Parents of newly minted drivers have much to fret about, with research showing that concerns about teen driving top all other parental worries. In addition to lost sleep, count on significant additional expenses, too. Parents can expect their auto premiums to nearly double when adding a teen driver, because 16-year-olds are nearly 10 times more likely to get into accidents than other drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Controlling Auto Insurance Costs for Your Teenager
You can impact these expenditures and still maintain good coverage with these ten effective ways to control teen auto insurance costs:
- Add your teen to your policy rather than buying separate coverage. The premium rates will typically reflect a combined history of all drivers on the policy.
- Unless your teen drives an insured vehicle more than anyone else, you will save additional money by designating her an "occasional driver" rather than a principal driver.
- Insurance costs will be far higher on new and sporty cars, and higher on two-door cars than four-door cars.
- If the car is more than six or seven years old, consider buying liability insurance but not collision or comprehensive insurance, or at a minimum get a high collision deductible.
- Get plenty of liability coverage, at least 100/300/50.
- If you don't already have one, get an umbrella policy which adds at least $1 million to your auto or homeowner's liability protection. It's comparatively cheap insurance, and it's frighteningly easy to run up seven-figure medical and legal costs with catastrophic crashes.
- Recheck your rates frequently. Many rates for teens drop every six months to a year.
- Some insurers will give a discount if your child has a "B" average. Ask.
Have your teen be responsible for paying an affordable portion of her insurance costs. Determine from your agent exactly what the increased amount would be if she gets a traffic violation, and let her know that she will be responsible for the entire amount of any such increase.
- Some insurers offer discounts if teens answer surveys about their driving attitudes and fill out a log sheet recording details of a specified number of driving episodes shortly after they are licensed. You may also be able to obtain a discount by following the Crashproof Plan or signing a Crashproof Contract with your teen.
Teen Safe Driving Practices
Avoiding crashes can save a fortune in repair and medical costs, too. Five key ways to help your teen avoid crashes:
- To reduce rear-end crashes, teach your teen how to emergency brake and to maintain a four-second following distance from the car in front of them.
- Reduce or eliminate distractions. Each teen passenger added to a car driven by a teen increases the crash risk by 50%. Making or taking a cell phone call while driving has the equivalent impact on mental focus of a .08 blood alcohol level?legal intoxication!
- Insist on seat-belt use. Forty percent of teens still don't use them, and many deaths and injuries could be avoided with their use.
- Spend 50 to 100 hours behind the wheel with your teen in a variety of different driving and weather conditions over a 6 to 12 month period after they get their license.
- Be a great role model. They're watching (and imitating) you. If you roll through stop signs, exhibit road rage, or speed, so will your kids.