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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Car insurance for young drivers is more expensive than for almost every other category of driver. Only drivers with a record of repeated serious violations have higher insurance premiums. The high cost of car insurance for young drivers can diminish the excitement of getting a license and becoming more independent, and it can add to the challenge many parents and students face saving and paying for college. It can also put too high a price tag on commuting to those all-important first jobs that young adults need in order to establish their independence, contribute to their college expenses and start building a financial future.
For all these reasons, young drivers and their parents have the most to gain by becoming smart car insurance shoppers and looking for ways to buy cheap car insurance. Families can also take this opportunity to reaffirm the value of safe driving habits, owning a safe car, doing well in school and budgeting wisely, because these all improve your chances of finding cheaper car insurance for young drivers.
Insuring Teen Drivers
Young drivers are generally defined as those between the ages of 16 and 25, and are usually subdivided into several categories for car insurance purposes. The youngest and most expensive are teen drivers, who are typically high school students living at home when they first obtain a driver’s license. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in this age group, and more auto injuries are caused by teen drivers than by any other group. Therefore, although the high cost of car insurance is a burden for these teens and their families, the reasons for these costs are all too easy to see. Teen drivers have yet to fully mature, and don’t always make the best choices about drinking, cell phone use, speeding and socializing when behind the wheel.
How much more expensive is insurance for teen drivers?
Recent trends indicate an overall average of $500 to $1000 extra per year when compared with other drivers. However, the numbers can be much worse, especially for young males, for teens in high-theft towns, or for those with a record of accidents or speeding tickets. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to soften the blow and find cheap car insurance for young drivers.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
Complete an approved driver’s education course and participate in all graduated licensing programs available or mandated by your state. These may include such restrictions as a waiting period before obtaining a full license, a required period of supervised driving, and/or restrictions on the number of passengers, since a teenager driving a car full of other teens is much more likely to be involved in a serious accident.
Choose a Safe Car
When buying a car for a teen, choose a used model with excellent crash ratings as well as anti-lock brakes, passive restraints, multiple airbags and an anti-theft system. Investigate the cost of insurance premiums before deciding which used car to buy for your teen. Choose a car that is safe and conservative; avoid sports cars and entry-level compact cars in particular.
Add your Teenager to an Existing Policy
If you plan to add a teen as a driver on a current family vehicle, choose an insurer who will let you assign your teen to whichever car you own that is cheapest to insure. Some insurers will automatically assign a teen driver to the car you own that is most expensive to insure. By switching your teen to an older, less pricey family vehicle, you may save hundreds of dollars a year.
Good Grades Discounts
Many insurers offer a percentage discount to students who maintain a B average or better, so obtain quotes from companies that offers this discount. Calculate the savings, and let your teen know how much money a good academic record has saved the family. This is an excellent opportunity for a teen to learn that success pays!
Increase Your Deductible
Increase your deductible to $1000 and plan with your teen how to pay for higher out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident through saving and budgeting. Stress the financial impact of even minor fender-benders: either the teen or the parents must pay the deductible, so driving carefully really does save money. Most teens will understand this message if parents take the time to communicate thoroughly. You may even consider not reporting minor fender-benders to avoid triggering a premium increase for your teen driver.
Learn about Car Insurance Discounts
Investigate other incidental savings that may be available, such as those for low mileage, multi-policy bundling or automatic monthly premium withdrawal from a bank account.
College Students and Young Working Drivers Ages 20-25
Many of the above suggestions apply to this age group as well, such as buying an older, conservative car and taking a higher deductible. College students can continue to get discounts for maintaining good grades in many cases if they are continuously enrolled, even up to age 25. Membership in an honor society, fraternity or sorority can bring the opportunity for car insurance discounts as well. For young drivers who rent an apartment, remember that a low-rent area can also be a high-crime area, so savings on cheap rent may be erased by higher car insurance rates. Finally, college students and young working drivers need to pay close attention to developing a good credit record by making credit card and car loan payments on time.
With each year of safe driving and good credit, young drivers establish the foundation for reasonable car insurance rates in the future. Average rates for this age group are considerably lower than for teens, but still relatively high. However, by comparing multiple quotes from car insurance companies and following the advice given here, young drivers will maximize their chances of finding cheap car insurance.