According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage was $25.89, up from $25.27 a year earlier. The average annual outlay for car insurance on a sedan was $1,222 in 2015, which means an average worker could buy a year of car insurance with about 47 hours of work.

The average teenager, however, is making far less than the average hourly wage. The average state minimum wage as of July 2015 was just $7.92 an hour. Teenagers pay much more for insurance because they’re considered higher risk than more experienced drivers. The average price of a year of bare-bones coverage was $841, according to rates gathered from national car insurance carriers. At those averages, a year of state minimum liability insurance would require 106 hours of work.

An inexpensive car is still a huge expense for the 4 million or so Americans working a minimum-wage job. But it represents a bigger challenge for young drivers in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, as they work nearly three times as long as their counterparts in Illinois to buy liability insurance that meets their state minimum car insurance requirements, according to a CarInsurance.com analysis.

Both wages and car insurance rates can drastically vary so affordability was calculated by comparing the cost of legal-minimum auto insurance with each state’s minimum wage. Young drivers in Rhode Island and New Hampshire have it the worst, with 174 hours required to buy the cheapest liability policy. A young driver finds much cheaper insurance in Illinois - a year of liability insurance takes just 56 hours of work.

The cost of car insurance for an 18 year old

States are ranked by the number of hours needed to buy coverage, comparing their cheapest car insurance for 18 year olds with their minimum wage.

Rates are compared using the state’s cheapest ZIP code for a young driver with a clean record, good credit, and previous insurance on a parent’s policy. The typical driver is 18, male, and owns a car similar to a 1997 Ford TaurusThis data is not exact for every 18 year old but does provide a good overview of the financial hurdle teenagers face who depend on their own car to commute to school or work.

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What An 18 Year Old Pays For State-Minimum Liability


Rank
State
ZIP Code
Annual Liability Cost
Minimum Wage
Hours to Buy


1
Illinois
61761
$459
$8.25
56


2
North Carolina
28778
$419
$7.25
58


3
Iowa
50010
$419
$7.25
58


4
Nevada
89427
$492
$8.25
60


5
Missouri
65101
$458
$7.65
60


6
Indiana
47905
$462
$7.25
64


7
California
93441
$602
$9.00
67


8
New Mexico
88310
$557
$7.50
74


9
New York
14580
$669
$8.75
76


10
Montana
59602
$625
$8.05
78


11
Connecticut
06498
$728
$9.15
80


12
Nebraska
68504
$662
$8.00
83


13
Pennsylvania
16823
$611
$7.25
84


14
Washington
99163
$795
$9.47
84


15
Kansas
67401
$625
$7.25
86


16
Vermont
05446
$826
$9.15
90


17
Florida
32669
$755
$8.05
94


18
Mississippi
39759
$688
$7.25
95


19
Tennessee
37686
$721
$7.25
99


20
Wisconsin
53081
$727
$7.25
100


21
Arizona
86426
$805
$7.25
100


22
Arkansas
72768
$751
$7.50
100


23
Wyoming
82007
$732
$7.25
101


24
Alabama
36543
$759
$7.25
105


25
Georgia
31601
$763
$7.25
105


26
Virginia
22652
$787
$7.25
109


27
Idaho
83712
$791
$7.25
109


28
Texas
76306
$802
$7.25
111


29
Colorado
80525
$916
$8.23
111


30
Louisiana
71021
$811
$7.25
112


31
Oregon
97330
$1,060
$9.25
115


32
Utah
84772
$848
$7.25
117


33
Minnesota
56003
$939
$8.00
117


34
Maryland
21780
$1,049
$8.25
127


35
South Carolina
29692
$943
$7.25
130


36
Maine
04105
$1,039
$7.50
139


37
Oklahoma
74003
$1,019
$7.25
141


38
Michigan
49866
$1,204
$8.15
148


39
Delaware
19939
$1,327
$8.25
161


40
Ohio
44833
$1,330
$8.10
164


41
Kentucky
41075
$1,227
$7.25
169


42
West Virginia
25427
$1,370
$8.00
171


43
New Jersey
07933
$1,446
$8.38
173


44
New Hampshire
03303
$1,261
$7.25
174


45
Rhode Island
02842
$1,569
$9.00
174


*
Alaska
99829

$8.75



*
Hawaii
96722

$7.75



*
Massachusetts
02158

$9.00



*
North Dakota
58285

$7.25



*
South Dakota
57069

$8.50



*
Washington, D.C.
20006

$10.50




National average

$841
$7.92
106


* Data missing or unavailable at time of publicationAll data taken from http://www.carinsurance.com/state/Illinois-car-insurance.aspx

Is cheaper car insurance available for young drivers?

C insurance quotes have more to do with the driver than the car and the perceived risk they pose. These are the relevant factors that insurance companies consider before offering you a quote:

  • Your driving record: More than one violation or accident is going to increase the cost of insurance.

  • Your credit: If it’s low, you’re seen as a bigger risk of a claim and charged more in many states.

  • Your mileage: The less you drive, the less risk you have of hitting someone.

  • Your insurance history: If you’ve let your policy lapse, even for a few days, you’ll pay more.

  • Your car: If your car has a significantly higher rate of claims than most, your liability rates will reflect that risk.

Remember that no two insurers offer identical rates, and even on state-minimum policies, premiums can differ by hundreds of dollars a year. Whether you're a parent or a teen, it’s worth it to research and compare insurance quotes to help you make the best choice.

This article is adapted with approval from carinsurance.com: http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/10-factors-that-affect-your-car-insurance-rates.aspx.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cheap Car Insurance For an 18 Year Old Car Driver and was authored by Emily Edwards.


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