Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, research investigative pieces…

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states…

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Reviewed byRachael Brennan
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UPDATED: Jul 31, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • As a single parent, there are several ways to bring your car insurance costs down, whether you have a teenage driver added to your policy or not
  • Single parents pay, on average, $130 more than married couples for insurance
  • If your teenager is not added to a policy and gets into an accident while driving your car, the claim could be denied
  • Auto insurance coverage is mandatory in most U.S. states
  • Raising your deductible, even by $300, will decrease your premium over time

We’ve compiled single parent car insurance tips because we know that you want the best coverage at the cheapest price but don’t have the time or energy to hunt down all the relevant information.

Being a single parent can be really challenging. Your finances are usually stretched thin, and you never have enough hours in the day to get everything done. This guide will give you much-needed information on what your car insurance coverage options are for auto insurance for single parents.

As a single parent, getting multiple quotes is the quickest and easiest way to find car insurance for single parents at a low cost. While you’re here, use your ZIP code to get a free quote on auto insurance.

Auto Insurance for Single Parents

Who has the cheapest car insurance for single parents?

Sadly, there are no discounts specifically for single parents. If anything, it’s usually married people who have lower monthly premiums, despite the fact that single parents generally face greater financial hardship.

Find out how much you will pay for car insurance if you are single, married, or own a home. The graphic below shows the average auto insurance rates for single people, married people, and homeowners.

Car Insurance Rates by marital status and home ownership

The table below shows the average monthly premiums for a married homeowner, single homeowner, and single renter.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates by Marital Status and Home Ownership
StatesMarried HomeownerSingle HomeownerSingle Renter
Illinois$19$20$22
New York$62$66$67
California$64$64$64
Florida$96$100$116
Texas$105$111$122
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Rates are significantly lower if you’re a homeowner, and even more so if you’re married. In most states, when someone gets divorced, they will often see an increase in their auto insurance rates.

Auto Insurance & Divorce

If you’re a single parent who has never been married, fortunately, divorce will not be a concern. If you do find yourself facing a divorce, this change in status can complicate how insurance works for you, your former spouse, and your kids.

Although divorce is a difficult time for anyone, it can be worthwhile to take a little time to look into ways you might save money.

Will a divorce increase my rates?

If you live in Hawaii, Massachusetts, or Montana, getting a divorce will have no bearing whatsoever on your auto insurance rates. If you live in any other state, chances are, your rates will go up after a divorce.

Research shows that married policyholders are less likely to file a claim than single people, and insurance companies know this. That’s why you’ll likely see a rate increase if you become single again. In fact, a study found young that, single drivers are paying about 21 percent more for auto insurance than their married peers.

Custody

If you and your spouse are separated, you likely have to split custody, child support, and parenting duties, among other things. The first thing you’ll want to consider in terms of car insurance is whether your child will go on one or two policies.

If your teen is living permanently in your residence and will be using your vehicle frequently, it’s a good idea to keep them on your own auto insurance policy. If your teen is on their other parent’s policy, consider adding them to your auto insurance as a driver. Making their first car insurance policy cheaper should be a top priority in this situation.

Below are the average rates for teen drivers from some of the major car insurance companies.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Teen Drivers
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates for a 17-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates for a 17-Year-Old Male
USAA$5,343.59$4,779.75
Geico$5,669.12$6,237.22
Nationwide$5,762.92$7,180.76
American Family$5,996.49$8,130.49
State Farm$6,035.85$7,412.02
Progressive$8,664.66$9,593.38
Farmer's$8,669.07$9,216.98
Allstate$9,297.56$10,639.49
Travelers$9,307.32$12,850.91
Liberty Mutual$11,747.11$13,890.94
Get Your Rates Quote Now

As you can see, male teenage drivers cost about 18 percent more to insure than female teenage drivers. Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have shown that males are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, which is why their insurance rates tend to be higher.

The cheapest option for both genders is USAA car insurance. Because USAA is only available to military service members and their families, you may consider Geico, which is the second-cheapest option and may be the best first car insurance for your child if they are currently uninsured.

As a single parent who is insuring a teenage driver, these rates can be unsettling. The next section will touch on all of the bases you’ll need to have covered.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Health Insurance for Single Parents

Health insurance is key to keeping you and your family healthy. It’s on par with auto insurance in terms of importance, too.

Where can you get cheap health insurance for single mothers?

State-funded programs like Medicaid are the go-to option for low-income families. If you and your family do not qualify, you can also look into the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Another option is to seek healthcare through your employer.

Life Insurance for Single Parents

Life insurance is even more necessary for single parents, who are the sole caregivers of their children.

How much life insurance should a single mom have?

Term life is probably the best fit. It is designed to cover you as long as you think you’ll be financially responsible for your children. It is recommended that you buy a policy that covers your obligations (annual salary times years you want coverage) and also future costs.

Next, subtract your current savings and liquid assets to get an estimate of your life insurance policy number.

Teen Drivers on Your Policy

Inevitably, your child will grow up and get their driver’s license at some point. Adding a teen driver to your policy is a big step, and it can also increase your policy’s rates by a large margin.

Even if your teen only has their permit, you still need to alert your insurance company.

Teen drivers are in a higher risk group to begin with. Teenage drivers have higher accident rates because they’re inexperienced. Insurance companies know this. Still, you’ll have to tell your insurer that your teen will be driving in case they get into an accident and you need to file a claim.

Although auto insurance companies will likely raise your rates for having a teen driver, there are certain steps you can follow to keep your rates to a minimum.

Adding a teenager to your policy can hike your costs by 50 to 100 percent, according to Consumer Reports.

One way you can lower your teenager’s premium is by having them take an elected driver’s safety course.

Whether your teen joins your preexisting policy or gets an individual policy, they will need some level of auto insurance. It’s best to take care of this quickly so that future claims aren’t denied.

Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers

We know that having a teen driver on your policy has the potential to increase your rates significantly. Teen drivers are also eligible for discounts, which can be attained in many ways.

The video below shows some factors that insurance companies look for when assigning a policy to a new driver.

Aside from helping your teens gain experience through driving with them, there are a few more steps you can take.

Reinforcing positive behaviors is important when you’re a single parent. Rewarding good driving behaviors can help keep your teen on the right path. On the other hand, you may choose to revoke driving privileges for taking the car without asking or driving outside of permitted hours.

There is an entirely different savings animal as well: enter good student discounts.

Discounts for grades are huge. Teens that maintain a good GPA (usually higher than a 3.0), will get up to 35 percent discount on insurance rates.

How much does it cost to add 16 year old to car insurance? It can be pricey.

You might consider having your teenager wait until age 18 or 19 to get a license, instead of the usual 16 or younger in most states. Inform your insurer if the child isn’t licensed or is away at college without a car.

What’s the best first car for insurance?

Having your teen drive an “insurance friendly” car, not an expensive sports car, is one way to save money. An affordable, safe vehicle will be less of a financial burden if your teen should get into an accident.

The table below shows statistics for how the age of your vehicle can change your insurance rates.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rate Discount by Vehicle Age
Age of VehicleAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rate Discount
New0%
1 Year Old9.5%
2 Years Old9.1%
3 Years Old12.2%
4 Years Old15.5%
5 Years Old18.1%
6 Years Old14.9%
7 Years Old22.2%
8 Years Old24.5%
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If you were to buy a brand new Honda Accord, insuring it would be expensive. Most insurance companies know that a newer vehicle will have greater repair costs.

If you allow your teen to drive a slightly older vehicle, however, insurance savings go up by as much as 24.5 percent and finding somewhat cheap car insurance is much easier.

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Auto Insurance Tips for Single Mothers and Fathers

When examining your individual policy, it’s wise to be on the lookout for extras you don’t actually need. For example, paying a higher deductible for collision and comprehensive isn’t always smart. Let’s look at the biggest tips for improving your rates.

Conduct an Annual Rate Check

To really know whether or not you’re getting the best deal, you need quotes from at least three different providers. Our site can help you get them quickly, efficiently, and accurately.

Each year, you want to check on rates to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. If you’ve had a recent change in status, now might be the time to check.

Payment Installments

You can save a little money on your insurance premiums by paying in six-month installments instead of monthly. The table below shows average rates for six-month and 12-month premiums, by company.

Average 6-Month and Annual Auto Insurance Rates
CompaniesAverage 6-Month RatesAverage Annual Rates
USAA$483
$868
Geico$545
$1,488
Farmers$618
$2,874
Nationwide$636$1,643
State Farm$884$1,224
Progressive$896
$1,608
Allstate$951
$2,467
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Please note that these rates are based on averages of full-coverage and minimum coverage auto insurance rates across the country.

You’ll save money in the short term on your auto insurance policy, but you’ll also build a higher credit score so that you can get savings from other financial institutions as well.

Pick a Top-Rated Insurer

An insurer should work to serve you. That means they should be doing their best to provide accurate loss estimates, as well as not overcharging you for manufacturers’ replacement parts should you refuse cheap knock-offs. If you’ve been with your insurer for a long time, it’s very likely you are already getting the cheap car insurance rates.

Check out our auto insurance buying guide to find out how your current rates compare.

Set Your Deductible Right

As we mentioned before, raising your deductible will lower your premiums. Your premiums will drop because you’ll be paying more out-of-pocket, should you need to file a claim.

Raising your deductible from $200 to $500 can cut your premium on collision by 15–30 percent, according to Consumer Reports. If you’re a fairly good driver and haven’t had an accident in many years, raising your collision premiums is the way to go.

Take Advantage of Discounts

Low-risk drivers are the prime candidates for discounts. We’ll cover these discounts in-depth later in the article, but there are a few basics you should know.

Bundling Home & Auto Insurance

We know that insurers want you to choose them for your home and auto needs. So, they specifically design packages at reduced rates to attract customers.

Below, an agent explains the basics of bundling your home and auto insurance.

If you bundle your auto insurance with another policy (homeowners, life insurance, etc.), your provider is more likely to cut you a deal.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Review Your Current Coverages

There are many different car insurance coverages to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

Liability

Your liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage in accidents that you cause. Standard auto insurance limits are unique to your state.

Consider buying a more protective level of 100/300/100 coverage, which pays for bodily injury up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, and property damage up to $100,000.

Although buying into state minimums is a cheaper option, purchasing more liability coverage can save you money in the long run, should you need to file a costly claim.

Collision & Comprehensive

Evaluate your collision and comprehensive coverages annually. Do your annual costs exceed or equal more than 10 percent of your car’s value? If so, a good rule of thumb is to nix these extras.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

It’s important when buying uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that you choose the same limits as your liability policy. In some states, up to 20 percent of the drivers on the roads are uninsured. If you get into an accident with one of these drivers and need to file a claim, this type of coverage will protect you from paying out-of-pocket for repairs or legal fees to the at-fault driver.

Rental Reimbursement & Roadside Assistance

Rental reimbursement coverage pays for the cost of a rental car in the event that you need one while your vehicle is being repaired. If you don’t mind footing the bill yourself should this happen (or if you won’t be needing a rental car), you can forgo this coverage.

Roadside assistance coverage ensures that you’ll have access to help if your car breaks down on the road or you get a flat tire, etc. If you have a membership to an auto club like AAA, you can probably do without this coverage as well.

PIP & MedPay

It’s also important to think about add-ons, like a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance plan and medical payments coverage (MedPay). If you have good health coverage, this may not be as necessary as you think. If you don’t have good medical coverage or if you think that your passengers may not be protected, you might want to invest in PIP or MedPay.

Car Insurance Discounts for Single Parents

Now that we’ve covered ways to effectively clean up your auto insurance policy, it’s time to explore the wealth of discounts available to drivers just like you.

Is there low-income car insurance?

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports car insurance for low-income families is designed to mediate insurance for those who would normally go uninsured because of limited financial resources.

There are options for car insurance for low-income families. Three states offer state-sponsored auto insurance for low-income families, including California, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

What if you are looking for low-income car insurance in Arkansas, Nevada, South Carolina, or other states? You can check with your insurance provider to see what options you may have.

Group Discounts

If you’re a member of a certain union, group, or organization, you might qualify for savings. Oftentimes insurance companies will give discounts to military veterans, teachers, employees of companies they have partnerships with, and more.

Mileage Discount

Some insurance providers give discounts to motorists who drive less than the average person. Living close enough to walk to work or school (or both) can help, and so can carpooling.

Safe Driver Discount

If you’ve been accident-free for at least three years, ask your insurance agent about potential safe driver discounts. You’ll usually need a driving record that has been clean for three to five years before becoming eligible for this discount.

With a safe driver discount, you can lower your rates significantly. Check out the table below.

Defensive Driving Auto Insurance Discounts
CompaniesDiscounts Offered/Accepted
21st Century10 percent for safe driving, 15 percent after completing a safe driver course
Allstate10 percent for drivers 55 or older who complete the course
FarmersOffers a defensive driver discounts to drivers 55–65 (varies by state)
Geico10 percent for completing approved course
NationwideIn select states, drivers 55 and older are eligible for discount
SafecoIn most states, drivers 55 and older can get discount for three years after completing approved course
State FarmOffers discounts (in some states)
USAAOffers a defensive driving course for approved customers
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Some insurance companies offer accredited defensive driving courses online, which are available at a discounted rate and streamlined for quick processing. Going directly through your insurer is one way to take a class, but there are other options, too.

You can see the National Safety Council’s website for state-certified defensive driving courses. You can also take a defensive driver course at your local DMV.

Family Policy Discount

If you have a child who is old enough to drive and needs coverage, you can usually save money by adding them to your current auto policy (as opposed to putting them on their own policy).

Young drivers can also lower their rates, whether on a solo policy or bundled with you, by maintaining a good GPA and taking driver education courses.

Cheap Car Insurance for the Disabled Drivers

If you are someone that is facing disability, you may qualify for cheap car insurance. In some states, like Hawaii and California, specific programs are set up just for this.

Wondering about disability insurance versus workers’ compensation? Sometimes a worker cannot perform job duties because of an illness or injury. Workers’ compensation pays for damages that happened while on the job. Disability insurance can cushion the effects of not being able to work by paying a portion of the worker’s earnings as noted by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Car Insurance for Homeless Drivers

If you are not currently staying at a permanent residence, you still need a ZIP code to register your vehicle. Keeping auto insurance is critical to ensure you do not face the significant penalties that come from being uninsured.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide, which covered tips and tricks for single moms, dads, and parents. We hope you’ve gained a few insights on how to save.

Reviewing quotes from multiple companies is the best way to make sure you’re getting the very best deal out there.

As a single parent, you have a busy schedule. Get started shopping for auto insurance quotes from multiple companies now, enter your ZIP code into our FREE tool now.