It’s finally here. The day you’ve dreaded for 16 years. Your teenager wants to get a driver’s license. Worse, he wants to drive your car.
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Actually, he’d prefer it if you bought him his own car. Red. Coupe. Something small and sporty, maybe a convertible or something with T-tops. You know, something the chicks will dig. (Do teenagers still say “dig”?)
Well, you know what it means. And you know you won’t be able to keep him off the road forever. Sure, you may be able to get him his own car. No, not that one. The used one that only passes inspection because it came out the year after the Transportation Safety Board started mandating seat belts be standard equipment in every car.The big question is this:
Do you really want to add a teenager to your auto insurance policy?
There’s another day you’ve seen coming for quite a while, but it’s one you were looking forward to. A birthday. Your birthday. The one that would finally cause your insurance rate to drop because your insurance company decided that at that age, you had finally outgrown your reckless driving days.
What they don’t know about that rental car in Vegas won’t hurt them.
But you barely even got to enjoy that brief respite for your budget before your teenager started making noise about driving. The thing is, you know very well how age affects auto insurance rates, and that a 16-year-old is considered a high risk, especially if that 16-year-old is male. That’s going to be more money out of your pocket than even before YOUR birthday!
There’s nothing you can do about your kid’s age. He’s going to have to wait for that milestone birthday just like you did. But there are some things you can do to take the sting out of adding a young, high-risk driver to your auto policy:
- The first thing to remember is, even though it’s going to cause your rates to go up, adding a teenage driver to your policy is still going to cost less than getting him a separate policy. Your age and driving experience still come into play in keeping rates low.
- Make sure your kid is doing his best in school. This is a good idea anyway so he can get into a good college, which you’ll also have to pay for. But let’s not even go there. For now, some auto insurance companies offer a discount—some as high as 25%—to students who have at least a B average.
- Does your teenager’s high school offer driver’s education? If so, she needs to take the class. If not, you’ll want to take her to a driving school. Many insurance companies offer cheaper auto insurance to students who have taken a formal driving course. It may only be 10%, but every little bit helps.
Safety Features and Teen Drivers
All joking aside, if you do decide to buy your teenager her own car, make sure it’s not one that is on your area’s frequently stolen cars list, one of the factors that affects insurance rates. Also, try to get a vehicle with as many safety features as possible. Safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes usually come with auto insurance discounts, and they’re a good idea for a new driver, anyway.
Don’t feel bound to stay with your insurance company if they won’t give you a good rate to add your teenager to your policy. In most cases, they’ll work with you. They may even offer the same discount you get for bundling insurance policies with them.
But if your insurance company charges outrageous rates for teenage drivers, don’t be afraid to shop around to find a better deal, even if you’ve been with your company for a while. The goal here is to acquire good coverage that is cost effective.
Driving Responsibly and Teen Drivers
Finally, have a good talk with your kid before she gets behind the wheel. Try to impress upon her the serious responsibility that comes with driving a car, and the consequences that can result from reckless behavior, just one of those consequences being higher insurance rates.
Make sure she knows if she causes an increase, she’s the one who will be paying for it. And you both know she’d much rather be saving that money for that little red coupe she has her eye on.
Save Money on Your Auto Insurance
Take advantage of the opportunity to check your insurance rates BEFORE she gets her license. Enter your zip code in on this page to get started comparing free auto insurance rates and see if you can save some money!