Driving is expensive. Now that I think about it, pretty much everything I do is expensive. When you consider you have to buy a car, pay for car insurance, gas and maintenance, a huge chunk of my paycheck goes toward driving.
While I’m here complaining about how expensive it is to drive, teen drivers (or their parents) have it even worse. Teen drivers are labeled “high risk” due to their lack of experience on the road. Because of this, car insurance is extremely costly for teens.
When I first got my license, I was naïve in that I really had no idea how much money my parents were shelling out for me to drive. Before my dad gave me my set of keys for my new car, he said one thing: “If you get a ticket, you’re paying your own car insurance.”
It was that simple. At the time, I had no idea how much car insurance was. However, I did know that I didn’t want to have to pay for it. I’ve been driving for over eight years now and have still never received a ticket (knock on wood).
As expensive as insurance can be for new drivers, there are some ways to decrease the cost. Whether the parent or the new driver is paying the insurance, here are some tips to finding the lowest rates possible:
Shop around: A little comparison shopping can’t hurt. Just because you’ve been with one insurer for a long period of time doesn’t mean they will give you the best price. Different insurance companies have different rates when it comes to teens. Don’t settle on the first one you come across.
Good grades: Some insurance companies offer discounts for teens who maintain good grades because they’re seen as more responsible. In most cases, a “B” average is required to receive the discount. The policy is different for each company (that offers the discount) so be sure to ask about it.
Low-mileage discounts: Do you have a teen that is only going to be driving a limited number of miles? If so, be sure to ask about the low-mileage discount. It’s especially useful for teens that only plan to drive to work or school. Discounts can range anywhere from 5-15%.
Driver education programs: Teen drivers don’t have to stop taking driver’s education classes after receiving their license. In fact, some insurers offer discounts to drivers who take additional classes. Drivers can receive up to a 15% discount for passing extra classes.
Safe car: The type of car being driven has a huge impact on insurance costs. For example, cars with great safety features are penalized less when it comes to insurance prices than cars that are deemed to be more dangerous. Cars that offer a good safety rating as well as air bags, anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts and head restraints will help lower the cost.
Raise deductibles: If you raise your comprehensive and collision deductibles to at least $1,000, you’ll in turn lower your premiums.
Drop coverage: It doesn’t make sense to pay for collision and comprehensive coverage on an old car that isn’t worth much to begin with. If the car is worth about the same price as the deductible, is it really worth it? Probably not. Consider that you could be paying more in premiums than you would ever get back from the insurer.
Obey the law: The cost of insurance will go up if a teen driver gets a ticket. Always wear a seat belt. Don’t speed. Stop at stop signs. These are all obvious suggestions, although all are laws people break on a regular basis.
While car insurance is just part of the battle when it comes to driving costs, it is a large chunk. Throw in gas prices close to $4.00 per gallon and oil changes (and other maintenance) and you’ll see just how expensive it is to have a teen driver in the family.
Follow some of the above steps and you’ll find yourself with a little more cash to put toward other driving costs.
Do you have any other ideas on how to save money on teen drivers? If so, let us know in the comments section below!