“I passed my driving test!”
There are probably only a handful of statements that can simultaneously flood a parent with joy, pride, relief, and fear as quickly as the one above. Successfully passing a driving test is a rite of passage for many teens across the country. However, along with the delightful realization that you’ll no longer need to be the dedicated personal chauffer for your teen is the recognition that there is bad news too — your car insurance premiums are going to go up.
The good news
First, a bit of good news for the parents of teens — while teen insurance driving rates will cause your premiums to increase, that increase is less than it has been in the past. According to a recent study, the average increase to an auto insurance policy with a new teen driver is down from just a few years ago.
Some of the factors leading to this slowing rate of increase are: continued improvements in auto safety technology, fewer teens getting licenses, and the fact that “graduated” driving laws across the country are having the intended effect.
Ways to save on car insurance premiums
Still, any increase is a hefty additional cost in annual premium payments, so parents will undoubtedly be searching for ways to save on premiums. However, cost should not be the only factor that parents consider. Since age and driving experience are closely associated with the risk of accidents and injuries, having the right policy for your family is more important than finding the cheapest policy. With that in mind, here are some ways you might be able to make the inevitable premium increase a bit more bearable.
Good student discounts
You’ll need to talk to your carrier (and your teen) about this way to save. The amount of the discount can vary from state to state, and from one carrier to the next, but generally speaking, if your teen has a B or better average, you might be eligible for a reduction in your premium. Taking a driver education class may also lower your rates — again, check with your carrier to see if this is an option.
A car that provides good crash protection, costs less to repair, and isn’t a high-performance vehicle is your best bet for a teen. They might be thinking “Mustang convertible,” but you need to be thinking “minivan.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety publishes a list of the best cars to consider for teen drivers. Also, used vehicles will cost less to insure than brand-new ones.
Several major auto insurers have introduced technology that tracks and transmits driver data. This provides a carrier visibility into things like speed, braking behavior, and number of miles driven. As the driver improves and becomes a better and safer driver, rates can decrease. Check with your car insurance company to see if they have a similar program in place.
Parents also might consider increasing the amount of liability insurance you carry. The risk for accidents is highest as teens start to drive, and that risk drops as they accumulate more experience. Talk to your carrier and find out what your liability limits are, and see if an increase might make sense.
Finally, it’s always important to model good driving behavior. Teens are at high risk for distracted driving. It is important to tell them the dangers of distracted driving, but it does little good if you engage in texting or distracted driving yourself — so be your teen’s best role model, and show them what a good driver really looks like!
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