FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013
How Teen Drivers Affect Your Car Insurance
When teens are about to turn 16, chances are they’re dreaming of carefree days behind the wheel with
the windows down and the wind in their hair. As the parent of a new teen driver, your dreams may be
clouded with worry and higher insurance rates.
Talking to your insurance agent is a first step in dealing with both topics. Knowing that you have
adequate car insurance coverage can offer peace of mind when you hand over the keys to your
teenager. Your agent can help you design a policy that protects your family and meets your budget.
When to Add Your Teen Driver to Your Car Insurance
Every driver must be insured, even while they are driving with their learner’s permit. And in most cases,
it’s more cost-efficient to add your child to your policy rather than buy a separate policy. Usually the
new teenage driver will need to be designated as the primary driver on one of the family vehicles. If you
are buying a new car as the number of drivers in your family increases, have your teen drive one of the
older ones since newer cars cost more to insure anyway.
What Teen Drivers Mean for Your Insurance Rates
Typically adding a new teen driver will increase your car insurance premium somewhat since teen drivers add more risk. It’s common knowledge that teen drivers cause more accidents and tend to be more easily distracted behind the wheel. Since insurance companies need to protect against those risks, it usually costs more to insure new teen drivers. But while your rates are likely to increase, there are ways to make your car insurance more affordable.
Several Ways To Save
While the thought of having a new teen driver may send your blood pressure skyward, there are several ways to lower the cost of insuring them.
Raise your deductible. It’s an effective way to offset the cost of insuring a teen driver, but be aware that teens have more accidents, so you may not want to take on more risk than you can handle.
Postpone the license. Many insurance companies offer discounts for teens who mature another year or
two before getting their license.
Share the family car. Having your teen drive one of your existing family vehicles may limit their driving
time, which reduces your risk in the eyes of the insurance company. If you buy a car just for your teen,
that unlimited access may mean more time behind the wheel.
Choose a new car wisely. If you need to buy a car for your new driver, you may want to research which
ones cost less to insure. Your insurance agent can help.
Get good grades. Many insurance companies view responsible students as responsible drivers and
reward the family with lower insurance rates.
Look for safe driver programs. Ask your insurance agent about safe driving programs. They often
require the participants to sign contracts indicating they will not participate in risky behavior such as
drinking and driving. They are a way to reduce your insurance premiums and also teach your child safe
driving habits that could potentially save their lives.
Don’t Skimp on Coverage to Save a Few Dollars
Shaving a little off your liability coverage may seem like a way to compensate for a higher premium, but
ultimately it may not be the best choice. In the event of a serious accident, skimping on your liability
coverage would leave you footing the bill for anything beyond your liability limits, which could
potentially put your financial security at risk.
In fact, teen car crashes are more likely to result in high-judgment lawsuits, so many insurers
recommend adding an umbrella policy when insuring a new teen driver. Umbrella policies offer
protection above and beyond the standard limits of your primary policies. And because umbrella policies
are designed for those ‘perfect storm’ instances, they are relatively inexpensive.
Valdosta Insurance Services Can Help!
Having a new teen driver in the house can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Contact your
independent insurance agent when your teen is about to get behind the wheel. We’ll help you find out
how to get affordable, dependable coverage so you’re prepared when you hand over the car keys to
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