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A Guide to Car Insurance for Teens and Driver Safety
Teens are considered high-risk drivers and insurance companies want families to pay the price for it. However, there are helpful options to consider when looking into car insurance with a teen driver in the house. While teens are still trying to figure out the road (and themselves), there are ways to encourage safe driving habits to benefit you, them and your wallet.
What Affects Insurance Rates
As a driver and insurance customer yourself, you know there are many factors that affect your monthly premium cost. You try to be a safe driver and even refrained from buying that new car to keep your rate as low as possible. But your teen’s insurance will probably still wind up more expensive than yours even with his or her clean slate. The following items are the biggest factors contributing to your teen’s car insurance rate:
- Driving Experience
- Driving Record
- Marital status
Your son can’t help being a 16-year-old boy, but insurance companies see him as a huge liability. Single males younger than 25 years old maintain the highest record for car accidents. Their inexperience makes them susceptible to accidents and traffic violations, thus affecting their driving record. It’s an awful, expensive cycle until teens find their footing and can intuitively make better driving decisions. But knowing this, you can make other beneficial choices to reduce that pricey rate.
Reducing Insurance Rates
Not every teen poses the same threat on the road. But accident statistics make it easy for insurance companies to classify all teens as “high risk”. Thankfully, those companies also offer discounts for teenagers who defy those negative expectations.
Encouraging teens to take a driver’s ed course can also promote safe driving. Taking this course also grants your teen a “Safe Driver” label on their license. Drivers ed courses outline the basics of driving along with rules and laws all drivers must follow. Taking a drivers ed course indicates to insurance companies that the new driver has basic professional driving knowledge and is expected to follow the rules.
Good Student Discount
Statistically, students who earn higher grades get into less accidents. Therefore, insurance companies like to reward these safe, high-achieving teens. Students achieving and maintaining an average of a B or 3.0 GPA qualify for this as long as you show proof.
Telematics are devices that monitor and report driving activity to you and the insurance company. Naturally, teens would oppose this invasion of their privacy and free will. But it reinforces and rewards safe driving habits like appropriate breaking and speed limit adherence. So in the long-term, it’s a win-win.
Buy Used, or Cheap Cars
Newer and nicer cars equal more frequent and more expensive repairs. Because teens are highly likely to get into a few fender-benders and bruise the car from curbs or bushes, it is cheaper and less risky to invest in an older, but safer car.
A safe driver is a cheaper driver. Following the rules of the road as well as those enforced on teen drivers greatly diminishes accidents and encourages safe driving. The National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises these rules for teen safety:
- No phone use
- Always wear a seatbelt
- No drunk driving
- Drive the speed limit
- Don’t drive other passengers
- Drive during daytime hours
Doing the opposite of any of these rules increases the chances of anyone, especially teens, getting into an accident. These rules are meant to keep drivers safe by promoting focus and a safe environment to be able to juggle all the demands of driving.
Guide To Car Insurance For Teens
But one of the best ways to promote safe driving in teens is to continue letting them drive. Inexperience is the number one reason that teenagers are not good drivers. It takes time and practice to learn how to judge traffic, timing, speed, weather and traffic. It’s also important to explain the reasoning behind driving rules.
For example, having passengers in the car is a huge responsibility. Their lives are in your hands when you are behind the wheel. It’s important to set safe driving examples and make it clear that cars are a means to get from point A to point B. They are not meant to be an attraction themselves.