Why Do Teenagers Have Higher Insurance Rates?
A teenager simply does not understand the level of risk they take with risky driving behavior that any experienced driver would avoid. More young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty die in automobile crashes than from any other cause — see the statistics on the Teen Driving section of the National Safety Council website.
A driver under the age of twenty-five is considered a higher than average risk for a vehicle-related accident by most auto insurance companies. And high risk will push your teenager’s insurance rates up as much as 100%, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
What Can a Teenager Do to Get Cheaper Auto Insurance?
But, you can still get cheap car insurance for your teenager, if your teenager will take a little effort and follow these simple suggestions:
1) Keep the driving record clean.
One DWI conviction or a serious accident will raise the annual premium for the next three years from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
2) Earn insurance discounts.
College and secondary school students who maintain a 3.0 grade point average will earn discounts — ask for similar discounts in a quote if your teenager takes an accredited driver safety course.
3) Get involved in the community.
Teenage members of community or civic organizations, such as the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts, may be eligible for car insurance discounts, according to Consumer Reports.
4) Get a safer automobile.
Compare the rates for teenager car insurance if your teenager drives a car considered safer, such as a Volvo or a Honda Civic — see the Edmunds.com car safety website for a list.
5) Make sure the car has airbags.
The newest automobiles equipped with airbags are not only the safest cars your teenager can drive, they also are the least costly to insure.
6) Avoid high-risk cars.
Your teenager should definitely not be driving a high-performance sports cars — the riskiness and the related insurance premiums for these cars by themselves are much higher than average.
7) Add on those safety features.
Items such as traction control, anti-lock brakes, side-impact airbags, and automatic seat belts will considerably reduce car insurance rates for a teenager.
What Can a Parent Do to Get Cheaper Rates for their Teen?
The best way a parent can do to keep their teenagers safe is to set a good example as a driver. A teenager learns to drive by observing, and you are the one they observe the most.
1) Know the law.
Be aware of the driving laws of your state and locality, and be sure to follow them strictly.
2) Phase in your teenager’s driving.
Enroll your teenager in a Graduated Driver Licensing program, where new drivers start driving in low risk conditions and step through phases of risk before becoming fully licensed.
3) Set and enforce the driving rules.
Tell your teenager the household rules for driving, including where, when, how, and with whom driving is permitted — the best example a parent can set is never to drive drunk.
4) Monitor your teenager’s driving.
Electronic tracking devices can be installed on your teenager’s car to monitor how they drive — use the data collected to teach your teenager safe driving habits.
Driving Safety Tips for Teenagers
1) Keep the number of passengers in the car to a minimum.
With teenagers, the Insurance Information Institute says the risk of crashing is almost five times as great with multiple passengers than when driving alone. To be accommodating, you might set a rule of “one driver, plus one passenger.”
2) Slow down.
In auto crashes involving teenagers, 90% of those involved say that the reason for the crash was that they were driving too fast for the conditions.
3) Buckle up.
Almost 70% of those teenagers who die in an automobile crash were not wearing their safety belts.
4) Put down the phone.
Driving while using a phone is not only dangerous, it is also illegal in many parts of the country.
5) Don’t ride with reckless friends.
Tell your teenager you will come and pick them up, no matter where they are, no questions asked, if they are in a car with a driver who is reckless or drunk. Tell them the safest thing to do in that situation is to get out of the car as soon as it is safe to do so.
6) If drunk or drugged up, stay where you are.
You cannot emphasize enough to your teenager that they should never ever drive while even the slightest bit intoxicated or affected by drugs.
Let your teenager know that driving is a privilege, not a right, and tell them that you both are in this together.
In that way, you’ll set up your teenager right from the start with a maturity that will benefit you both — and you’ll save money in the process, too.