Adding a teenage driver to a family automobile insurance policy can double your insurance costs depending on where you live, among other factors.
A July InsuranceQuotes.com survey, showed that premium increases for adding a teenager can range from an astonishing 116 percent in Arkansas to a modest 18 percent in Hawaii. The rate increases reflect the higher risk associated with young drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal crash rates for 16-19 year-old drivers is three times higher than the fatality rate for drivers who are older than 19. Drivers aged between 16 and 17 are at particularly high risk for fatal accidents, according to IIHS.
Fortunately, there are quite a few measures your can take to bring insurance costs down when adding your teenage son or daughter to your automobile policy. For instance, teenage policies for auto insurance with State Farm and other carriers, can have discounts of up to 10 percent for students with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 and above. Students who are doing well in school are also more likely to be responsible drivers. Good Student Discounts are typically available for students between 16 and 24 who are enrolled full-time in school or college and remain in good academic standing. Insurance companies generally accept a school transcript or a letter from a school official.
Similarly, teenage drivers can also secure discounted insurance rates if they drive a car that has high safety ratings. Cars that are a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, vehicles that deliver 20 miles per gallon or more and score an average or better in annual visits to the repair shop generally tend to have lower insurance rates than sports cars and SUVs. Cars in this category tend to be in the top tier for crash test scores and have features such as electronic stability control, collision avoidance and lane drift detection systems.
Many insurance carriers also offer hefty discounts if your son or daughter is studying at a school that is at least 100 miles away from where you live.
Teenagers in college tend to drive less often than students at home and therefore are considered a lower risk from an insurance standpoint. Such “away from home” discounts are available to students up to the age of 24 and can substantially lower your insurance bills while still providing coverage when your teenager is home on vacation.
If your teenager is driving an old car, it may be a good idea to get rid of collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. In many cases, your teenager’s car may be worth barely more than the deductible you may have to pay for collision damage. In such situations, it makes little sense to pay hefty monthly premiums for collision and comprehensive coverage. Before making a decision, assess the value of your teenagers car by taking it to your mechanic or evaluating it against a resource like Kelley Blue Book.
Finally, teenagers with good driving records can expect to see a reduction in their premiums in a relatively short period of time. The major reason why auto insurers charge such high premiums on teenage drivers is because of the risk they present. One of the most efficient and straightforward ways to pay less on your insurance is to encourage your teenager to drive safely. Speeding tickets and other moving violations can send insurance premiums for teenagers skyrocketing. Making sure they have a clean record is paramount to lowering insurance rates.
Robert is an insurance broker, specializing in small businesses. His softball team is the 3-time city league champion.