Auto Insurance: The Cost for Adding a Teen Driver

Last Updated Nov 2, 2010 1:34 PM EDT

I can't think of too many parents who want their teens to learn to drive. First, it's dangerous. Young drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident than older folks. Teenagers also cost big bucks to insure. On average, Mom and Dad will have to shell out an extra $620 a year to add Junior to their auto insurance policy, according to Insurance.com.

How many cars you have also dictates the cost for adding a teen to your policy. If you have two vehicles, expect your premium to jump 58%, according to Insurance.com. Buy your kid a car and a three-car household will see its policy increase 62%.

Other than refuse to let your teen get a license, there are a few things you can do to decrease the hit your policy will take. First, shop around, says Kat Zeman, a spokeswoman for Insurance.com. Rates vary quite a bit from company to company and some charge less for teen drivers. So it always makes sense to consider comparing rates rather than just adding a child to your existing insurance.

Parents should also make sure they take advantage of teen driver discounts. Again, these vary by company and some offer more than others. What deals should parents look for? Here are a few Zeman recommends :
  • Training Courses. Some insurers, including State Farm, will give you a small discount if your child completes a driver's education class. Many high schools offer this for a nominal fee.
  • Good Grades. If your kid hits the books and has a B or 3.0 grade point average, look into this discount. It could be worth up to 20% off your premium.
  • Driving monitors. Some insurance companies (including American Family Insurance and Safeco) will provide you with a GPS-like device that you install on your teen's dashboard. Provided your kid drives safely, you could get up to a 15% discount. Unfortunately, this is only available in a few states.
Once you've exhausted these discounts, there are the usual strategies any driver can employ to lower his auto insurance. One of them is to raise your deductible. Another thing to consider is what type of vehicle you drive. If you're in the market for a new car, avoid a sports car. Or, at the very least don't let your teenager drive it.

Finally, if it was my kid who was about to get her license, I would use this as a teachable moment. I would explain to her all the costs that we will incur in order for her to get behind the wheel. If I do a really good job and explain how pricey her driving is, perhaps she'll be more inclined to dip into her own pocket to help pay for gas.

How much did adding your teen to your policy cost you?

Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents.
Teen Driver image courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.
Also on CBS MoneyWatch:

The Perfect Car for a Teenager
Best Cars to Pass Along to Your Teenager
Best Cars for Carpooling
New Cars: The Best Deals on the Most Reliable Models
  • Stacey Bradford

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