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Insuring My Teen Driver: FAQs

Insuring My Teen Driver: FAQs

If you are a new driver, or the parent of a new driver, the process of obtaining the right car insurance for teens can be confusing. This page will guide you through some of the most commonly asked questions about auto insurance for teens.

Will a teen driver pay more for car insurance than an adult?

The insurance industry builds the pricing platform around statistics and risk. Statistically speaking, teen drivers tend to get in more accidents. In fact, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers 16 to 19 years old are 3 times more likely to crash than drivers 20 years old and older.

Teen drivers exhibit risky behavior that increases the odds they will have an accident, but around 25 years old, the rates begin to level out because their accident risk decreases.

Will my premium increase because I added a teen driver?

Generally, you can expect your rates to increase if you add a teen driver; however, in most cases car insurance rates are typically cheapest for teens when they are added to an existing car insurance policy rather than when they purchase their own policy.

What can teens do to reduce their rates?

Responsibility is a key factor in calculating insurance rates, regardless of age. Teens, specifically, can improve their chances of finding cheap car insurance rates through one or more of the following means:

  • Maintain good grades.
  • Keep a clean driving record free of accidents and violations.
    • Parents can promote safe driving by establishing rules for cell phones, passengers and car use. In fact, some usage-based programs allow parents to monitor their child's driving habits.
  • Take an approved driver’s education course.

When getting car insurance for teens, it can help to get quotes from different insurance providers, as rates will vary from company to company. Luckily, if you're pressed for time and can't call around, you can easily compare car insurance rates online.

If my teen goes away to school, do I still list them on my policy?

Policy details and requirements will vary among car insurance companies and states.

Typically, if your teen comes home for the summer, you must list them on your policy. If your child is heading to a school that is a certain number of miles away from home, they may qualify for a resident student discount, which can significantly lessen your rates.

If your child comes home for short periods of time or vacations, it may not be necessary to list them on your policy. This will depend on your carrier and your state's laws.

Is my teen eligible for a student discount?

Many car insurance companies offer good student discounts to reward teens that do well in school. Statistically, good grades equal responsible driving and lower risk. The exact amount of the discount depends on the insurance provider.

In order to qualify for a discount, most companies require that the student:

  • Is under 25 years old.
  • Is enrolled in school full-time.
  • Has a grade point average of at least 3.0.

Does driving a safer vehicle help teens get more affordable car insurance?

The type of car you drive matters at any age. Having the following will help you get the best car insurance rates:

  • Enhanced safety features.
  • Crash protection.
  • Larger body.

Avoid sports cars designed for speed, as well as trucks and SUVs.

Is it better to add a teen to my policy or get them a new policy?

In most cases, car insurance is cheaper for teens when they're added to their parents' policies. However, it is smart to get quotes for both, as many factors can come into play.

For example, if your teen has a very low-value vehicle, it might be cheaper for him to get his own policy and skip certain optional coverages, such as collision and comprehensive.

When does a teen need auto insurance coverage?

This is a question to ask your insurance agent when your teen starts learning to drive. The laws are different from state to state. The majority of car insurance companies require that anyone with a driver's license in your household be insured.

Teens with learner's permits often don't need to have their own insurance; however, your state's laws may differ. Speak with your insurance agent for more details.

Do I have other options if adding my teen to my policy is too expensive?

All drivers need car insurance. That is the law. Your only other option is to put the teen on a separate policy; however, this may be more expensive because certain discounts that apply on your policy may not apply to his (e.g., multi-car, occupational discounts, etc.).

Does my teen need the same car insurance coverage I do?

Teens are legally required to carry the minimum level of insurance required by your state. Other types such as comprehensive or collision insurance are optional, but may be required to get a car loan.

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