Posted March 16th, 2015 by Matt Cullen
Although getting a driver’s license can be one of the most exciting times in a teen’s life, it’s important to remember to also have your teenage driver be properly insured. According to statistics from auto insurance companies, those who are under the age of 25 are the highest risk drivers on the road today. This means that auto insurance premiums can be quite expensive for drivers who are in this age group.
Yet, rather than holding off on allowing your teen to drive, there are some options for allowing them behind the wheel, while at the same time taking steps to keep their necessary auto coverage as low as possible.
Is It Cheaper for Teens to Have Their Own Individual Policy or to Be Insured on a Parent’s Auto Coverage Plan?
When there is a teen driver in the family, parents may wonder whether it will be better from a premium cost standpoint to add the teenager to their existing policy, or have the teen driver purchase their own individual policy. The answer to this question is “it depends.”
There are several criteria that will help to provide you with the best answer. First, it is a good idea to have an agent provide you with a detailed quote for adding the teen driver to the parent’s existing auto insurance plan. In some cases, if there are already multiple vehicles on this policy, the addition of the teen could actually cause a premium increase for all of the vehicles on the plan.
Alternatively, the cost of a new, stand-alone policy for the teen driver will also depend on several factors. These include his or her actual age, the amount of time they have been licensed, his or her driving record, and the amount of actual time that they spend driving the vehicle. For example, does the teen spend a great deal of the time driving to and from a part- or full-time job, or do they only use the vehicle intermittently on a daily or weekly basis.
How to Keep Teen Auto Insurance Premiums Down
Certainly, in many instances, the cost to insure a teen driver can be high. However, there are some ways that you can help to keep these costs lower by following a few simple tips. These include the following:
- Obtain several competing auto insurance premium quotes. Just as with shopping for any other type of auto insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around for the best rate. Often, different insurers will offer policies at vastly differing premium prices – even for the very same coverage.
- Take a drivers’ education course. Oftentimes, those who take and successfully pass a drivers’ education course prior to obtaining their license will be able to obtain a discount on their auto insurance premiums. Be sure to forward the course information on to the auto insurance company in order to receive any discount that is allowed.
- Inquire about additional premium discounts. It always helps to inquire about any additional premium discounts that you may be eligible for. This can include those for being a good student, being a member of Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts, and other advertised or unadvertised discount options.
- Keep a clean driving record. Keeping a clean driving record goes without saying for both teen and adult drivers. However, moving violations can oftentimes harm a teen’s auto insurance premiums even more so than an adult’s. Likewise, a teenager who obtains even just one DUI conviction can have his or her auto insurance premiums raised by as much as several hundred to several thousand dollars per year – for between three and five years.
- Keep up good grades. Teenagers who earn good grades in school can also earn lower auto insurance premiums on their insurance. This includes both high school and college students.
- Drive a safe vehicle. Your teenager’s auto insurance rates can also be kept lower by keeping them in a safer car. Certain vehicles are considered to be safer than others, such as Honda Civics or Volvos. Likewise, newer model cars that include airbags are also less costly to insure. Conversely, some vehicle models that will tend to raise your auto insurance premiums can include sports cars, high performance vehicles, and even SUVs.
- Add safety features to the teen's vehicle. By having safety features on the teen’s vehicle such as traction control, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, and automatic seat belts, you can also help in reducing the premium rate on your teen’s auto insurance coverage. If the car is updated with CAS technology, that can help lower your premium further.
The Bottom Line on Obtaining the Right Auto Insurance for Your Teenager
Getting a drivers’ license is an important step for your teenager. Yet, before they get out on the road, it is important to ensure that they are properly insured with the right type of coverage.
In doing so, be sure to check with your state in order to determine its minimum liability coverage requirements. It is also wise to check on any discounts that your teen may be eligible for. This can help in reducing both current and future premiums.
Photo credits: CC
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