If you're a parent, few things are more frightening than the prospect of your teenager becoming a licensed driver. If the notion that your son or daughter driving doesn't start your heart palpitating, the cost of insuring him or her will. Nevertheless, car insurance is an essential part of protecting both your child and your car in case of an accident.
Most auto insurers consider all drivers under the age of twenty-five to be higher-than-average risks when it comes to car accidents, and this shouldn't be surprising, since vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of teen fatalities. Financially, this high risk is expressed in the form of an increase of 50 to 100 percent in your insurance rates.
The obvious first step is to compare many companies, weighing the cost of sticking with your existing insurer vs. switching to a new carrier, there are other steps you and your teen can take to cut the cost of their car insurance.
Tips for Saving Money
While not every auto insurance company offers the same array of discounts and credits, there are several things that work pretty much universally. Here are five tips for saving money on teen car insurance.
Pick a Safe Car:
The first line of defense in an accident is your car's design - larger cars have crumple zones that are designed to help protect drivers - but some cars are less expensive to insure than others. Newer, mainstream cars, with airbags and anti-lock brakes are the least expensive to insure. Think Volvo, Honda, and Toyota, and think hatchback or sedan rather than sub-compact.
Add Safety Features:
Once you've invested in that safe model of car, consider boosting the safety features included therein. Traction control, side-curtain airbags, and automatic seatbelts all add protection while reducing that monthly premium.
Almost every major insurance company offers a discount to full-time students who maintain good grades. In most cases this means a B-average (3.0) or better. In addition, if you and your teen driver take a defensive driving course (Driver's Education on campus doesn't count) together, you can both earn a discount that lasts up to three years.
Your Permanent Record:
A single DUI conviction can increase the premium for your teen's car insurance by thousands of dollars, so be sure you impress upon your child the need for a clean driving record.
According to Consumer Reports, teens who are involved in community and civic organizations such as Girl Scouts or Eagle Scouts may be eligible for auto insurance discounts, so if your son or daughter is starting to feel "too old" for such activities, you might want to help them reconsider.
These suggestions are just a few of the ways it may be possible to reduce the impact of a teen driver on your auto insurance. Others that you may already have considered include asking for loyalty discounts, if you've been with your carrier for over a year, bundling your home and auto insurance with one company, if you haven't already done so, and increasing the size of your deductible.
Having a teen driver in the family is a mixed blessing. You'll be doing less car pool and chauffeur duty, but you'll also have to deal with the cost - and the concern - of having a teenager behind the wheel. By using our tips, the cost, at least, should be cushioned.