So the day has come. Your teen has started driving.
But before they get behind the wheel, they’ll need to get insured. Whether they have a car of their own or they just plan on driving dad’s old truck around on the weekends, they should be added to your auto insurance policy.
Teens are considered to be the “riskiest” demographic on the road. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that new drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 are four times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident, which is why they are the most expensive group to insure. Statistics show that a one-car family can expect their annual insurance costs to increase by 44% after adding a teen driver. For families with two or three cars, that number can be anywhere between 58% and 62%. Despite the expense, it’s a smart move to have auto insurance, and in most states, it’s the law.
It can be hard enough to pick insurance that’s right for you, but adding a teen driver to the mix can complicate things. But have no fear! It doesn’t have to be a painful process. Once your teen has their license, contact your insurance provider to let them know they’ll need coverage. Here are some helpful tips on how to get through the process and save money along the way.
1. Add them to the family policy; don’t give them their own. Your kid has their own car, that must mean they’re ready for their own insurance policy, right? Not so fast! This is often a big mistake that parents make when it comes to insuring their child. A teen with a single-person policy can expect to be pay around $2,999 a year for liability coverage alone. If you opt for adding them to your existing policy, you’ll likely find big savings. On average, parents will see their bill increase only $621 a year for an added teen driver. It’s still a good chunk of change, but not so bad compared to the alternative.
2. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Adding a new driver is the perfect time to take a look at other insurance companies that may be able to offer better deals or coverage. Call and get a quote from other agencies to compare prices. Sometimes you can find savings in the hundreds of dollars just by making a simple switch. You may also find it a good time to bundle your policies. Some insurers offer savings when you combine things like home and auto insurance, so be sure to ask about that as well. If you decide to stick with the same company, think about raising deductibles to save money on your monthly bill.
3. Ask about discounts specific to teens. More often than not, insurers offer discounts to its customers. Insurance companies are all about accident prevention, and the most common discounts are awarded to those who complete additional training courses, such as defensive driving. Taking these driving courses aren’t just good for the wallet. Research show that younger drivers that take a training course are 43% less likely to get into an accident. It’s a win-win!
Believe it or not, your teen may also be able to save some money on monthly premiums just for making good grades in school. Companies will give discounts for those who make a certain grade point average, achieve high scores on standardized tests, or get on the dean’s list.
These are just some the many discounts that companies offer, and you’ll never know unless you ask!
4. Talk to an insurance agent before you car shop. The car that your teen drives will also influence your rates, so take the time to speak with an agent before you purchase their first car. They may be begging for that brand new shiny red sports car, but from an insurance standpoint (amongst others) it isn’t the most practical option. Statistics show that sportier, small cars are often driven at unsafe speeds by those already classified as risky drivers. Because of this, they are more expensive to insure. Consider more modest, used vehicles with good safety features in order to keep costs low.
5. Make sure they keep a clean driving record. The best way to keep rates low is have a squeaky clean driving record. This means having no accidents and no traffic violations. Be honest with your teen about their driving habits and don’t be afraid to tell them they’re going a little too fast. Warn them about local road hazards (“It’s hard to see around the hedges on Harris Street, always proceed with caution!”) and openly discuss the dangers of drug use/drinking while driving.
As I mentioned before, this doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Your teen may be eager to get on the road, but sit down and walk through the steps together. Helping find an insurance policy and discounts that are right for them can be a great learning experience as they make their way to adulthood.