As our children grow, they take on new responsibilities — chores around the house, less supervision when it comes to schoolwork, and eventually even access to the family car (or a vehicle of their own).
It's important to make sure you take a look at the costs involved in insuring teen drivers against vehicular collisions as early as possible.
Bringing a new driver into the family will inevitably change your auto insurance costs, but just how much does it cost to insure a teenage driver? Today, we'll take a look at the cost in terms of dollars and cents and give you a few tips on teen driver safety that can help keep your child safe and your premium rates reasonably low.
Auto Insurance for Teenage Drivers: The Numbers.
Last year, an analysis from InsuranceQuotes.com noted that the average U.S. family that adds a teen driver to their auto insurance policy will see an average increase of 79% on their premiums.
This is largely due to the inexperience of teen drivers, who may be prone to make mistakes that older drivers with more experience behind the wheel don't make.
Teen boys remain more expensive to insurance than teenage girls, at a potential rate hike of 90% compared to girls' 67%. Either way, the rise in costs seems staggering.
It may be hard to believe, but these 2016 numbers were actually lower than previous years. In 2013, the average premium hike was around 85%. Bringing a teenage driver onto your automobile insurance policy is clearly something you'll want to be planning for years in advance, if possible.
To a certain extent, these rate hikes are to be expected and can't really be avoided. However, there are steps you can take to help your teen driver stay safe and keep your costs down.
Stick to a Reliable Vehicle — Flashy Cars Can Wait.
Your new teen driver may be begging for a new sports car they can show off to their friends, but you'll keep your premiums down by investing in a reliable pre-owned vehicle instead.
Sports cars and high-performance vehicles tend to correlate with larger rate increases, so keep things simple and steady — or tell your teen they'll have to save up to pay the difference in insurance premiums.
Be sure to take a look at the safety rating of whatever make and model of vehicle you choose. In case of a vehicular collision, you'll want your teen behind the wheel of a vehicle with high safety standards and good crash-test results.
Good Grades Can Mean Lower Rates.
Check with your auto insurance agent when adding the new driver to your policy — many insurance companies offer premium discounts for families whose teen driver maintains a high grade-point-average.
These discounts may continue after high school if the student is able to maintain high grades in college or if they are added to the Dean's List or receive other honors.
Do Your Research.
Could you lower your premiums by changing your plan to include a higher deductible? If you can afford it, it might help offset the difference in costs when you add a teenager driver to your insurance policy.
You might also find it advantageous to switch insurance companies entirely.
If you look into switching up insurance companies or even just changing your policy, though, it's worth asking to speak with a legal representative about the change in contracts and what the new insurance policy's legal effects would be.
Often, families who switch to a new insurance policy are shocked to discover clauses they've never seen before in the documents they signed, such as forced arbitration clauses. These and other "fine print" in new insurance contracts can make it difficult to hold your insurance company responsible in the case of potential bad faith insurance.
Additionally, make sure to talk to your insurance agent about optional underinsured or personal injury protection insurance coverage. Underinsured Motorist coverage is optional coverage that you are not required to carry but protects you and your child in the event the party responsible for causing a car wreck does not have enough coverage to compensate the driver and/or passenger in your insured vehicle for their injuries. Personal injury protection coverage, sometimes called Med Pay coverage, is coverage that will help provide money for your medical expenses, and sometimes lost wages, regardless of who is at fault.
Finally, Emphasize Safety First.
All the good grades, four-door sedans, and higher deductibles in the world can't keep your teen driver safe if they aren't keeping their eyes — and attention — on the road.
Make sure your teen goes through a driver safety program before they get their license, and talk to them about the importance of not texting while they drive. Distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of teen wrecks in the United States, and your teen may be surprised to learn just how many of their everyday actions can lead to serious consequences.
'Distracted driving' includes any action that takes your teen's attention away from the task at hand, including:
- Eating: If you have an older teen who likes to run through the drive-thru on his or her way to school, suggest they leave a few minutes earlier and sit inside while they eat. Even the most "driver-friendly" fast food still cuts down on the attention they can give to the road!
- Changing radio stations or what song is playing on the stereo: Whether your teen driver still listens to the radio or if they've got an iPod or their phone hooked up to the stereo system, all the time they spend scrolling to find the right station or the perfect song is time they're not staying safe.
- Talking on the phone: Many people argue that cell phone conversations aren't as distracting. The truth is, talking on your cell phone still takes attention away from the road. Suggest to your teen that there isn't any non-emergency conversation that can't wait until they arrive at their destination.
- Texting: This is a big one. Texting while driving is a huge cause of vehicle collisions for drivers of all ages, but teens are more susceptible to the pressure to text while on the road, and they're more likely to get into a wreck as a result. Emphasize to your teen driver that they must never text while driving.
Even after you speak with them about safety and keeping their attention focused on the task at hand, make it a habit to routinely check up to ensure they've heard and understood your warnings.
Teens have a tendency to assume reasonable parental caution is overbearing or overprotective, so it's important to make sure this is a topic of continued conversation, so your teen understands just why you're so concerned.
Has Your Teen Been Involved in a Wreck?
If your teen driver has been involved in a hit-and-run, a vehicle collision where texting and driving was the reason for the crash, a motorcycle wreck, or has been the victim of a wreck involving a tractor trailer, you deserve to have legal representation that is dedicated to protecting your individual rights.
At BNTD Law, we have experience with automobile wrecks of all kinds, and would be happy to sit down with you to take a look at your unique situation and help you decide on the next step. Reach us by phone at (803) 779-7599 or contact us online at any time!