Even with higher insurance costs, teens still have chance at savings
When they enter the auto insurance market, the nation's newest teenage drivers face higher-than-average prices. In fact, it takes quite a few accident-free years for a new driver's premiums to dip to normal levels. According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance's consumer guide, for example, it takes a year before a new driver's premium drops by about 30 percent in that state. After the second year, it drops another 14 percent. By the end of the third year, prices drop further, by about half. Parents who worry about the cost of teenage auto insurance can rely on this advice: Do your research: For all the these tips, be sure to do your research. Although teenagers as a whole pay more for auto insurance, different insurers have different policies on new drivers, from how much their premiums are to the kinds of discounts that are available. For example, many insurers offer multi-vehicle discounts while others raise premiums as more vehicles are added to a policy. Update your information: When your teenager starts to drive, reassess the situation with your new driver: Which car is he or she going to drive? Where is that car going to be garaged? If that driver is heading to college, what insurance information needs to be updated? The Maryland Insurance Administration recently offered tips to parents with college-age children, advising that those children who attend college be listed as a driver on their parent's auto policy. Informing your insurer that your child is away at school and will infrequently use the family car can lead to a discount. Make your teen take a driving course: This applies to drivers of any age, but some insurers look kindly on policyholders who complete a safety or training course. Look for good-student discounts: Young drivers who are good students are rewarded by insurers, including Progressive, which offers discounts to full-time students who maintain a good grade-point average. Increase your deductible: A common way of reducing any auto coverage premium is to raise the deductible. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 cuts coverage costs by 15 to 30 percent. Insurers everywhere want to protect their risk in covering drivers in an age group especially susceptible to crashes. Federal research shows that car crashes account for more than one out of every three deaths of teenagers in the U.S., making it the age group's leading cause of death. Parents who worry about their teenager's safety on the road can turn to these tips: 1. Tell your teen to wear a seat belt: According to federal officials, teenagers have the lowest rates of seat belt use among all age groups. 2. Tell your teen to avoid distractions: Federal officials say distracted driving can have the same impact on reaction time as driving drunk, so make sure your teen is aware of the dangers. 3. Use technology: Simple GPS devices often work as a way to track where your teen is going in his or her car, but Travelers Insurance offers IntelliDrive, which employs an in-car device that records driving data like location, speed and times driven. 4. Talk, then talk some more: Keeping your teenager safe behind the wheel may be as simple as being safe yourself. Lead by example and keep the conversation ongoing.