The idea of your young child being behind the wheel of a vehicle can be terrifying. It’s a big step for your child, as well as for you. Unfortunately, they have to grow up eventually, and driving for the first time is one of those milestones in life that every American must experience.
With driving comes responsibility. Being responsible behind the wheel not only means driving safely, but also maintaining active auto insurance coverage. Before you even think about putting your young one in the driver’s seat, buying an insurance policy for him or her is essential.
Continue reading below to learn more about getting car insurance for young drivers, why young drivers are considered to be “high risk”, and how you can save on auto insurance for young drivers.
Introduction to Car Insurance for Young Drivers
Insuring a new driver can be quite expensive, as you’ll quickly find out reflected on your monthly auto insurance premium. Unfortunately, insurance is something you must have if you want your child to drive. Not only is it required by law, but it’s simply irresponsible to let your young driver operate a vehicle without being covered by insurance.
While there is no escaping the high rates that come with the territory, the key to saving on auto insurance for young drivers is to keep their driving record clean of tickets and accidents. This is achieved by education and instilling good driving practices in your son or daughter.
A single speeding ticket, or the most insignificant fender bender can send a young driver’s auto insurance rates skyrocketing. As a parent, chances are you’ll be paying for their auto coverage for years to come, so it’s in everyone’s best interest that you teach them how to drive safely and responsibly.
If you decide to buy them their own new or used car, be sure to choose a car with high safety ratings, and more importantly, a car that isn’t too fast or flashy. The car they drive heavily impacts their auto insurance premiums, so choosing the right vehicle can lead to a lot of savings.
On the same note, you should keep your teen driver involved in the auto insurance buying process as well. Make sure they are well aware of the costs, and the negative impact irresponsible driving can have on the whole family. Be sure to also mention the long term effects and costs of a tarnished driving record.
A popular method to teach financial responsibility, although despised by young drivers, is to make them pay for a percentage of the total monthly auto insurance premium (or the whole thing). If they drive irresponsibly, you won’t be the only one effected by this financial blow.
Young Drivers are High Risk Drivers
As hinted at above, you might be in for a shock when you first see how much it will cost to insure your child when he or she first starts driving. Realize that teenagers, out of any age group, see the highest premiums from insurance companies. This is because they are viewed as “high risk drivers”.
Young drivers are generally considered “high risk” because of their lack of driving experience. They are more likely to get into serious accidents, cause high amounts of monetary damage, and receive traffic violations.
Insurance companies have no problem offering low premiums to older drivers with years of driving experience and a good driving record. This is because insuring them is less risky. With young drivers, however, this is not the case. This is why it’s even more important to keep their driving record accident and violation-free. One speeding ticket or at-fault fender bender could send their already-high premiums through the roof.
With that being said, realize that it is still possible for a young driver to get relatively good rates on their auto insurance. They will still pay more than the average adult over age 25, but with some due diligence, they can pay a lot less than their peers and classmates.
Saving Money on Auto Insurance for Young Drivers
Follow the tips and strategies below to help keep your child’s car insurance rates affordable. While you’ll most likely never find cheap auto insurance for young drivers, you can at least do everything in your power to keep the premiums at a manageable level.
- Get added to mom and dad’s policy – By adding your teen driver to your existing auto insurance policy at home, you can prevent them from needing to search for an expensive policy on their own. Being added to your current policy is always a much cheaper option for them. To add a 16 year old to your existing policy, for example, will cost you an extra $278 per month. If the same 16 year old were to go on on his/her own and buy an individual policy, however, it would cost $438 per month.
- Be aware of student discounts – Many auto insurance companies offer auto insurance discounts for good students. Insurers will typically offer students a 10-15% discount if they maintain a 3.0 GPA or above. These discounts exist not only for high school students, but for college students as well. Be sure to always ask your insurer if your young driver qualifies. Often times qualifying for this discount is as easy as telling your agent, “yeah, he’s a good student.”
- Take driver’s ed classes – There are always driver’s ed and defensive driving programs available for young drivers to enroll in. While your son or daughter might not enjoy sitting in a classroom for hours listening to a boring lecture, these classes are usually cheap (if not free), and can give them a substantial discount on their insurance premiums.
- Maintain a good driving record – We’ve already mentioned the importance of maintaining a good driving record, but this must be reiterated. Young drivers are already at a disadvantage when it comes to finding cheap auto insurance. One traffic violation or at-fault accident can shoot their insurance rates to the moon.
- Shop around for rates – Many parents and young drivers make the mistake of signing up with the first insurer they get quotes from. They’ll either blindly add their child to their existing policy or they’ll call up the first insurer that comes to mind and buy coverage from them. It’s thought of as “best practice”, however, to shop for new insurance rates from time to time. Many insurance companies have no concept of customer loyalty. It might make sense, therefore, for you to find a brand new insurance provider to insure your family once your young driver gets behind the wheel.
- Choose high deductibles – Once you found an insurer, choosing a high deductible, while risky, shows your auto insurance provider that you have confidence in your child’s driving ability (and are willing to back it up with money). A high deductible will reduce a lot of the risk put on the shoulders of the insurance provider, yielding you lower premiums. The downside of this strategy, of course, is that if an accident were to occur, you’d be on the hook to pay a high repair bill before your insurance kicks in.
- Slow and steady wins the race – Putting your kid behind the wheel of a sports car isn’t the best idea for safety’s sake, and the auto insurance companies agree. Slower, safer, less expensive, and more reliable cars always cost less to insure than flashy luxury vehicles. If saving money is important to you, finding your child a used car that is cheap to insure should be at the top of every parent’s list.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
Don’t forget that maintaining valid auto coverage is required by law. When your child is still on his or her learner’s permit, your coverage will likely extend to them. The day they receive their driver’s license, however, you need to have an auto insurance policy in effect before they even put the keys in the ignition.
Watching your child drive for the first time is one of the scariest moments in any parent’s life, but it is something you must accept at one point or another. You will no longer be able to keep an eye on them in the back-seat or keep a leash on them at home. The most you can do educate them on the dangers of driving, set them up with a safe car to drive, and equip them with adequate insurance coverage.
Take your time when narrowing down choices of possible auto insurance providers. If you aren’t well-versed with auto insurance lingo you may be caught off guard by all the confusing terms and insurance jargon. To familiarize yourself with this subject, please peruse around this site and absorb as much information as you can take in. Always feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Once you are ready to start shopping for insurance for your young driver, scroll back up to the top of this page and enter your zip code to compare quotes. After filling out our brief form, you will be connected with affordable car insurance providers eager to insure you and your family.