March 1, 2012

Why Teen Drivers Have Trouble Finding Affordable Car Insurance

While comparing insurance rates for teens, many parents realize that affordable car insurance and young drivers aren't compatible. Securing affordable car insurance for young drivers is a matter of overcoming statistics and making smart choices that reduce overall insurance rates. Here are a few reasons why insurance rates are higher for teen drivers and drivers under 25.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in accidents when compared to older drivers. Every year, more than 6,000 young drivers are involved in serious accidents, a statistic that makes car-related fatalities the leading cause of death among teens. Teen drivers are inexperienced, easily distracted, and more likely to talk on the phone while driving. Many states have banned teen drivers from using cell phones, including hands-free devices. One recent study found that more than half of teens admitted to talking on the phone while driving. Statistics show that distracted driving is responsible for 1,000 accidents among 16 and 17-year-old drivers annually.

Alcohol-related accidents are also prevalent risk factors that increase insurance rates for teen drivers and college-age students. Approximately 13 percent of all alcohol-related crashes involved impaired drivers who were under 21. Young people in the 15 to 29 age group who drink and drive are much more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents. In fact, alcohol consumption was responsible for roughly one-third of fatal wrecks involving younger drivers. To make matters worse, teen drivers are less likely to wear seat belts and safety restraints than any other group. More than half of drivers involved in fatal crashes under the age of 25 weren't wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

Parents often get their teenage children older vehicles. This is for a very good reason. Insurance rates, repairs and replacement costs are often cheaper for older, reliable vehicles. The more expensive the vehicle, the higher insurance rates will be. This includes sports cars, luxury vehicles and sporty two-door sedans. Statistics show that these vehicles influence the way people drive, which leads to more high-speed crashes.

Most drivers begin to see lower premiums after age 25. In the meantime, there are a few things teen drivers and their parents can do to secure affordable car insurance. Good student discounts are the first and most obvious incentive teen drivers should research. Most insurance companies offer a discount of 15 to 20 percent for full-time students who maintain a B average. If teen drivers are insuring a low-value car, they could lower their premiums by securing liability coverage alone, enrolling in a defensive driving course, driving less or parking their vehicle in a secure location.