February 26th, 2014
Everyone knows that new drivers can sometimes be a risk on the road, and no one understands that more than your insurance company. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to get into a car accident than those who are at least 20 years old. Young drivers between the age of 15 and 24 are only 14 percent of the total population but account for 30 percent of the total cost of auto repairs among males and 28 percent among females. Because of this heightened risk, car insurance companies typically have higher rates for young drivers.
There are a number of reasons that teens are more likely to end up in a car accident than other groups of drivers. For one, they are more likely to engage in dangerous driving habits, most likely as a result of having other teens in the vehicle. Additionally, as new drivers, teens are less likely to be able to properly evaluate hazardous risks and conditions that could result in an impending crash. They are also more likely to be injured in a crash, as they have the lowest seat belt usage of any group of drivers. Insurance companies take all these facts into account when determining premium rates for coverage.
While there are several ways auto insurance companies can justify higher rates for teens and young drivers, there are also discounts available to some to lower the cost. Good grades are one way teens can reduce their car insurance rates, by as much as 20 percent as a student discount. Students who earn at least a B average are typically eligible for this discount.
In addition to being a student in good standing, teens can also lower their car insurance rates by participating in a driver safety course. These courses actually may provide a discount to nearly all drivers. Teens may enroll in a class specifically designed for young and new drivers that can help them develop safer practices on the road and reduce the risk of getting into an accident. Before signing up for a course, teens should check with their auto insurance company to see if there is a discount available.
When families add other drivers to their insurance policy, it is likely the rate will rise. When a teen joins, this rate will rise even more. However, once a teen turns 18, it is possible they will be heading off to college and won't use the family vehicle until they return home on holidays. In these instances, car insurance companies will offer families lower rates while the young driver is away.
Evaluate the right amount of coverage
While most drivers don't pay too much for auto insurance, it is important to have the right amount and type of coverage. Skimping on coverage in order to pay less could end up being more costly later on. Most states have their own minimum requirements for car insurance, but buying the bare minimum is not always the best idea.