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Five Ways to Get the Best Teen Auto Insurance

When a child turns 16, every parent feels both pride and anxiety. While the family gains a driver who can run errands or pick up younger siblings, it can be difficult to trust teenagers with all the responsibility of driving. One thing that parents can control is the cost of auto insurance for teenagers. Many parents assume that getting auto insurance will be expensive and difficult, but there are several strategies for reducing the cost of auto insurance for a teen driver.

Choosing a Vehicle

ways to get the best teen auto insurance

While teenagers may have their heart set on a particular kind of car, the vehicle parents choose for their teen driver has important consequences for safety and affordability. Many teenagers would love to pull into the school parking lot with a convertible, but cars without hard tops are much more expensive to insure. Popular brands of “soft top” cars include the Jeep Wrangler, the convertible version of the Chrysler Sebring or Saab 93, and the Chevrolet Camaro. These vehicles are stylish and fun, but even older drivers will have trouble getting affordable car insurance for them.

Parents should also look out for the maximum speed and occupancy size of the vehicle. It is harder to insure an SUV than a two-seat coupe because it can hold more people, which exposes the insurance company to additional liability risk if a driver gets into an accident with a car full of passengers.

This risk is multiplied exponentially by teen drivers, who are more likely to get into accidents while there are other passengers in the car to distract them. Choosing a smaller 2-4 seat vehicle can bring down insurance costs substantially.

Another strategy is to choose older vehicles which have lower top speeds than maximum vehicles.

A car from 1991 will have more trouble reaching the engine’s top speed than a car built in 2011.

Even though it seems like a small detail, these factors are taken into consideration in the risk models for insurance companies. Choosing a car that is smaller, older, and sturdier is an easy way to reduce insurance premiums for teen drivers.

educate teen driversEducating Teen Drivers

Many insurance companies offer reductions in insurance rates if teenagers take driving courses. A basic driving course — in addition to the certification program required for a license — could lower the insurance premium much more than it costs to take the course, which makes it an excellent investment for teen drivers. Courses in additional skills, like defensive driving, may further reduce insurance premiums.

Some insurance companies even offer weekend seminars or online courses to certify teen drivers. Completing one or more of these courses could lead to lower insurance rates; to be sure, inquire with insurance agencies to see if they offer rebates or reductions for drivers who complete safety courses.

It is also important to educate teen drivers because even a tiny accident — like a fender bender in a parking lot — could lead to astronomical increases in insurance premiums. Making sure that teen drivers are well-prepared for a variety of driving challenges will ensure that accidents are avoided. Even if the insurance company doesn’t offer a discount, it may still be worth it to sign up a teen driver so they avoid premium-hiking accidents.

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Good Grades Matter!

Several companies offer considerable discounts to teen drivers who maintain a 3.0 GPA or better, receiving all A’s and B’s in their high school courses. Insurers offer these discounts because there is a strong correlation between a teen driver’s grades and their likelihood of getting into an accident: students who maintain high grades are more likely to pay attention on the road, take fewer risks, and use caution when driving. Emphasizing the importance of grades to a teenager could save nearly $50 per month on auto insurance premiums.

One compromise that parents can offer to students is being allowed to drive themselves to school on the condition that they stay after school for tutoring.

Both sides win with this compromise: parents get cheaper auto insurance and better grades on report cards, while students get the freedom of driving to school.

teen good grades auto insurance

Parents can even condition their student’s driving on maintaining a certain GPA. Almost all states have laws that empower parents to seize and hold their minor child’s license; because parents have all the liability for teens’ accidents, states want to give parents the power to keep their children off the road if necessary.

Modify an Existing Policy

Some parents choose to take out an entirely new policy when their teenager gets a car, either to avoid personal liability for accidents or to require their teenager to pay for their own insurance. This strategy is costly and unnecessary. In most states, parents are still liable for the accidents of minor children even if they have a separate insurance policy. It is far less expensive to adjust an existing policy to add a new teen driver.

Most insurance companies can limit the driver’s coverage to one vehicle — meaning if Dad has a convertible he doesn’t have to pay extra for his insurance just because there is a teen driver in the house. This works well for parents who have new cars but want their child insured only for an older, safer car. Some parents are able to add an additional driver for less than $100 per month, and in some cases far less than that if the family elects to have high-deductible insurance.

Comparison Shop

The easiest way to find the best deal is to compare multiple options. There are many websites that help customers compare auto insurance quotes from multiple insurers. Instead of spending hours on the phone with multiple agents, consumers can enter a few personal details and have fully customized quotes delivered to their inbox. Some insurers, especially ones that do not have fancy national advertising campaigns, can offer low rates that are more competitive than larger insurance companies.

The only way to find many of these smaller insurers is through comparison shopping websites.

Find one that offers a wide variety of insurers and policy types, then sit back and wait as insurers come to you with their best offers. The easiest way to get low cost auto insurance is to make insurers compete with each other, and comparison shopping websites force insurers to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool now!

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