Purchasing auto insurance to cover your teenager’s driving shouldn’t be the angst-ridden task that many parents experience. That is, it is likely to be much less stressful and produce more satisfactory results if you follow the following five tips on buying car insurance for your teen driver.
The advice comes courtesy of J.D. Power and Associates, a global market research center. While teens, as a group, are more likely to become involved in accidents than other drivers, resulting in higher insurance costs for teen drivers, parents can help save on those costs by making use of these tips:
Teach your teen how to drive, or invest in driver’s education courses. – Teens mirror the kind of behavior they see most often, and this includes watching and emulating parental behavior behind the wheel. If you drive distracted – using the cell phone to make and take calls, texting behind the wheel, speeding and other dangerous distracted driving behaviors – your teen will think, perhaps subconsciously, that it’s okay to do the same when they drive. If, on the other hand, you are a courteous, conscientious and safe driver who refrains from use of cell phones and texting while driving, and obeys speed limits and other traffic rules, your teen will likely do the same. If you don’t have the time to physically instruct your teen the basics of driving, in addition to serving as a good role model, you can enroll your child in a licensed advanced driver’s education course – one that goes beyond the basic state requirements. The benefit of these classes is that your teen learns advanced skills in a controlled environment – all of which better prepares your teen to be a safer driver. It does cost extra for these courses, but the peace of mind you get knowing your teen is receiving the best instruction possible is priceless.
Comparison shop and bundle. – It goes without saying that you should do your homework and shop around to see what car insurance would cost for your teen at a number of insurance providers. Since most auto insurers provide discounts for bundling policies – such as multiple auto policies, combination of auto and homeowners insurance and/or life insurance – don’t be afraid to see what you’d save by switching providers. But look at the fine print to ensure that everything matches what you currently have in terms of your own coverage, including limits, deductibles, other services included, and so on. You may find a low-cost auto insurance policy for just your teen, or you may discover you can save quite a bit by going elsewhere for your insurance needs. Always check with your existing provider to see if there’s anything better they can do for you – like suggesting discounts you didn’t know were available or that you qualify for – before you consider switching.
Add your teen to your family policy. – Generally speaking, it will be less expensive to put your teenage driver on the family policy, rather than buy a car insurance policy in the teen’s name (a primary policy). When you add your teen to your policy as a covered driver you can take advantage of all the current discounts you enjoy now. This can dramatically reduce the cost of insuring your teen driver. Also look into any special discounts your teen qualifies for, such as occasional use or pleasure use, good student, and soon. Note: You will pay more to have your teen driver covered. That’s a fact. But it will be less expensive to add him/her to your policy than buy one separately for your teen.
Multiple cars? Put your teen on the least-expensive policy. – Adding your teen as a covered driver to a midsize family sedan in the household will cost you less than putting him or her on a luxury SUV, sporty car, convertible or coupe – or any vehicle with the highest insurance premium in your multiple-car household. Since you want to save money where you can as well as have your teen driving the safest vehicle possible, this tip makes a lot of sense (and dollars and cents).
Other choices: change deductibles or coverage. – Let’s say you’ve followed all the preceding advice and the bottom line on the cost is still too high for your liking. What can you do? Experts recommend increasing the amount of your deductible (the amount you’d have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage kicks in). You could also consider dropping collision coverage, something you might entertain if your vehicle is older. Just keep in mind that in the event of an accident, you’d have to pay all the repair costs or, if the is totaled, the entire replacement cost. Is it worth it to keep collision? Only you can decide after weighing and balancing the facts.