Your teen passed their driver’s test and now has a shiny new license. They’re likely glowing, beaming with pride and happy with their newfound independence. As the parent or guardian of such a young driver, you’re probably worried and anxious, not just for their safety but also for the additional car expenses to come.

Auto insurance carriers’ justification all comes down to risk and the statistics prove that teen drivers are very risky. In fact, young drivers ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population yet they account for 30% of motor vehicle injuries.

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How are you supposed to add teens to your car insurance policy in an affordable way? You’ve probably seen the articles. Adding a young driver can raise your premium an average of 80%.  In certain states, that percentage rises to 115%. Ouch.  

It’s hard not to be excited for your young driver but with prices like that, how do you plan to pay? Depending on how much your young driver is able to contribute to such expenses, this rate increase can cut deep. In some cases, teenage boys have an even higher rate increase than teen girls. If moving to Hawaii isn’t an option (they have the lowest teen driving rates, costing only 17% more without gender or driving history influences), then here’s some helpful tips for you.

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance Coverage for Teens:

  1. Talk with your current provider.

Your first step should be to speak with your current provider to find out exactly what the added expense will be. You can do this even before your teen obtains their driver’s license just to have a number in mind. Use this answer as a comparison rate when you shop around.

  1. Get multiple quotes, with your teen as an individual and add-on to a family policy.

It never hurts to compare car insurance quotes. You’ll often be surprised to see such a range of rates and if you’re adding a teen driver onto your policy, you may discover you’re better off switching providers altogether. Also, it’s worthwhile to see what the rates would be for your teenager on an individual policy as well as an added driver on your own. Usually, adding a driver is cheaper, but you never know.

  1. Sign your teen up for a defensive driver’s course, or driver’s education.

Sometimes, even after receiving multiple quotes, the price can still be steep.young safe male driver in car with seatbelt If your teenager hasn’t already taken a driver’s education course, then now may be the best time to consider it. A driver’s ed class can discount your rate 10% and a defense driving course may help you save even more. Before paying for the classes that range from $50-$700, check your return and make sure the discount will pay off.

  1. Ask about all discounts, including organizations and good student.

There are a lot of premium discounts out there that are likely unadvertised. Take the added time to ask about all potential, applicable savings. If your young driver is a good student, usually “B” average or better, then you may save an automatic 15% off your premium. Many car insurance providers also have military, seatbelt, and various membership discounts. While on the phone with an agent, don’t hesitate to ask as many questions about discounts as you feel necessary. They might not think to offer the discount if they don’t know it applies to you.

  1. Safe-guard the vehicle.

steering-wheelAnother cost saving tactic for young drivers is to update their vehicle with safety features. Depending on whether or not your teenager is listed as a primary driver; you may find it worthwhile to pay a little more for safety.  There will likely be discounts, not to mention the added bonus of security to you as a parent or guardian of a new driver. Safe-guarding features include air bags (sometimes, up to 40% off personal injury coverage for full-front seat air bags), anti-lock brake systems, anti-theft devices, daytime running lights, and more.

You don’t want to be the bearer of bad news or bring your teenager’s excitement down, but be realistic with what you can and can’t afford. Speak to them about what works for you and encourage safe and focused driving. A single speeding ticket can cause a large increase, and one DUI can raise a premium hundreds or thousands of dollars for many years.

If the rate still seems unbearable, you can try changing your coverage options as a last resort option. Perhaps comprehensive coverage isn’t necessary if the car your teen is driving is older and not very valuable. You can switch to the minimum liability coverage for your state but be aware that if your teen places a claim, you may pay more out of pocket. The same goes for raising your deductible.

Weigh out the positives and negatives and be sure you’re taking advantage of all the discounts you’re entitled to. Finding car insurance coverage cheaply for teens and young drivers isn’t easy, but we promise the resulting smiles are worth it. 

Photo credit (top image): Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon, Dennis Yang, Wikimedia

Photo credit (in-line): CC,  CC