Your blood pressure and your car insurance premiums may both rise significantly when your teenager reaches that dreaded 16th birthday. For the teens, the age of 16 means freedom, late nights and fun. For parents, it means sleepless nights, lighter wallets and trouble. While there might not be much you can do for the personal anxiety level caused when watching your own child drive down the highway, there are a few tips to help cut down the insurance increases.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers under 25 are four times as likely as older drivers to die in a car accident which is why adding a young driver to your auto insurance policy can come with a hefty price tag.
Increase Your Deductible
First, raise your deductibles. Increasing your deductibles will lower your premium. Begin to save money to pay the deductible if (or when) your new driver has their first accident. It is recommended to raise your deductible to around $1,000. However, if your teen is driving a car that is worth less than $1000, it’s best to drop collision and comprehension coverage completely, but keep liability and personal injury coverage regardless.
Safer Is Better
While it may seem reasonable to get your child a tin can to drive in anticipation of an accident in the first few months, this might not be the best idea. Getting a safe car with modern safety features and a positive highway safety rating will decrease your auto rates more than giving your child an older car without basic safety features.
Check for Discounts
It’s wise to ask your agent about any additional discounts for teenage drivers. Some insurers offer discounts for driver-safety programs, specific drivers test scores, etc.
Be sure to check the report card. Most insurers offer a big discount for young drivers with good grades; generally determined by a 3.0 or a B average in high school or college. If your child is not making the grade, consider taking the keys.
If you haven’t already, consider combining your policies with the same agency, such as home and auto, to get the additional savings of multi-policy discounts.
Never Lower Liability Limits
The last thing to remember is to never, ever skimp on liability coverage for young drivers. It’s impossible to know who or what they will injure, so it’s important to maintain limits of at least $250,000 per person $500,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage. Lowering your liability limits to save a few extra bucks on your premium could leave you owing tens of thousands of dollars in expenses if (or when) your child hits another car or injures someone.
When your kids start reaching driving age, it’s worth it to start exploring your options to get an idea of what the additional costs might be. Some companies offer deals and policies specifically geared towards teenagers while others insurers refuse to insure anyone under 18. An independent insurance agent can give you the most options and also shop all the companies they represent to help find the best rates.