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Insuring Your Teen Driver

Cutting Costs Without Cutting Corners

1203_Driving-Force_FAccording to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), teen drivers are the highest risk demographic on the road.Their inexperience means there’s a greater chance that they will be involved in a traffic accident, which means much higher car insurance premiums. So how do you insure your teenage driver without paying too much for car insurance?

One of the most effective ways to reduce the cost of insuring your teen is to have them take a driving safety course. They may have just completed a behind-the wheel course or their DMV driver’s exam, but an additional driver safety course will help them drive more safely. One such course is the AARP driver safety online course, which anyone can take. The AARP claims that discounts on car insurance for teen drivers who have taken this online course range from 5 to 15 percent. In Virginia, insurance companies are required to offer you a discount for the completion of such courses, but the amount of that discount may vary.

Checking with your insurer for available discounts is another way to save. Discounts like the popular good student discount can chip away at the price of your premium. Most insurers offer discounts between 10 and 20 percent, and the discount is valid until the driver’s twenty-fifth birthday, provided the young adult doesn’t get married.

The vehicle your teen drives also affects your car insurance premium. Luxury vehicles, sport vehicles, Jeeps, and SUVs are all expensive to insure with a teen behind the wheel. They may not like it, but a four-door, four-cylinder used car is the best option for your teen’s first vehicle.These cars are less expensive to insure because they are safer and better-suited to drivers with less experience. If your teen’s car includes safety features such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, or an active monitoring system like OnStar, you can get a discount For that as well.

The company through whom you are insured also matters. Each insurer is prepared to insure a certain type of driver.Insurers group drivers into standard and non-standard risks. If you’re married, own a four-door sedan, and have a relatively clean driving record, you’re a standard risk. If you have more than one moving violation in a five-year period, drive a high-end vehicle, or have filed several claims with your insurer, you are probably non-standard. Teens are non-standard drivers due to their lack of experience.To an insurer, your teen is an unknown and it’s incredibly hard to calculate the odds of her filing a claim if she doesn’t have a driving history. If your insurance company prefers standard risk clients, the rates for your teen may be higher with your current company than they would be with a non-standard insurer.

This is why it’s best to shop around and get at least three to five quotes to improve your odds of finding a price that best fits your budget. When comparing, make sure the information that you’re using to get quotes matches from source to source.Selecting different coverage levels or assigning drivers to different cars could skew your results.

Last, but not least, spend time with your teen driver behind the wheel. Let them drive more often with you in the car. If they learn good driving habits and follow your example, their rates will fall over time.

Andrew Rose, CEO of car insurance comparison website helps consumers find the best price on auto insurance. He lives in the West End with his family, including his three some-day teen drivers.
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