Preparing for Your New Teen Driver

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers ages 16 to 19 are almost three times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers 20 and over. 

The first time you hand over a set of car keys to your teenager is a moment filled with pride, and maybe some mixed emotions. Are you ready to send them out into the world without you? Can you afford the bump in premiums to insure them? The unfortunate truth is that drivers ages 16 to 20 are the most likely to be involved in an auto accident, and as a result they’re a bit more expensive to insure.

Defining the risks

It may seem like stating the obvious, but teen drivers simply don’t have the same maturity or experience as older drivers do. While all new drivers have an increased risk of being involved in an auto accident, teens in particular are more likely to be affected by other major risk factors.

Statistically, they are more likely to be in an accident caused by distracted driving (texting, eating or applying makeup while driving), speeding, alcohol or drugs. And they’re twice as likely as other age groups to be in an accident because they are overtired.

Still, there is some good news. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show the number of accidents and fatalities is falling. As more and more safety features are added to cars, this downward trend will hopefully continue.

Counting the cost

Adding your teenager to your auto insurance policy will increase your premiums. Consider these factors when estimating the new cost.

  • Age  The younger the teen, the higher the premium. While it is possible to obtain a separate policy for older teens, most insurance companies will not offer insurance to younger teen drivers unless they are included on a parent’s policy. An individual needs to be at least 18 for a contract (including an insurance contract) to be binding, though some insurance companies also require drivers ages 18 to 21 to be covered under a parent’s policy.
  • Gender — Male drivers (teen or otherwise) are statistically more likely to be involved in an auto accident. As a result, male teenagers traditionally face the largest premium hike. However, some states have banned using gender as a factor in calculating premiums.
  • Type of vehicle  A vehicle with a good safety record and a less powerful engine will always be a better bet for a young driver.
  • Your state — Premium levels (and regulations) vary from state to state.
Reduce your costs

There are a few measures you can take to reduce premiums and risk for your teen driver.

Enroll your teen in an advanced or defensive driving course to improve their skills and prove to your insurance company that they are not a significant risk. You could also look into usage-based insurance programs, which monitor driving habits and then offer lower premiums to careful drivers. These apps work just as well for teen drivers and can also give you peace of mind that your child is not taking unnecessary risks when driving.

If your teen is in college, let your insurance company know that they will be away from home and therefore not using your car. This could have a dramatic effect on your premiums.

Have you ever considered “good grade” discounts? Some insurance companies recognize that hard-working students are more likely to be safe drivers and less likely to exhibit risk-taking behavior.

While obtaining insurance for your teen driver may be expensive, there are ways to reduce the cost. Reach out to your insurance professional for details on available discounts and programs for safe driver training.

For more information

If you have questions about auto insurance, reach out to our Personal Insurance team.

This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.

Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.

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