Why It’s High, How It Can Be Lowered, and What Discounts Are Available
One of the things teenagers look forward to most is having their own license, and even more exciting, having their own car. By the age of 16 or 17, most teenagers have had it with riding in the passenger seat or in the backseat of their parent’s or friend’s cars; they’re ready to have a vehicle that belongs to them.
Of course, parents and young drivers quickly learn that this doesn’t come without a high price once they find out how much auto insurance is going to cost. Unfortunately, many young drivers are also disappointed to find out that there insurance doesn’t decrease much once they reach the age of 18, as rates pretty much stay on the higher end until they’re no longer considered a ‘youthful’ driver, which is defined differently according to where the young driver lives.
The reasons for expensive auto insurance for young drivers are obvious ones:
-Lack of driving experience, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
-Higher statistics of traffic violations are found among younger people, such as speeding tickets and reckless driving, increasing the probability of an accident or claim.
-Higher statistics of at fault auto accidents and claims.
-The types of cars that many young drivers usually have or want (such as cars with ‘sports’ packages, brighter colors, or cars that have internal or external work to make modifications to the engine or body of the vehicle to promote speed, performance, or appearance.)
Most young drivers are often put on their parent’s policies, and many insurance companies won’t even put a driver under the age of 18 on his or her own policy. Although a young driver may take offense to this since they want to be viewed as mature and responsible, they often happily give up this idea once they hear how much of a difference in premium is saved by being on their parent’s policy. Usually an auto insurance policy with only a young driver on it is sometimes three or four times as much as their policy would be if they were just added onto their parent’s policy.
Discounts For Young Drivers
Although many young drivers think the rates will decrease when they turn 18, they’re often discouraged to find that the rates don’t go down much at all. While insurance premiums for young drivers can decrease every year as long as no accidents or violations have occurred, and as long as they keep a good credit rating as they build it, premiums should decrease. Another thing that usually helps young drivers when they get ready to move to their own policy is that many insurance companies will offer a special incentive for young drivers who stay with the same company that they were with on their parent’s policy. So if a young driver is ready for their own policy, many insurers will write a new policy for the young driver and apply all the discounts to the new policy that their parent gets, that way the driver gets a bit of a ‘head start’ and has a chance to get some discounts that they may not usually be qualified to get, such as a multi-policy discount or homeowner’s discount.
There are several other discounts that a young driver can be eligible for though, regardless of what discounts their parent has. Although not every insurance company is guaranteed to offer all of the same discounts, many offer discounts that are similar or some that will make up for the absence of others.
Some of the typical discounts that young drivers can take advantage of include:
-Good student discount: By keeping a grade point average of at least a 3.0, full-time students can save usually around three to seven percent off of their auto insurance premium.
-Defensive Driving Discount: If drivers take a defensive driving course (other than regular driver’s education courses) and furnish proof of the class, they can get a discount of sometimes up to ten percent.
-Multi-policy Discount- Young drivers who live on their own and who rent a home or own their own home can get a multi-policy discount if they obtain renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance.
-Multi-Vehicle Discount- Although young drivers can usually barely afford all the costs associated with owning one car, if they do have more than one vehicle, they can get a discount for insuring both vehicles on one policy, which will at least alleviate some of the costs of owning two cars.
-Get quotes for auto insurance online, as many companies offer an online discount just for applying and purchasing auto insurance online. Additionally, it’s convenient, as drivers can often get several quotes very quickly and compare rates and coverage.
Other Factors To Consider
It’s important to remember that drivers are often considered youthful drivers into their 20’s and in some places, until they’re 30…or married. In the U.S. in Virginia for example, women are considered youthful drivers until the age of 25 or until they’re married, whereas men are considered youthful drivers until the age of 30 or until married. Local laws and regulations dictate what defines a ‘youthful driver’ but once one is no longer deemed a youthful driver, premiums can drop significantly if the driver has maintained a good driving record and has minimal claims, accidents, and violations.
There are some things youthful drivers can take into consideration that will help them save money, including:
-Although a brand new car may seem like the perfect birthday present for new drivers, premiums are high enough on newer cars in general, so when that factor is combined with being a young, inexperienced driver, premiums will skyrocket as the risks of having to repair or replace a brand new car increase drastically and that means a high expense for the insurer. Young drivers should avoid the urge to buy a newer car and should drive an older model to help keep costs down.
-In addition to driving an older model, driving a more ‘economical’ and ‘safe’ vehicle is also an important measure to take in order to get a cheaper premium.
Insurers have certain cars that they think are more dangerous for younger people to drive, not only higher end vehicles like BMWs or Mercedes, but also cars that are considered ‘sporty’ or ‘race car like.’ Any vehicle that has a powerful engine or performance packages are usually cars that lead to reckless driving due to excitement when driving the vehicle, leading to accidents, claims, and violations. Choosing a more basic car like a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic would help young drivers get cheaper premiums versus a Mustang or Camaro.
-Believe it or not, the color of a vehicle will also cause premium to go up with many insurance companies. Bright colors like red and yellow don’t only scream ‘stop’ at the traffic light; they mean ‘stop’ before buying one of these cars in these colors too. There are several theories as to why the color of a car means anything to insurers; some say it’s because it’s indicative of someone’s personality while others state that certain colors carry certain statistics, such as the statistic that red cars get pulled over for speeding more often than any other colored car. Regardless of the reason, it’s better to play it safe and go with a basic color.
-Carry as high of a deductible as possible, as the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. However, don’t carry a deductible that’s so high that it would be hard to pay should something happen and a claim was made.
-Although it may first appear to be cheaper to do, avoid the temptation to buy only state minimum coverage. When drivers carry only the state minimum and then go to get insurance elsewhere, they’re often surprised to find that carrying the bare minimum actually hurt them in the long run; insurance companies ‘reward’ drivers who carry more than the state minimum and usually calculate a cheaper premium for drivers who have carried more than that, as these drivers are deemed ‘safe and responsible’ drivers. While it’s not a huge difference, it does add up over time.
Being a young driver can be fun, and is probably one of the most exciting times in many young people’s lives. However, it’s also an induction into adulthood, so it’s one of the first times to demonstrate responsibility and maturity. While young drivers are gaining experience driving, they should also learn how insurance works, what they’re covered for, and what they can do to alleviate the costs of a high premium…that way they can keep paying for the car they need to insure!
Steven Weinberg is insurance agent and writer. His latest reference is http://www.carinsurancecalculator.info. Please visit the website for further inquiries.