Car Insurance 101 For Teenage Drivers And Their Parents

Things parents can do to help reduce the costs of car insurance for teens:

According to a 2004 study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly a third of all traffic-related fatalities are represented by teenagers. Further studies have shown that teen drivers are far more likely to commit errors behind the wheel, make poor decisions, and drive at unsafe speeds than any other age group. This is the main reason why car insurance companies attach high premiums to teen policyholders. Their business model is based upon risk management strategies, and teenage drivers clearly represent a significantly higher level of risk.

Fortunately, there are steps that parents can take in order to reduce their teen’s auto insurance rates. Below, you’ll learn 5 ways to control the costs of car insurance for teens while helping to ensure that your teenager also remains safe on the road.

#1 – Watch Their Grades

Auto insurers use profiles to determine the potential risk of underwriting a policy. Good grades usually reflect responsibility and good decision-making skills. As a result, carriers often reward teens – and their parents – with a rate reduction. Each insurance company has varying guidelines regarding discounts on premiums for good grades. Ask your car insurance company about their GPA requirements.

#2 – Encourage Traffic School

Teenage drivers tend to speed, attracting more than their fair share of traffic tickets. Unfortunately, traffic tickets cause their insurance rates to rise. The good news is that their driving record can remain clean if they agree to attend traffic school (if/when the judge offers them the option). However, left to their own devices, a lot of teenagers will avoid spending an entire Saturday in class. Make sure they attend. Not only will it give them the opportunity to reflect on their mistake, but a clean record helps keep premiums manageable.

#3 – Choose A Practical Car

Your 16-year-old son may want a red Corvette, but buying one for him will likely cause his insurance rates to rise. Car insurance companies consider teenagers with sports cars to represent a higher potential risk than otherwise. Opt for a 4-door vehicle that is safe to drive, fuel efficient, and comes equipped with safety features (i.e. airbags). Your teenager’s insurance premiums will be lower.

#4 – Add Them To Your Policy

It’s usually more cost-effective to add your son or daughter to your family car insurance policy than it is to open a new policy for them. If you can have them categorized as a “part-time” driver, you’ll enjoy lower rates. Carriers consider full-time teenage drivers as a higher risk; the premiums will reflect that increased risk.

#5 – Cultivate The Right Attitude

Despite what a lot of parents think, their teenagers often become involved in traffic collisions because of their attitude toward driving, not a lack of skills. Young adults develop a sense of invulnerability. As a result, they often neglect to drive safely. This lack of concern while behind the wheel leads to traffic tickets and accidents.

Ride along with them. Take note of their driving skills, decision-making ability, and attitude. If you can nurture the right perspective in your son or daughter, they’re more likely to drive safely and keep their record clean. And remember, a clean driving record leads to lower car insurance premiums.

Parents, Teenagers, and Premiums

Teenage drivers are at an immediate disadvantage. They’ve already been profiled by auto insurers as a high-risk group and are instantly saddled with higher insurance rates. That said, parents can take a few savvy steps in order to help manage the costs. By encouraging good grades, traffic school (when available), buying a practical car, and adding them to a family policy, they can keep the premiums at a reasonable level. Finally, they should invest time to cultivate the right attitude toward driving. By doing these 5 things, parents can significantly lower their – and their kids’ – auto insurance rates.

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