It's time for that rite of passage...adding your teen to your auto insurance policy. Your teen is excited and you're understandably terrified both for your child and your insurance bill. It costs thousands of dollars a year to add a teen driver and a car to your policy. Here are a few recommendations to help reduce that cost and improve your child's safety.
- Utilize Driver Training. There are lots of courses out there. Some of them include hands on training in a vehicle and some of them are strictly online. The important thing is to be sure they're state sanctioned so the completion certificate will qualify you for a discount on your insurance. Here's a link to a discounted online course. You do not have to be a Safeco client to take advantage of this discounted course and the completion certificate will apply to any carrier. www.aceable.com/safeco
- Utilize Telematics. Each insurance company has a different name for their Telematics program from Intellidrive to Right Track to OnTrack and more. The premise is generally the same. The driver downloads an app on their phone. The app tracks driving habits and gives real time feedback on driving behavior to help the driver learn which habits are good and which habits place them at risk of an accident. The driver keeps the app for 90 days during which time their rating goes up and down based on behavior and at the end of that period deletes the app. A customized discount is established for that driver and they keep the discount for life. Most carriers offer a 5% discount just for participating and final discounts can be as high as 40% (although the average seems to be around 10-15%). Most telematics programs have no downside risk (there's no way for your rates to go up). The apps generally track rapid acceleration, hard breaking, speeding, time of day driven, and miles driven. This can be a great tool for a parent to sit down with their teen and review driving habits together.
- Hire a Tutor. Most carriers offer a Good Student Discount to any child under the age of 25 with a 3.0 GPA or better.
- Hold Off on The New Car. Most insurance companies use driver averaging where they average the experience of all household drivers across all household vehicles. If you have three household drivers (Mom, Dad, and Teen) and two household vehicles then the teen isn't weighed as heavily because they don't have access to a vehicle full time. If your household has one car per driver then there's no way to dilute the effect of adding he teen even if you only let them drive on weekends...unless you utilize telematics and it shows your teen only drives a few miles a week.
- Get It In Writing. Try a contract with your teen that outlines their responsibilities (and yours) and the consequences for failing to meet them. Safeco has a great model here: https://www.safeco.com/products/auto-insurance/discounts/teen-safety-rewards
- Send Them Off to Boarding School. OK. I think this discount is really intended for a college kid away at school without a car, but if your child is living more than 100 miles from your house without a car, most carriers offer a discount.
- Think Ahead. Some carriers offer a discount for a teen driver if you've been with that carrier for more than a year. This one is tough to utilize because of constantly changing rates between carriers and constantly changing driving records and claims histories of parents, but it exists. The best way to take advantage of the discount is to talk to us more than a year before your teen gets their license to make sure you're with the best carrier at that time and then revisit the decision after your teen gets their license.
It's an exciting time for all those involved. If you take some time to work through these suggestions it can be safer for your child and your wallet. We're happy to help you navigate this important time. Just give us a call.