The study found car insurance costs 79 percent more after a typical married couple adds a teen driver to their policy. That rate fell from 84 percent last year, but it still goes to show that it's a very expensive prospect to insure younger motorists. Boys caused the largest price increase at 92 percent while teenage girls raised rates by 67 percent. The younger the teen, the higher the rate hike. At around 16 years old, insurance rates jump by 96 percent, but then drop to 58 percent by age 19.
The higher rates are a reaction to the higher risk of a crash that comes with younger drivers. Per mile driven, drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens.
Costs associated with insurance have helped to keep a record number of teens from getting behind the wheel. In 1983 nearly half of all 16-year-olds and almost 70 percent of 17-year-olds had a license. The rate of teens with a drivers license 30 years later has dropped by half. While some media outlets claim the drop is due to social media replacing the need for a car, the more likely cause seems to be financial.
At the same time teenage unemployment has skyrocketed after the 2008 market crash, the costs associated with driving has increased. Economics were the most significant factor in the decline in insured teens between 2006 and 2012, according to an IIHS study.
"It stands to reason that a higher percentage of teens would be unable to afford insurance," said IIHS.
The good news is there are many discounts out there for teens to take advantage of to help lower insurance rates. But because these are often very difficult to find, many people may not be making use of them.
For example, almost every insurance company offers discounts for good students, or kids away at college. Safety features such as car alarms and daytime running lights can also earn drivers a discount. Use this handy chart from Bankrate.com to find which discounts may be offered through your insurer.