Because of inexperience behind the wheel and risk-taking behaviors, teen drivers have higher insurance rates. Teenagers are also the most likely to be involved in accidents, with 16-year-old drivers over 2.5 times more likely to be in a crash than 20- to 24-year-olds. Racking up tickets or accidents can quickly put your teen driver in the position of having to find SR-22 insurance, which will drive up their insurance costs with higher rates as a hard-to-insure driver.

Your teen driver can lower his car insurance rate by:

  • Maintaining good grades for a Good Student discount
  • Completing a driver’s education course
  • Paying a higher deductible
  • Driving a sensible vehicle (a sedan vs. a sports car)

Steps you can take to lower your teen driver’s car insurance rate:

  • Ask about multiple vehicle auto insurance discounts
  • Check into multiple policy insurance discounts if you have the same home and auto carrier
  • Ask if you can include your teen driver on your policy as an “occasional” or “pleasure-use only” driver

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)

To lower the teen drivers’ death rate, all states have enacted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws that phase in driving privileges upon successful completion of specific Graduated Driver Licensing program requirements. GDL programs allow teen drivers to safely gain driving capability before earning full driving privileges. A complete chart of requirements for all states can be found here.

Age Requirements

  • 15 years old: eligible for a learner’s permit.
  • 15 years old and 180 days: eligible for provisional license.
  • 16 years old: eligible for special restricted license, or unrestricted license (with conditional license).
  • 17 years old: eligible for regular driver license (without conditional license).

South Carolina Conditional License

A 15 year-old driver who has had a Beginner Permit for a minimum of 180 days can qualify for a conditional driver’s license. Applicants must pass a vision screening and a DMV road test. Applicants must bring a PDLA form that certifies the following:

  • Certification of School Attendance
  • Certification of Driver Education Course
  • Certification of Driver Practice

Conditional License Restrictions

  • May only drive unaccompanied from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm or until 8:00 pm during daylight savings time.
  • Outside of those hours the teen driver may drive until midnight if accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age.
  • Between midnight and 6:00 am a conditional license holder may only drive if accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian.
  • Drivers may not carry more than two passengers under the age of 21 unless they are immediate family members or students that are being transported to or from school.

Conditional license drivers may qualify for a full driver’s license when they reach age 16 if they have held the conditional license for 1 year without a conviction for a traffic violation and have not been at-fault in any accident during a one-year period prior to application.

Adding a teen driver to your policy

Many insurers require that all licensed drivers in your home carry some form of car insurance..

Do I need to add my teen driver with a learners permit to my policy?

That depends on your state’s insurance requirements, but in most cases, your policy will cover your teen driver until he or she is licensed.

While many states don’t require car insurance for teens who have a learners permit, all states, with the exception of New Hampshire, require coverage for licensed drivers.

Do teen drivers have to be insured on all cars under the same roof?

Most every insurer will require that all licensed family members in the same home be included on your policy, whether they drive your cars or not. In states that do require car-driver matching, each driver in your home will be named as the primary driver for one car, so you can identify which car your teen will be the primary driver on.