The costs of teen auto insurance are typically higher than the norm. Young and inexperienced drivers pose a greater risk to insurance companies. They are more likely to have accidents than older drivers.
While some parents add their kids to their own auto insurance, this option doesn't work for every family. It is cheaper to add a teen driver to your coverage than to take out a separate policy for them; however, you, or your child, might not want to take this route.
For example, you might not want to put a young driver on your auto insurance in case they have an accident that would affect your premium costs and claims history. Or, you — and your child —might be keen for them to take responsibility for sourcing, arranging, and funding their own coverage.
While you should expect teen insurance to cost more, you can reduce these costs by taking some steps to minimize your child's risk rating. What can you both do to get useful discounts?
1. Choose a Lower Risk Vehicle
The car your teen drives affects the amount of insurance they have to pay. It's often better to go for a safe middle-of-the-road vehicle than for a flashy sports model or old clunker.
Insurers look at factors that might increase the risk or dollar amount of claims. For example, if your teen drives a high-end car, then the car is more likely to be a target for thieves. It also might cost more to repair if it needs specialist parts after an accident.
Or, if your child drives a clunker, then it might not have up-to-date safety features. These features reduce injury if the driver does have an accident and can make insurance premiums increase.
Insurers typically charge lower premiums for cars that are less likely to be involved in a claim. So, if your child drives a vehicle that has a good safety track record and that is easy to repair, then their policy costs should go down.
2. Prove Safe Driving Skills
Your teen's lack of driving experience increases their risk rating to an auto insurance company. It doesn't matter if your child is actually a safe and careful driver. Every teen driver falls into a high-risk category to start with.
However, your child can reduce the costs of their auto insurance by proving that they are safe behind the wheel. Typically, this happens naturally over the years if your child avoids accidents and claims.
To get an immediate discount, encourage your teen to take an additional driving course. Driver education classes and defensive driving courses develop skills that reduce the risks of accidents. So, insurance companies often give a discount for additional approved training.
You can also look at insurers that link coverage costs to a telematics monitor. Here, a device in the car monitors your child's driving behavior and habits. If they drive safely, their insurance charges are lower; if they don't take care on the road, they pay more.
These devices help inexperienced drivers learn good habits by penalizing them for bad ones. They encourage teens to drive to the rules to save money. Hopefully, these safe driving habits then become second nature.
3. Encourage Responsible Behavior
Insurance companies know that not all young drivers are at higher risks. For example, students who do well in school typically rank as a lower risk. The premise here is that high achievers and hard workers tend to be more responsible generally and are more likely to drive safely.
Your teen's general behavior and achievements in school or college could get them a discount on auto insurance costs. Some insurers reduce charges for young people who have and maintain a good grade point average or who rank in the top percent of their class. Membership of an honor or student society also sometimes helps.
4. Reduce Mileage
Standard teen auto insurance costs assume that the driver uses the car regularly or a lot. If your teen won't drive all the time or will have periods when they don't drive at all, then they might get a low-mileage discount.
This discount works in a couple of ways. For example, some insurance companies offer a telematics system that works out how far you drive. You then pay for your insurance on a distance basis. So, if your teen won't cover that many miles, they could save money this way.
Or, if your teen is about to leave home to go to college, then they can also get an auto insurance discount if they leave their car at home. This away from home discount rewards students who won't need a car at college and who will only use their vehicle when they return home during breaks.
While it's important to look for any discounts you can, remember that your teen could also save money by choosing the right insurance company and coverage features. For more advice, and an expert view of the market, contact L.A. Insurance.