Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Find the Right Car Insurance for Your Teen

Teenagers are notoriously bad drivers. It's understandable. They're new at this. They don't have the experience you do. Still, it hurts the pocketbook when you get that premium notice in the mail and the bill is higher than you remember it being last month. Here are a few ways to lower the burden on yourself without having to truck the kids around yourself. 

Buy An Older Car

Teens don't need a shiny new vehicle. An old one lets them "cut their teeth" on something that isn't worth much money if it ends up totaled in three months. Plus, older cars are dirt cheap to insure. You don't have to carry collision insurance on them, and many older cars still have important safety features like airbags and a basic security system with keyless entry.

Raise Your Deductibles On Your Primary Vehicle

Raising deductibles on your primary vehicle is a smart thing to do if you have a good driving record. Odds are you can afford to pay a $1,000 deductible to get your car fixed if you're in an accident. If you choose to put collision on your kid's car, it's probably a mistake to raise the deductible there, though you can explore that option too if you're willing to front the deductible. Just realize that teens often have many more accidents than adults do.

Get Your Child A Tutor

School is tough. Your teen might not enjoy any of his classes - or he may not like, or excel in, certain ones. That can come back to bite him, and you, sooner than you think. Many insurance companies reward good grades in school. Consequently, they punish poor grades.

School performance is a good proxy for responsibility. If a child has good grades, it shows that the student is a responsible person, intelligent, and probably a good risk - all other factors being equal (even if the child doesn't have a lot of driving experience).

Likewise, if your child struggles with homework, has failing grades, or even skips class - don't expect any leniency from the insurer. Consider hiring a tutor to help him raise his grades.

After six months or so, call your insurer back, and ask for a discount. You may be surprised at just how much an insurer will discount your premiums. If your child is in college, he generally needs at least 12 credits to quality for discounts. In highschool, he needs at least a B average. 

Enroll Your Teen In a Defensive Driving Course

Defensive driving courses are an excellent way to save money on insurance. A defensive driving course will teach your teen the basics of defensive driving, demonstrate safe driving practices, and will require that your teen pass a test at the end of the course.

This isn't a substitute for driver education class, but it's an excellent way to supplement it. It often results in a direct discount on your premiums. While you're at it, you could also sign up for the course - take it with your child.

That way, you both get a discount.

Gillian Kearney has extensive experience as an insurance consultant. She enjoys sharing her insurance tips on various blogs. Visit Monkey for more ideas.

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