Car for Teenagers, Insurance, Car, Teen

Save money on teen driver’s car insurance

For many teens, a driver’s license represents freedom and greater independence. For parents, a newly licensed teen driver can cause not only significant anxiety but a shocking surge in car insurance costs.

I almost fell to the floor when I opened the first auto insurance bill after adding my 16-year-old daughter to my policy. It was literally double the previous month. I was sure it was a mistake. Maybe I forgot to pay the previous month’s bill? I immediately called my agent, who couldn’t offer much comfort. It’s correct, he said. Add a teen to your policy and your premium will soar.

“Insurance is all about risk, and rates are based on several factors, including who you are, where you are, what you drive, and how you drive,” says Allie Byers, spokesperson for insurance comparison website The Zebra.

For most carriers, the “who you are” includes age, which is a significant factor in determining a car insurance rate.

“Because teen drivers present a much higher risk than adult drivers, with higher chances of car accidents and fatalities on the road, their car insurance rates will be much higher,” says Byers.

We all have to start somewhere, but given that lack of experience, drivers through age 25 (or their parents) can expect to pay 115 percent more per year than the average driver — $1,667 per six-month policy, versus the U.S. average of $774 — according to research conducted by insurance comparison site, The Zebra.

The good news is that parents and teens have options to save on teen car insurance rates, says Byers who suggests shopping around to start.

“You may find that you could be paying a lot less for the exact same policy or an even better one,” says Byers.

Also, ask your agent to apply any applicable discounts.  I was able to shave a few percent off my premium by enrolling in an automatic payment plan through my provider.

Here are more tips to help you save, courtesy of The Zebra.

Keep your teen on your car insurance policy: Car insurance is even more expensive for teen drivers on their own policy. Parents who choose to insure their teen under their policy will typically save around $955 every six months compared to a standalone policy with the teen driver.

Good student discount:  If your driver has good grades — typically a B average or better — inquire about a good-student discount. Nationwide, Progressive, Geico, All State and others offer various student discounts. Students insured by State Farm can save as much as 15 percent by enrolling in the company’s Steer Clear program. In all likelihood your insurer will require routine proof, such as a transcript, in order to qualify.

Defensive driver/safe driving discount: These programs can not only help teach teens how to be safe drivers, but also reduce the potential for citations and accidents which can raise your premium. In New York, you can save 10 percent off your premium for three years if you take a state-approved course. The exact requirements and specifications for this discount vary, so consult your insurance company for details to get a cheaper rate.

Choose a safe and moderately priced vehicle: Insurance companies consider the driver and the car when determining insurance rates. If you want to keep your premium down, consider a cheaper vehicle, like a used car, with a good safety rating. New vehicles, trucks and luxury brands will cost more to insure.

Monitor their driving: If your teen is a good driver, consider asking your carrier about usage-based insurance like telematics, a tracking device that monitors driving habits and tendencies, which helps determine the policyholder’s car insurance premium.

Consider additional coverage options: If you’re not totally convinced by your teen’s driving abilities, you may want to consider what’s called accident forgiveness to your policy. While it varies by insurer and your state, this would “forgive” the first accident on your insurance policy — meaning, your rate wouldn’t be raised just because you had an auto accident. Note that not every insurance company offers this protection, and there may also be some age and location restrictions. The Insurance Information Institute also suggests increasing your liability limits if adding a teen driver to your policy, as this can help to protect against lawsuits or damages that may arise if your teen is involved in an accident.

Don’t pay for coverage you don’t need: If your new driver will be using an older vehicle, make sure you’re not paying for coverage you do not need. Collision and comprehensive coverage are only designed for leased or financed cars, or vehicles worth more than $4,000. Compare the cost of paying for repairs out of pocket with the cost of comprehensive and collision insurance to see if dropping these coverages seems worthwhile.

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