For a new driver, getting a “learner’s permit” for the first time is exciting – a chance to finally start driving the family car. For the parents, this is a time filled with anxiety. To make matters even more challenging, car insurance for the learner driver is required in all states and is an expensive proposition for the family budget. Teenagers are rated as the highest risk drivers on the road by insurance companies, due to high accident rates and fatal crashes prevalent in this group. Nationally, the average cost of car insurance for teenagers is currently about $3,500!
Even though learner drivers’ car insurance is required in all 50 states, requirements vary in most states. The first thing to do is check with your agent before the new driver gets their permit for instructions and requirements. Here are some pointers to keep in mind about learner drivers car insurance:
1. Typically the best option (and possibly the only option) is to add the teenage driver to the family auto policy. To save money, try to assign the new driver to an older, already paid for the car where deductibles can possibly be increased, and certain coverages can be reduced or eliminated to lower premiums. This strategy may not be possible with your insurance company since they often try to assign the highest risk driver to more expensive vehicles to lower their risk, but is possible.
2. On older vehicles, collision and comprehensive coverages can be expensive. These pay for damage to the auto that doesn’t involve other drivers and can be dropped if you want to save money on premiums.
3. Once drivers have completed the “learner” stage, consider buying an older vehicle for cash and assigning the teenager to this auto for insurance purposes. You may have the option of carrying only personal liability insurance and absorbing the risk yourself for any damages to the car – premiums will still be expensive, but you may save more than the cost of the car!
4. Additional ways to save money on learner drivers car insurance include a Good Student Discount, available with most insurers if your teenager achieves at least a “B” average in school. You can also have your teen complete a defensive driving course before adding them to your policy, which will most likely qualify for an automatic discount.
Learner drivers car insurance is, in fact, an expensive necessity, but you can save money by taking advantage of these strategies and all available discounts offered by your insurance company.