Teen Drivers, Insurance and Safety

automotive-1866521_1920Having a teen driver can get expensive, quickly. Maybe one of those young drivers is your teen! Parents and guardians need to take the time to talk to teen drivers about the seriousness of driving safely. Teens should understand that driving is a privilege and if treated lightly it can result in increased premiums and expensive repair bills, and at worst careless behavior behind the wheel could result in their death or the deaths of others.

When looking to get your teen insured you have some options. A teen driver can get their own policy, but the cost can be incredibly high. To mitigate the cost, consider adding them to your policy and then looking for discounts – because even if you add a teen driver to your policy, you can expect your insurance bill to rise – and quickly.

Insurance.com did a national study to show just how much rates can rise when a teen is added to a policy. In their research, Insurance.com used a family profile of owning a 2019 Honda Accord driven by a 40-year old man buying full coverage. Then they added a 16-year old teen to the policy. 

This is what they saw happen to the rates:

  • The average household’s car insurance bill rose 152%.
  • A teenage boy was more expensive. The average bill rose 176%, compared with 129% for teenage girls.

According to the article, the reason behind the increase was because “teens crash at a much higher rate than older drivers. The risk is four times as much. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the worst age for accidents is 16. They have a crash rate twice as high as drivers that are 18- and 19-year-olds.” So, insurance companies have to prepare for that expected incurred cost of insuring the driver. 

Costs for policies will vary by the insurance company, so make sure before you sign your teen up for a policy, either on their own or adding them to yours, that you take a moment to shop around and compare quotes and see what discounts are out there. Usually, car insurance companies won’t communicate what discounts they offer to teen drivers unless you ask. Do your research and know what is available to you.

To get you started, here are some of the best discounts for teen drivers that will help you get car insurance that you can afford. Keep in mind that you should discuss these options with your teen and with your insurance agent. Not all of these discounts can be used at the same time or combined together. So make sure you fully understand what is and isn’t accepted by your insurance provider.

Good Student Discount: 

  • Simply put, if your teen shows good grades and responsibility in school, they get a break on the price of car insurance. Typically, a teen must have a "B" average (3.0-grade point average) or higher. What does this mean for your pocketbook as far as savings go? According to research by Insurance.com, you could save an “average of 7%” or about “$361 on average.”

Defensive Driving Discount:

  • This is a great class for your teen to take regardless of it saving you money-saving your money is just a bonus! It will help teach your teen how to drive safely. Do a quick search for classes in your area and sign your teen up! There are online options available, but be sure you check with your insurance provider to see that online classes qualify for the discount.

Student Away Discount:

  • If your teen is away for school and not driving, ask your carrier about an “away” discount. This can save you around 5%-10%.

 Raise Your Deductible:

  • This simply means you raise the amount that you are responsible for covering in the event of an accident and is an easy way to lower car insurance premiums. But you should take the time to consider the fact that young drivers are more likely to have accidents – so you may get a lower premium, but you’d be on the hook for a higher bill down the road if there is an accident. Review your finances, assess your teen’s maturity and level of responsibility behind wheel and then talk to your insurance agent about this prospect.

Don’t Buy the Shiny Sports Car:

Unrelated Discounts:

  • This might take a bit more effort but look for other discounts you can apply, like a multi-car discount or bundling your home and auto coverage.

Low-mileage discounts.

  • This discount is a “pay-as-you-drive/pay-per-mile” type of insurance. Some companies offer this if you allow them to place a telematics device on the vehicle so they can see driving habits.  According to Insruance.com, this can save you up to 45% on your policy!

Good Driver Discount:

  • This is the best, all-around way to get a discount. Keep a clean driving record! Go without accidents or violations and your teen could see a reduction in the cost of the insurance. Be sure to ask your agent about the time periods and when this becomes available to the driver.

Let’s Keep the Roads Safe

Good driving habits are key to keeping insurance premiums low and affordable. It is also key in keeping your teen and others on the road safe. Be sure to talk to your teen about safe driving habits and be sure you model those safe driving habits to them as well.

Distracted Driving:

Distracted driving is a deadly and costly bad habit. Unfortunately, South Carolina has some of the most distracted drivers on the road!

  • South Carolina ranks in the top five in the nation for fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
  • 982 people died in traffic accidents on our state roads in 2017. That equates to one death every nine hours.
  • The Palmetto State ranks in the top 10 for having the worst drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • South Carolina ranks 5th in careless driving and 11th in speeding.
  • National data shows that 64% of all car accidents involve cell phone usage.

Take a moment to review our guide on how to talk to your teen about distracted driving and then sit down with your teen and go over the dangers and risks associated with driving before handing them the keys. This important conversation saves lives. 

Don’t delay. Talk to your teen today.