in the event of an accident.

How Much is Car Insurance for a Teen?

Car insurance for first-time drivers can be expensive. Since teens are new to the road and its rules, insurers want to ensure that their policy will fully cover anything if they are ever in an accident. The insurance companies consider teen drivers a higher risk because of their lack of experience (and their higher likelihood of causing an accident).

According to Quote Wizard, several factors play into the cost of insurance for a teen. If a parent wants to add a teen driver to their insurance, they can expect to pay approximately $167 more monthly. However, if the teen has their own policy, they can expect to pay closer to $370 a month.

Age and gender also play a crucial role in the cost of auto insurance for teens. By adding an 18-year-old female to an existing policy, you could expect to add ~$2,100 a year. However, if you were to add an 18-year-old male, you could expect to pay $2,600 extra a year. It costs roughly 13% more to add a male driver than a female driver.

While auto insurance for teenagers can be pricey, you will be glad you have it if you ever need it.

Do Permit Drivers Need Insurance in California?

Getting your driver’s permit is the first step in getting your driver’s license. Since anyone who is driving a vehicle can get in a wreck, a driver in the state of California (even just a permit holder) needs to be fully insured. It allows the DMV to monitor insurance coverage and take appropriate actions, such as vehicle suspension when required. By getting a driver’s permit, the teen has the responsibility to be a safe driver, which includes having auto insurance.

How Will My Teens Ticket Affect My Insurance?

Car accidents are an unfortunate part of driving. With teenagers being so new on the roads, they are more likely to cause one. If your teenager gets into a wreck, you may experience the following:

  • Your teen’s car insurance premium will go up.
  • Your car insurance premium will go up.
  • You and/or your teenager’s car insurance could be canceled by your insurer altogether.

While anyone’s insurance rate goes up if they cause an accident, the price increase is proportionately higher for teens. Even just one accident can cause a significant spike in your insurance premium. Unfortunately, insurance companies may increase your premium even if it was not your teen’s fault for the accident.

If your teenager is listed as a secondary driver for your personal vehicle, the insurance company may also raise your premium. Insurance companies assume that if a teen has caused a wreck in their own vehicle, they might also cause a wreck in yours. This could cause them to increase premium rates across the entire policy.

Does the Age of a Car Impact the Price of Insurance?

Cars lose value as they age, and in doing so, they will usually become cheaper to insure. This is especially true in terms of comprehensive and collision insurance. In general, the newer a car is, the more you can expect to pay for insurance coverage. With newer vehicles having better safety features such as backup cameras and automatic braking, they also typically have higher repair costs. If the car was made overseas, it would cost more to have parts shipped to you if your vehicle needs to be repaired (a cost your insurance company needs to be prepared to cover). This is also a determining factor with insurance prices.

Closing Thoughts: Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers in California

When purchasing a vehicle for your first-time driver or adding them to your insurance, these are all factors you will want to take into consideration. The quote will vary depending on:

  • Vehicle specs: the age, make, and model of the vehicle, its safety ratings, etc.
  • Driver details: the age and gender of your first-time driver.
  • Any applicable discounts: you can occasionally get discounts on first-time driver’s insurance if you can show that your teen gets good grades, has completed driver’s ed training, and more.

By making sure your teen has all the coverage that the state of California requires, you can rest easy, knowing that they will be taken care of in the event of an accident.