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Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers

How quickly children grow up! As a teen-ager approaches sixteen, the thing they most anticipate is getting a drivers license. They consider a driving license the key to both freedom as well as a sign of becoming an adult. Parents and guardians are concerned about safety, risk to the teen, and costs for both insurance and automobiles.

Reconciling those natural concerns with the necessity to allow children freedom is difficult.

It is always best to compare policies thoroughly before making any decisions. Be sure to use the FREE comparison tool above to get started.

Statistics with Regard to Teen Drivers

Beginning drivers do have a higher risk of crashes than almost any other group in the first months of acquiring their license. Their inexperience and immaturity does increase the possibility of accidents. Typically, the following factors affect the possibility of fatal crashes involving teen drivers:

  • Speeding
  • Driver error
  • Number of young passengers in the vehicle
  • Alcohol usage
  • Night driving
  • Low safety belt usage

Exact statistics are available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

How Parents May Help Make Their Teen Safer

There are methods of ensuring that your teen will be safer in their driving practices. Some of these are:

  • Talk with your teen about expectations about behind-the-wheel behavior
  • Limit the number of passenger allowed in the car with your teen
  • Prohibit cell phone usage for either talking or texting – either activity doubles your teen's possibility of an accident
  • Apply a driving curfew
  • Encourage teens to speak up when they are passengers. It is difficult to speak up when dealing with peers, and they need encouragement.

Having a contract with your teen about driving will help to come to agreement about driving rules and procedures. An excellent contract is available by going to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website. This is available in PDF format for downloading.

Sharing this with the parents of your child's friends will help alleviate the pressure on your child.

Choosing the Safest Car for Your Teen

Often parent's viewpoint of an appropriate vehicle for a teen to drive is not the same as that of a teen driver. There are a number of websites that give advice with regard to the safest vehicle for teen drivers. Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide statistics.

Look at their ratings-the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives "good" ratings for recommended vehicles; whereas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives stars – a five-star rating in most crash test scores indicates a safe vehicle.

The following factors affect the safety of a vehicle:

  • Size – a midsize vehicle is best because they have both crash protection and maneuverability. Small cars do not have the necessary bulk to protect from crashes yet large vehicles are usually too hard to maneuver.
  • Power – V-8 engines tempt teens to speed, whereas a four-cylinder engine is just about right. It has enough power to maneuver, but not so much the driver is tempted to speed.
  • Safety features – such as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and airbags

Vehicles that are more modern have definite technology that can assist parents in monitoring teen drivers. This technology will alert both parents and driver of speed violations and even curfew violations. At present, these are quite expensive but should be less costly with the passage of time.

Economics, of course, affect the choice of vehicles that you purchase for your teen-age driver. As vehicles become more reliable, it is feasible to purchase used cars with excellent crash ratings in good shape. Have a qualified mechanic check out the vehicle for mechanical soundness before you purchase it for your teen. You may find exceptionally good bargains on suitable used vehicles.

Graduated Drivers Licenses for Teens

Many states have a graduated licensing system for teens that allows them to obtain experience in driving under controlled circumstances. The NHTSA has compiled statistics evaluating the efficacy of this practice. The particular report was prepared by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for the National Highway Traffic Administration in June of 2006 covering the years 1994 to 2004 for 16-year-old drivers.

Overall, the reduction of fatal crashes in states with the Graduated Drivers Licenses (GDL) for teens was 11%.

The recommended factors for a Graduated Drivers License are as follows:

  • Minimum age for learner's permit – 15 ½ years is recommended
  • Minimum 3 month waiting period after obtaining a learner permit before applying for an intermediate license
  • Minimum 30 hours of supervised driving
  • Minimum age of 16 years for obtaining intermediate stage license
  • Minimum age of 17 years for full licensing
  • Nighttime restrictions
  • Restriction upon number of passengers

The report indicated that the more factors that were involved in a states' graduated drivers license provisions, the more fatal crashes for 16-year-olds were reduced.

Insurance Costs for a Teen Driver

Immaturity and inexperience in a driver leads to higher insurance rates so your insurance rates will increase. To keep rates reasonable, compare rates for insurance. Use these suggestions to shop:

  • Obtain quotes from at least three different insurance companies
  • Ask your agent or company about discounts – especially a good student discount
  • Be prepared to ask for the limits of liability and coverage that you want – keep the requests the same to make certain that comparisons are exact
  • Ensure that your teen has completed a qualified drivers education course
  • Put your automobile and homeowners insurance with the same company to obtain a discount

Basis for an Insurance Quote

In order to obtain an insurance quotation, you will need the following information:

  • Name, date of birth, and drivers license numbers from all drivers
  • Driving records for all drivers
  • Make, model, and VIN number for all owned automobiles
  • Mileage driven and purpose of use for vehicles

Suggested Limits of Liability and Optional Coverage

  • Bodily injury liability – your legal responsibility for bodily injury to others in an accident - $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability – your legal responsibility for damage to the property of others - $50,000 per accident
  • $2,000 Medical payments coverage – for the benefit of you and your family in the event of an accident
  • $100,000/300,000 Uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage – this protects you and your family if you are involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or does not have enough insurance
  • Optional - $500 deductible comprehensive coverage – pays for damage to your own car for the following: theft, vandalism, fire, natural disasters, falling objects, damage to your car from animals, and civil disturbances.

To determine the limits of liability required in your state, access the NAIC website and click on your state. This will give you exact information about your states' requirements.

Comparing Quotations

It is easier to compare quotes if they include the same coverage. After examining the comparative prices, check out the insurance companies from which you have requested quotations. The following websites will give you information with regard to the financial stability of insurance companies:

  • A. M. Best – a nationally known company that rates insurance companies
  • J. D. Power – another nationally known rating company
  • Better Business Bureau in your area

After examining financial ratings, check the number of complaints that exist against the insurance companies. You can access the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to examine complaints. Be sure to also consult your state's insurance department for access to specific complaints.

Purchasing insurance when you have a teenager is a challenging situation. Consider discussing this insurance with your neighbors, colleagues, and relatives to determine their experiences with insurance companies and agents.

It's always best to compare rates before deciding on a policy. Use the FREE tool below to get started!

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