Your teen is getting their drivers license. Uh-oh. That means your car insurance rates are about to soar higher than an NBA player's vertical leap, right?
While your rates are guaranteed to increase (teens are considered high-risk drivers), that increase doesn't have to break the bank. Here's 10 ways to get a discount on auto insurance when you add a teen to your car insurance policy. Save money and keep your teenager safe. Win.
1. Get Schooled
Make sure your teen takes drivers ed, even if your state doesn’t require it. In some cases, insurance companies will give you a discount if your teen has completed a course. Additional driver safety classes can apply, too. Score.
2. Play It Smart
Drivers ed isn’t the only schooling that matters. If your teen is at least a “B” student, you can often get discounts on car insurance. Yet another reason to ask how that history test went. Nerds win.
3. Stick Together
Will your teen have their own car? If so, you may be wondering if they should purchase a separate policy. In most cases, the answer is no. Many of the factors that allow you to get better rates on your insurance (think: being married or having a good credit score) aren't applicable to your teen. Besides, if your teen did buy their own insurance, you'd still have to co-sign, since it's not legal in most states for minors to enter such contracts. But here's the good part: If you're adding a new car to your policy, you're likely eligible for multi-vehicle discounts. This isn't to say you should buy your 16-year-old a brand new BMW because...
4. Better Safe Than Sorry
Older, simpler cars with high safety ratings get you better insurance rates. Why? Older cars are cheaper to repair if you have a collision, and safety features, of course, decrease your teen's likelihood of being in an accident. Forbes recommends talking to an insurance agent before you start car shopping so they can tell you which models will be cheapest to insure. You can also check out this handy-dandy calculator from Insure.com to get a better understanding of premiums by car make and model. Sorry, kiddo, but it looks like you'll be driving mom's old sedan. (Note: While older cars are typically less expensive to repair, some insurance companies offer discounts for newer cars. Blergh. So much conflicting information! As always, talk to your agent about savings available to you.)
5. Keep Your Options Open
While you're out shopping for cars, you may consider shopping for insurance, too. NerdWallet has compiled a comprehensive list of what discounts major insurers offer for teen drivers, so you can compare the options. But also remember that it's usually more cost-effective to bundle policies, so if you're not currently paying for all your insurance needs under one carrier, you might consider making the switch! Big savings come in small bundles.
6. One, Two, Switcheroo
Once you add a teen to your policy, they'll be assigned as a primary or secondary driver to the vehicles you own. Let's say that you have three people in your family who can drive: you, your spouse and your teen. All three must be listed on your policy. In this scenario, if you have three or more cars, an insurance agent will automatically assign one to your teen. To save money, ask your agent if you can make your teen the primary driver of the car that is least expensive to insure. If you only have two cars, the agency will consider your teen a secondary driver to one or both cars, which is usually cheaper than having another primary driver on your policy. (Note: You can't be a primary driver for two cars unless you have more cars than people. Gotta give some responsibility to the youngin.)
7. Good Going!
Good drivers are rewarded by insurance companies. That means if your teen starts driving as soon as they're legal and keeps a clean record, you could see those rates continuously drop over the coming years. That's why's its essential for your teen to do things like take drivers ed, hold a learner's permit, and get plenty of practice hours from you or an instructor. The more knowledge and skills they have, the better driver they'll be! Le duh.
8. Defense Wins Games
Your teen isn’t the only family member who needs drivers ed. You might be eligible for discounted car insurance rates if you take a driver training course, like defensive driving. Typically you can only take the course for a discount every few years and only those 50 and older are eligible. Still, not a bad idea to refresh your knowledge.
9. Green Means Go
If you're in the market for a new car, you can cut spending on insurance (not to mention gas!) by going green. Some insurance companies offer discounts for those who own fuel-efficient cars. So yeah, while you're saving the environment, you're also saving money. Additionally, you can get low-mileage discounts if you drive under a certain number of miles per year. Check out this awesome chart to see how much you can save on car insurance for driving less in every state. Want to take it a step further? Talk to your insurance company about a usage-based program. This pay-as-you-go model requires users install a tracking device in their car, which monitors mileage, braking habits and speeding tendencies. For this reason, many parents use the devices to teach teens better driving behavior, according to a U.S. News article. The same article states that usage-based insurance can save customers up to 10 percent for simply installing the device and up to 50 percent while using it. Feeling green yet?
10. Think Big
Do you have money saved away for an emergency? If so, you might consider raising your deductible, or the money you have to pay in the event of an accident before insurance kicks in. Doing so would lower your monthly bills, but is not advised unless you have an emergency fund set up. If you can afford to cover your teen if they do get in a wreck, then raise the bar.
There are many more discounts available to you and your family when it comes to car insurance. Every insurer has different policies and prices, and state laws can affect those as well, so be sure to discuss options with your agent. Car insurance doesn't have to be expensive with a teenager behind the wheel. You just need to know your stuff.