No matter how well you prepare for it, the cost of insuring a teenage driver can result in major sticker shock. Car insurance for teens can be quite expensive. Adding a single teenage girl can cause your premiums to double immediately, and adding a boy can increase your rates by as much as three times what you’re currently paying. It’s almost enough to make you wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to just put up with another year or two of driving your teen around town.
That’s not to say that there’s no hope, though. There are definitely steps you can take to find affordable car insurance for teens and minimize the effects on your wallet.
Before You Buy:
Choose your teen’s car with insurance in mind. That means striking a careful balance between getting a car that’s new enough to have modern safety features and yet not so new that repairs would be unusually expensive. In general, look for small or mid-sized cars that are a few years old without being brand new. Sporty cars and SUVs will generally cost significantly more to insure.
If you’re not sure what to buy, call your insurance agent and ask for some recommendations. He or she should be able to list numerous makes and models that are known for their affordability when it comes to insurance rates.
As You Approach D(riving) Day:
As your teen approaches driving age, take a close look at his or her academics. Most insurance companies offer some form of good student discount, usually available to all teens with a “B” average or better. If that’s at all attainable, encourage your teen to put in the extra time necessary to do it. Depending on your provider, the discounts can be as high as 20-30%.
Even if you’re not able to benefit from a good student discount, you’ll find that many insurance providers are willing to extend additional discounts if your teen completes extra driver’s education. While private driver’s education classes can be costly in their own right, you’ll also get the satisfaction of knowing that your teen received extra supervised practice. If that’s prohibitively time-consuming or expensive, you can also check out our Online Driver Training Courses Guide for additional alternatives.
Regardless of whether you’re getting discounts, it may also be worthwhile to get quotes from a couple of new companies. Don’t assume that a good rate now means that your existing provider is going to have the best rate once you add new drivers.
You may also find that your agent can offer helpful suggestions about which driver should use each car to realize maximum savings. By listing your teen as an “occasional” driver (if it’s true) or on one of your older cars, you could see significant savings.
If you absolutely can’t afford the addition of a new teen driver, there are a couple of more extreme alternatives. First, if your teen is driving a fairly old car with a clear title, you can consider purchasing just the minimum legal liability insurance. As a general rule, this is inadvisable due to the fact that it doesn’t provide good coverage in the event of an accident, but it can be done as an absolute last resort.
Even more extreme, you could consider delaying your teen’s license by a few months while you save. Many companies don’t require you to purchase additional insurance for a teen with a learner’s permit.
With proper planning, you should be able to find some way to make your teen’s car insurance rates bearable. Further, by taking cost-reducing measures like purchasing a safer car or taking extra driving classes, you’re also taking steps that reduce the likelihood that your teen will be injured in an accident – and that’s the most important thing of all.