Teen Drivers Can Double Your Car Insurance Costs

Make sure you're getting all the discounts you can in order to keep costs down

It's well-documented that teens are the most dangerous drivers on the road. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers age 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Beyond this sobering statistic, it's not surprising that adding a teen to your automotive policy results in an increase in the policy's cost. What is surprising is how much that increase varies from state to state.

According to InsuranceQuotes.com, adding a teen driver to your policy can, on average, increase your annual premium by roughly 80 percent. And in some states it's even higher. How high? Citing New Hampshire as one example, auto premiums jumped by over 114 percent after parents added teen drivers to their policies. If paying $1,200 each year for your auto insurance before adding your 16-year-old, you should expect to pay more than $2,100 annually after doing so.

InsuranceQuotes.com had earlier found that it can cost a varying amount to add a teen driver to an existing policy, and those variances are wide. In California and Texas it's less than 5% higher than the national average, while Michigan - according to most recent data - is 137% higher, New York is 41% higher and Louisiana rates increase by 26%.

Insurance industry experts were surprised by the findings and explained that the reasons for the differences in premium increases were many and, in some instances, nuanced. They stem from many factors, according to Mike Barry, spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute, including state geography, local driving patterns, and how insurance is regulated in each respective state.

Parents working to moderate insurance costs can take a few different actions. These include buying your teen driver an older car, ensuring your teen has a safe car (sometimes at odds with 'an older car') and taking advantage of the numerous discounts offered by the major insurance companies.

Discounts, discounts, discounts

Taking advantage of discounts can cut down costs in a big way, especially if you have a teen driver, but it's not always easy to do.

Bankrate.com spent three days searching the websites of ten major insurance companies in order to find the discounts they offer, uncovering a wealth of money-saving nuggets hidden among FAQ pages and blog posts that are surprisingly easy to qualify for. Most consumers, however, don't have three days to do research, and because these are often very difficult to find many may not be taking advantage of them.

Is your teen a good student? Most insurance companies offer a discount for that. Is your car garaged? Is your car operated in an urban or suburban area? Do you have a car alarm? Multiple vehicles on the same policy? Insuring your vehicles and home with the same company? You get the idea.

"It's up to you to be proactive and stay on top of these discounts," said Doug Whiteman, an insurance analyst at Bankrate.com. After all, even with the growth in social media you can't expect your insurance company to know things about you, like the equipment on your car or your teen's performance in school.

Best advice: Consult Autoblog insurance resources to see if your company offers anything you're not currently taking advantage of. If your family qualifies for a discount and isn't getting it, inform your agent as quickly as possible.

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