Shopping for car insurance for teen drivers
It almost happens overnight. One day you’re pushing them down the sidewalk in a little plastic car, the next they’re asking for the keys to the real thing. As a parent, letting your teen take the wheel is a strange feeling; it’s a weird mix of pride, protection, fear, and trust.
As the person who pays for the auto insurance, you might also be terrified about your rates going up.
Shopping for car insurance for your teen driver may seem daunting and expensive, but ask yourself a few key questions. The answers could help make the process a little easier on your blood pressure and your wallet.
1) Should you add your teen driver to your existing auto policy or buy a separate policy?
This is a matter of personal preference. On one hand, it’s typically easier and cheaper, in the short term, to add your teen and their car to your existing policy. Adding them may raise your rates, but they’ll also get all the perks, discounts, and good rates you’ve earned over the years. You may even qualify for more discounts when you add them.
On the other hand, drivers under the age of 20 have nearly three times as many car accidents as the general population, and the numbers are even worse for drivers age 16-17. With a higher rate of accidents and violations, a teen driver on your policy could tarnish your good standing. You could see higher rates, lose discounts, or not be renewed if your teen causes accidents or receives violations. However, buying a separate policy can be expensive since your teen has never been insured and has little driving experience.
Talk to your teen and take a close look at your budget to help determine which route is best for you.
2) Which kind of coverage do you want for your teen?
Every driver out there requires basic liability coverage to drive legally. How much liability do they want though? Do you want them to have other types of coverage too, like comprehensive, collision,uninsured/underinsured, or personal injury protection?
- What kind of car does your teen drive? If it’s old, used, and seen better days, it might not be worth getting comprehensive/collision coverage, since any payout on damages could be less than your deductible. If they’re driving a newer car though, comprehensive and collision coverage is something to consider.
- Will your teen be driving with passengers? If your teen will be driving friends and family around, consider adding Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments coverage to their policy. These could help pay for injuries to passengers or pedestrians caused by an accident with your teen’s car.
3) Which extras or options do you want for your teen?
Auto insurers offer all kinds of beneficial options and extras that you can add to a policy if you’re so inclined. For young drivers who are inexperienced in emergency situations, or who may get themselves into a fender bender or two, options like these can be invaluable:
- Towing and roadside assistance
- Small claims forgiveness
- Incident forgiveness
- Accident forgiveness
- Car rental reimbursement
4) Which discounts can save your money?
Adding a new teen driver to your policy may raise your rates since they can pose an added risk. On the bright side, there are car insurance discounts you may qualify for when you add your teen to your policy, and other’s your teen may can qualify for, like:
- Good student – your teen’s good grades can save you money.
- Distant student – if your teen driver goes to school 100 miles or more from home, this discount can help you save.
- Multi-car – adding your teen driver’s car to your policy can earn you this discount.
- Driver training – gain experience behind the wheel with a state-approved driving course and your teen can qualify for another discount.
After you talk to your teen and your family, speak with a Farmers agent about your car insurance needs. An agent can provide you with more information, help find discounts, and give you a quote for coverage you want.
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