How to Make Car Insurance More Affordable for Your New Teen Driver

By Kim Heitzmann

Earning a driver’s license is a big step for teens—and their parents. Before you go out and buy that brand new car for your new driver, you will want to consider how much the insurance is going to cost you. Teen drivers are high risk to insurance companies because they statistically get in more accidents than any other age group. Therefore, adding a teen to your insurance policy is not going to be cheap. Here are a few things you can do to lower your premium.

Driving Training Program
If your child completes a driving training program you could save up to 30% off your premium. Two of the companies we would recommend are Bondurant Teen Driving School (bondurant.com) and Driving MBA (drivingmba.com). Bondurant Teen Driving School, known for performance driving, has developed multiple programs for teens utilizing real world defense driving techniques and professional skid cars. Driving MBA has integrated state of the art computer simulation training that allows them to teach your child driving techniques in a safe environment. These types of programs will better prepare your child for the unexpected. No matter which program you choose, check with your insurance agent to make sure the program you select qualifies for the discount.

Good Grades
Statistically, teens who have a GPA of 3.0 or better are more responsible drivers and are less likely to get into an accident. Insurance companies offer discounts for students under the age of 25 who achieve at least a B average or 3.0 GPA.

Computer-based Driving Software
Some insurance companies offer discounts if your child completes an online computer based driving course like Liberty Mutual’s teenSMART®.

Parent Teen Driving Contracts
Effective parent-teen communication is critical so some insurance companies have a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that establishes your family’s driving rules like Liberty Mutual that can reduce your rate.

Vehicle Data Log Devices
Many insurance companies offer devices that plug into your car and track your good and bad driving habits. Based on your driving habits over a period of time they could reduce your insurance rates for good driving such as the Progressive’s Snapshot® or Allstate Drivewise®.

Select the Right Vehicle
Selecting the right car can help you reduce your premium. Insurance company’s rate cars based on the car’s value, engine size, likelihood of theft, and safety ratings. A newer car with a high safety rating may be cheaper than an older car with a lower safety rating. A safer car is not a bigger car. Insurance companies also look at the potential damage a car can do if it is in an accident and big cars do more damage. These are all factors you should look at when choosing a car. You should contact your insurance agent and get a quote before you purchase any car.
Learning to drive and purchasing a car can be a rewarding experience for you and your child. Include them in all the research and car selection. Make them understand the potential harm they could do to themselves and others if not used properly. This will give them a greater understanding of the responsibility they are about to be given. n

Safety Stats » Information provided by the National Safety Council, nsc.org.

• One out of five 16-year-old drivers have an accident within the first year of driving.
• Fatal teen car accidents are the leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds.
• Two Thirds of teen passenger’s deaths are in vehicles driven by another teen.
• More than one third of all teen fatal crashes are speed related.
• Talking or texting on the phone increases the potential of an accident by as much as 8 times.

Positive Lessons Behind the Wheel – A Parent Perspective
We were very nervous when our youngest son earned his driving permit at the age of 15. As my husband and I began to take him out for practice, we were both very surprised at how tense and filled with anxiety he seemed to be behind the wheel. It quickly became apparent that lessons from mom and dad were not going to be enough.
We decided to enroll him in a defensive driving class. We wanted to help my son become a safer driver on the roads and I had learned from my insurance agent that if he took a course he would qualify to get a discount of approximately 10% on our car insurance, which would be in effect until he turned 21. After doing research we decided to enroll him in the New Teen Driving Course at Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler.
Nearly the entire 1-day course was spent behind the wheel in real life driving scenarios at their training facility. He learned skid control and how to steer through it, how to be more aware of his surroundings, and how to anticipate the unexpected. He even learned accident avoidance – how to look for a path to steer clear of trouble. What was most surprising was how confident he was driving home. I could see that he now felt he had an understanding and the tools that would help him navigate out of trouble on the road.
We were so impressed by the skills and confidence that he gained in the program that once he had been driving for a while we agreed (upon our son’s request) to send him back to participate in the Advanced Teen Driving Course where he learned even more extensive driving skills and techniques.
From this experience, our son learned skills that will help him for a lifetime, we felt safer with him on the roads and we gained an additional discount on his auto insurance. – Erin from Peoria

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