Car insurance tips for parents with new teen drivers: Find the best and cheapest options

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UPDATED: 2020-03-27T15:29:26.149Z
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A female teen driver sitting in the driver's seat of a silver car smiling and holding the car key.

Do you have a teenager starting to drive on their own? It comes with a complex mix of emotions. First of all, there are few things scarier for parents than when their “baby” gets behind the wheel. On the other hand, you might feel a bit of relief to get some of your time back when you’re no longer the go-to chauffeur.

No matter how you deal with the complex emotions surrounding teen drivers, though, there’s no escaping the cost of teen car insurance. Once you have a teen driving, your rates shoot up. I know, my son has been a teen driver for three years.

Here’s what you need to know about car insurance for teens before your child gets his/her learner’s permit.

How much does car insurance cost for teens?

Let’s get the sticker shock out of the way upfront. As with any insurance policy, the cost of car insurance for teens depends on a number of factors, including the age of your new driver, where you live, your own rates, the type of coverage you get, and the car your teen is driving.

When my son first started driving, my monthly insurance premium doubled. The cost doubled, rather than more than that, because he was a new driver in a cheap car. I only got liability coverage and it still cost a lot. Recently, after upgrading my teen driver to a more reliable car, the monthly premium doubled — again — because now we have comprehensive and collision as well as liability.

Buying teen car insurance is even more expensive if you get them a separate policy, rather than just adding them to yours. So, even if it feels like a lot to add them to your own policy, it could still be less expensive than the alternative. Use a car insurance calculator to get a feel for what to expect ahead of time.

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Basics for getting the best and cheapest car insurance for teens

You need to be prepared for the increase in premiums when you add your teen driver to your car insurance. Consider planning ahead and beginning to budget as if you’re already paying for teen drivers on your policy.

Beyond that, though, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking some basic steps to get the best and cheapest car insurance for teens as you move forward.

  • Talk to your insurance agent about how they cover a new driver.
  • Find out whether your own policy is acceptable while they have a learner’s permit.
  • Review the requirements for adding teen drivers to the policy.
  • Consider raising your liability limits or even getting an umbrella policy, depending on your assets.

Not every car insurer covers teen drivers, and some might have different teen driving requirements. For example, my insurer didn’t require me to add my son to the policy until after he passed his driving test and had a license. The six months he spent on his learner’s permit didn’t increase my rates, providing me with a temporary reprieve.

Ask your agent to run the numbers to confirm how much it will cost to add a new driver to the policy, and then ask for ways you might be able to save money. While there’s no such thing as truly cheap car insurance for teens, there are ways to reduce the overall cost.

How to save money on car insurance for teens

You can’t get cheap car insurance for teens. It’s just not going to happen. Your premiums might not double like mine did, but there’s a chance that you will end up with an increase of between 50 percent and 80 percent in your premiums just for adding teen drivers.

However, there are some ways to save money on teen car insurance, helping you at least limit the financial damage.

Assign your teen driver to the cheapest car

Make your new driver the primary on the least expensive car you have. You might not always have the choice (some insurers automatically assign the most expensive driver to the most expensive car), but if you do get the choice, use this approach.

However, this also requires you to ensure that your teen is driving the appropriate car. If you leave your teen off one of your cars (even as a secondary driver), and they get in an accident while driving that car, you could face even more expensive consequences.

Get the right coverage

If your teen is driving an older beater, you might not need to get collision or comprehensive coverage. Instead, it might make sense to just get liability insurance in the event your child is responsible for damage or injuries. Or, perhaps you decide to get liability and collision, which can still be cheaper than getting comprehensive coverage.

Carefully run the numbers and consider your needs as a family. I started with just liability coverage because my son’s car was so inexpensive. However, I upgraded his coverage when I upgraded his car to ensure that, financially, we were protected.

One of the things to consider when getting teen car insurance is that you need to weigh the cost of premiums with the risk of bigger expenses if you don’t have the correct coverage.

Raise your deductible

If you can afford to pay more out of pocket for unfortunate events, consider raising your deductible. In fact, this is something I’m considering right now. I didn’t raise my deductible when I ended up with a teen driving. However, now that I’ve got a solid emergency fund and can handle more out-of-pocket costs, I’m considering increasing the deductible.

Just by increasing my deductible from $750 to $1,500, I could actually knock about $100 off my monthly premium, according to my insurance agent.

Part of my calculation here is the fact that my son has been driving for three years now, and hasn’t had been in any accidents, nor has he received a speeding ticket. His responsible behaviors help me feel a little more confident in increasing the deductible.

Ask about special car insurance discounts

While you can’t get cheap car insurance for teens, you can get some discounts, depending on the situation. Find out what types of teen driving options there are, as well as asking about more standard discounts. Here are some items to ask about as you add a new driver:

  • Multi-car discount: If your new driver comes with another car, you might be eligible for a multi-car discount. Find out if adding another car results in a price break.
  • Good student discount: Teen drivers might be expensive to insure, but if they have good grades, you might save some money. My insurer offers a discount as long as my son maintains a 3.0 GPA.
  • Driving course discount: Some insurers offer a discount on car insurance for teen drivers if they have taken a certified defensive driving course or some other driving course. Find out if you can get a lower premium by having your child complete a course.
  • Multi-policy discount: If you’ve had your homeowners or renters insurance at another company, consider shifting it to your car insurer. Some companies will offer discounts for having multiple policies.

Even if a discount won’t completely offset the premium increases associated with teen drivers, it can reduce your overall costs and save you some money each month. Additionally, consider shopping around for the best car insurance.

The bottom line on teen car insurance

You’re not going to get cheap car insurance for teens, but you can still reduce some of the costs associated with teen driving. Talk to your car insurer about the options, and ways to tweak your policy so that you still have the coverage you need, but you aren’t breaking your budget.

Don’t forget to shop around, too. You don’t have to stick with your current insurer if they aren’t working for you. Compare insurance rates for teen drivers at a few other places in order to get the best value.

Visit Clearsurance's best car insurance rankings page to see which companies consumers say are the best in your zip code.

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