I recently read this quote from the CDC Motor Vehicle Safety Injury Center's website: "Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash." It also went on to state that the leading cause for of death for teenage drivers is motor vehicle crashes. Consequently, the highest insurance rates are paid by any male driver under the age of 25. Adding your teenage driver to your policy will increase your insurance rates guaranteed. However, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the impact on your wallet.
1. You must insure your teenage driver - Every insurance company will require you to insure all licensed drivers that reside in your household. The only exception to this would be if you have a teenage driver who has a learners permit and has not received their license. Your teenager could insure their own car, however, most states do not allow minors to own property or sign contracts (insurance policies included) and would require a parent's consent. The best-priced option is almost always adding your teenager to your existing policy than have a teenager have their own policy with their own car.
2. Have them drive the clunker - As teenagers have little to no experience driving, it is best to let them have to least valuable car to drive. Typically, lower cost vehicles will typically have lower auto insurance rates. Just make sure that the vehicle is in good safe working order.
3. Discounts, Discounts, Discounts - A study done in 2010 of about 1,500 parents of teenage drivers found an average increase of more than $800 a year just by adding their teenage to their policy; and that study is 8 years old! Several auto insurance companies offer good student discounts. Others offer discounts for completing a drivers education course. Additionally, parents can sometimes save by bundling multiple insurance policies together, such as auto, homeowners, and life. If the parents are good drivers with clean records, this can often lower costs. If your teenager is attending college more than 100 miles away (which is my case), you might receive a discount.
4. Be a Concerned Parent - Texting and driving have now surpassed drunk driving as the number one cause of teenage accidents. Talk with your teenager about the danger of distracted driving. There are technology tools that allow parents to control the usage of cell phone calls and text messages while a vehicle is in motion. Music volume restrictions and speed limitations also are available. At Stickler Webb Insurance, we ask our clients to schedule an appointment with their teenage driver and us to discuss the seriousness of driving and the implications of poor decision making. If you are in the Show Low or Sierra Vista Arizona area, please visit www.sticklerwebb.com to schedule an appointment with your teenage driver.
5. Get an Umbrella Policy - Consider this statement from the Highway for Motor Safety: " Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females." A personal umbrella can cost a little as $25 per month and provide coverage of $1 million.
Blog author, Ken Stickler is partner and founder of Stickler Webb Insurance, an independent insurance agency with offices in Show Low, Safford and Sierra Vista, Arizona.