How to cut insurance costs for teens
If you’re about to add a teen driver to your policy, your budget – if not the family car – is about to take a hit. InsuranceQuotes.com surveyed all 50 states and found that Washington and Oregon rank among the top 15 states with the highest premium increases for adding teens to the family policy (Washington at No. 7 averages a 104.7% increase; Oregon at No. 15 showed a 95.7% increase).
Our open spaces – rural highways that invite higher speeds and more severe crashes – are likely part of the reason western states have higher losses, and higher premiums, for teens (Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho top Washington and Oregon on the list). But teens’ inexperience, immaturity, and tendency to take risks remain the ultimate factors driving up rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control, crash rates per mile driven are four times higher for 16- to 19-year-olds than for older drivers.
Still, if you and your teen are willing, you can trim the bill with these four tips:
Keep a clean driving record. Tickets or accidents will send rates climbing even higher. After your teen is licensed, continue monitoring his or her skill behind the wheel and intervene with coaching if you spot problems.
Raise your comprehensive and collision deductibles to at least $1,000 if your finances could absorb the costs of a relatively small claim. You can consider dropping the coverage entirely on older cars that are worth little more than the deductible.
Choose a safe car. Generally, the safer the car, the less it costs to insure. Midsize and larger sedans are good bets. Prioritize safety features like side and curtain air bags and electronic stability control when choosing a car for your teen, even if that means buying a newer car than you anticipated. Sports cars (an invitation to speed), luxury cars (pricey to repair), and SUVs (greater rollover risk) cost more to insure.
Take advantage of teen discounts. A minimum 3.0 GPA (“B”) plus safe driving equal a 20% Good Student Discount for teens because good grades correlate with greater maturity and safer behavior on the road. Likewise, if your child goes to school more than 75 miles from home and doesn’t have a car, you’ll qualify for our Distant Student Discount. And parents, make sure you take advantage of all the discounts for which you qualify, too – Auto Plus (for having both your residence and car insured with PEMCO), Alternative Commuting (if you drive to work just one or two days a week), and Northwest Affinity (for educators or University of Washington alumni), to name a few.
You’ll also want to talk with your agent or PEMCO representative for help in fine-tuning your policy to maximize peace of mind while minimizing costs.