June 15, 2009

Insuring Teen Drivers

Finding auto insurance for teenagers can be a challenge. As a group, teenagers have an average of six times the number of car accidents that people over 30 do, so insurance companies tend to pass that burden onto customers through high premiums for teen drivers. The answer, however, is not to skip insuring your teen or to assume that they cannot get their license because the insurance will be too expensive. There are ways you can reduce the cost of teen driver auto insurance, both before and after they hit the road. Give the following tips for finding cheap teen auto insurance a try.

Shop Around

Even if you have had an insurance policy with a specific company for many years, when you are preparing to insure a teen driver, shopping around for the best rates is critical. Not all companies take the same dim view of teen drivers. The company you are with now might not be the best fit once your teen has a license.

If you find a better rate at a new company, don’t be afraid to check in with your current auto insurance provider to see if they will match it. Most companies will match auto insurance quotes if they can, which means you don’t have to worry about moving to a new company you might not have as much confidence in.

Enroll Your Teen in Driving School

If there is not a driver’s education program at your teen’s school, enroll them in an independent driving school. Although you may be perfectly capable of teaching your teen to drive yourself, a certificate of completion from an accredited driver’s education program can reduce your teen’s insurance rate by as much as 20%.

Note that some insurance companies have alliances with particular driving schools and offer additional savings if you use one of their partner programs. Check out these affiliations with your insurance company.

Add Your Teen to Your Auto Insurance

In almost every case, it will be less expensive to add your teen to your existing auto insurance policy. If you have a good record with your insurance provider, then they are more likely to extend discounts to you on your teen’s policy.

The exception is if your own driving record is particularly spotty. If you have a high rate of accidents or traffic violations and are already paying over the odds for your own plan, it may be less expensive for your teen driver to start out on their own blank slate.

Consider the Car

If you plan to purchase a car for your teen, check out the insurance rates before you plop down the cash. Insurance companies charge higher premiums for sports cars, jeeps and convertibles than for cars with good safety records. These cars tend to also encourage speeding and reckless driving. Buying your teen a safe and dependable car rather than a flashy one can reduce teen auto insurance rates considerably.

Make Strict Road Rules

In addition to ensuring your teen follows traffic laws, institute some rules of your own. Forbid talking on the cell phone and driving too many people around. Careless driving practices increase the chances of getting into an accident or getting a speeding ticket, which will send your premiums through the roof. Enforce your rules to keep teen auto insurance rates as low as possible.