How to Choose Your Teen’s Car Insurance and Save Money
A critical moment in the life of a teenager is when they finally obtain that ever-elusive “freedom” that comes with finally having their own vehicle. They can finally hit the road and unshackle themselves from the possibility of their parent’s schedule conflicting with their own.
For parents this is also a refreshing experience, although the newfound sense of freedom that comes with no longer having to pick your child up from band practice is accompanied by the ever-present fear that your child isn’t driving safely. It’s also incredibly costly to keep your child legal on the road, because not only do they need car insurance, but they’re incredibly expensive to insure.
We’re not trying to scare you, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still rank car crashes as the leading cause of death ages 15 to 19, and adding a teenager to a married couple’s insurance plan can make the insurance rates for that plan skyrocket an enormous 79% on average. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into before choosing your teen’s insurance.
As is typically the case, gender matters to car insurance companies, and the stereotype of a “high risk driver” is male. Insuring a 16-year-old son will nearly double your insurance rates, causing them to jump about 92%, depending on where you live and who your provider is. If you have a daughter, things are a little less extreme, but insurance rates will still increase 67%. All of this is inexpensive, however, when compared to the cost of the teen getting their own insurance, so it’s a tough situation.
You’ll also be sharing the financial burden of your child’s mistakes. If they’re involved in an accident, your rates will likely be increased, and if personal or property damage beyond your covered limits occurs, you may be looking at a lawsuit. There are, however, several ways to make the most out of this potentially damaging situation.
As always, it’s good to start by choosing the right coverage. Shop around for the right policy and leverage all available adult driver discounts. If you live in a crowded area, you might consider moving to a more suburban area with lower rates and fewer risks. Some insurance plans directly marketed towards teens may actually give price breaks to families with students who maintain good grades; the use of electronic in-car monitors can also lower the rates of a safe driver.
Choosing the right vehicle helps as well, so if you’re picking out a car for your teen, you may be better off ignoring their pleas for a flashy sports car. SUVs and minivans are cheaper to insure, and as an added bonus, they’re often far safer than sports cars.
Do you have a teen that will soon be behind the wheel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.