For parents of teenagers, it can be a worrisome time, especially if they are about to get behind the wheel. According to the DMV* traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers across the United States. Drivers aged 16-to-19 years of age have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates of any other age group. So, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the right information to hand when it comes to auto insurance for your teenager. As our youngsters are returning to school this month we asked our expert insurance provider, Jay Davis of Country Financial in Springfield, to give us the lowdown on auto insurance for teenagers.
As you prepare for this milestone in your teen’s life, you’ve probably got a few questions about car insurance for teens.
It generally goes without saying that insuring a young driver is expensive and can increase your family's insurance premiums. You’ll pay more because teens have less experience on the road and due to the stats above about higher accident rates. There are ways to save.
Buy an older car
Buy your teen an older, less expensive car, since the cost of the vehicle is a large factor in the cost of insurance. And for an older car, paid in full, you have the option to drop collision and comprehensive insurance and carry only liability. This can help reduce your rate.
Keep a clean record
Avoid insurance claims for minor damage such as bent fenders and encourage your teen to follow driving rules to avoid traffic tickets. Both insurance claims and traffic tickets will make insurance for teens more expensive. On the flip side, if your teen’s record stays perfect, insurance rates may come down over time.
Don't skimp on liability coverage
One thing you don't want to do is cut down on liability coverage. Young drivers are more likely to have accidents, and lowering your liability limits could leave you paying thousands of dollars in expenses if your child is at fault for hitting another car or injuring someone.
Many parents ask whether they should add their teenager to their existing policy or have them get their own. To be honest, the best advice is to have your agent provide a quote for adding your teenager to your policy and one for getting their own policy. You can then compare the quotes and determine which would is the better choice. If your son or daughter is under 19, they can only get their own auto policy with Country Financial if the parent also has auto insurance with Country.
Another question that we often get from parents is who will pay for repairs to fix the damage if their teenager’s friend wrecks his or her car. At the end of the day, it really isn’t a good idea for your teen to hand his or her keys over to a friend, but if they do and an accident happens, the liability may fall under your policy, depending on the circumstances of the claim. This is definitely something that you’ll want to talk about with your agent.
It’s not all bad news. I promise. Newly licensed drivers may qualify for up to a 10% discount by completing the Country Financial Simply Drive course and high school or college students that maintain a B or better average may be eligible to receive a discount of up to 25%. For more information, or at the very least to allay some of your fears give me a call or email me at Jay.Davis@countryfinancial.com for more information.
*Visit dmv.ca.gov for further statistics on teen drivers.
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