Car Insurance for First Time Drivers

Your teen can’t wait to drive and maybe after years of schlepping them here and fro you can’t wait either; until you get the quote for their car insurance. Wow!  Car insurance for first time drivers sure can be pricey – and for good reason.  Drivers between the ages of 16-19 have a three times higher chance of getting into an accident than their 20-25 year old counterparts. In addition, if your teen is a male, count on paying 20-50% more than you would for a daughter. Why? Because statistics show that young male drivers have an even worse track record on the road.  Couple these statistics with the grim facts regarding teen death rates behind the wheel and it is no wonder that car insurance companies must take a proactive stance in regards to first time driver rates.

In a quest to save thousands of dollars in claim costs, insurance carriers tend to err on the side of caution and charge exorbitant rates to their first time drivers.  That may leave parents wondering if there are any ways to cut costs and still keep their young drivers (and their vehicles) safe from harm. The answer is yes.  There are strategies you can employ to keep your rates down somewhat; but don’t expect any big savings for a few years. By then your young driver will be able to establish a track record with your insurer and possibly get their rates cut – if of course, they have managed to stay accident free during that time.

In the meantime, here are a few simple things you can do to help cut car insurance for first time drivers:

  • Get your young driver professional driving instruction.  Whether they take a certified driver’s education course at their high school or you shell out hundreds for private driving lessons doesn’t really matter.  What will make a difference in the eyes of your insurance carrier is that they have taken the time to learn the proper safety measures with some sort of driver’s education and safety instruction.
  • Buy a cheap clunker for your teen to drive.  This can save you in high insurance costs in several ways:
1. Older vehicles cost less to fix when damaged and therefore cost less to insure
2. Depending on the condition of your old clunker, you may not need as much coverage (especially when it comes to collision) as you would a newer model
3. Sportier vehicles and SUV’s tend to inspire less safe driving among first time drivers, thus causing more accidents
  • Insist on good grades.  Not only do better students drive more safely, but they tend to be more responsible behind the wheel and most insurance carriers now acknowledge that with good student / good driving discounts.
  • Prohibit talking and texting when behind the wheel.  Did you know that a teen driver distracted with a cell phone drives about the same as an adult who is drunk? It’s true. Talking and texting while driving slows down a teen’s response and can cause serious injury and accidents.
  • Limit your teen’s driving (at first).  Sure, your young driver needs practice to become a better driver, but give them time to ease into this new responsibility.  Limit your teen’s solo driving time can help you keep a better eye on poor driving habits; plus you may get a discount from your insurance carrier if they are considered an occasional driver clocking less than 7,000 driving miles per year.
  • Increase your deductible. Sure, it will cost you a few hundred dollars more if your teen is in an accident; but compared to the hundreds you will shell out each year on insurance costs, you could save a small fortune – especially if your teen turns out to be a super-safe driver.
  • Don’t file a lot of claims. Some people just love to file every little claim they can to get check from their insurance company. This is a bad idea when it comes to also insurance for first time drivers.  If they dent the bumper or scratch the floor, who cares?  Leave it be or pay to fix it yourself and keep the insurance company out of it. The more claims you file, the higher your rates will become.
Car insurance for first time drivers sure can cost a fortune. For most parents, it is important to find as many ways as possible to lower those rates in order to even allow their teen behind the wheel before college.  To find exactly what types of young driver discounts your teen is eligible for, be sure to talk with your insurance agent. They are the best source of discount information, regardless of the driver’s age.
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