Insurance companies play the odds — and the odds aren’t in favor of teen drivers. The longer you have your driver’s license and the more time you spend on the road, the lower your chances are of getting in an accident. This comes from experience. Every time you get behind the wheel, you gain valuable knowledge that can help you make better choices next time you drive.
Even if a teenage driver spent ample time learning the rules and practicing driving with an adult, their inexperience in real-life situations creates a disadvantage in the ever-changing driving environment.
Here are some of the main reasons teen driver insurance rates are so high:
1. Teens have the highest rate of accidents: If you haven’t done something before, then you probably don’t know what’s going to happen. Teens haven’t been on the road very long, thus making them more susceptible to improper responses and ultimately increasing their likelihood of being involved in a traffic accident. In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control, teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations, and have a higher tendency to speed than other age groups.
2. Impulsive and reckless behavior: We’re not stereotyping here. This is the true nature of your teen years. In fact, according to information reveled by Science Daily, among other sources, the human brain is not fully developed in our early teen years. The parts of our brains that control our inhibitions as well as our excitability are still evolving. So what does that mean for teen drivers? Well, it accounts for adolescents making reckless decisions and being more reactive behind the wheel than even their 20 or 30-something counterparts.
3. Peer pressure: Even the most level-headed teenager can cave under the pressure of his or her friends. Unfortunately, this can come at a deadly price when it comes to driving. Distracted driving and driving under the influence are the two of the most dangerous choices a teen can make behind the wheel, and sadly the statistics don’t lie. Distraction.gov reports that 11 percent of drivers involved in distracted-driving related accidents were under the age of 20. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2010, 22 percent of teens involved in fatal auto accidents had been drinking.
So What Can a Parent Do?
The first step is to encourage safe-driving habits. A good place to start is with a Parent-Teen driving contract. This will outline some rules and consequences for driving behavior. Everyone in the household will know what’s expected and you’ll be setting your teen up for driving success.
In addition to keeping their driving record clean and accident-free year after year, there are a few ways you can cut insurance costs for teenagers.
• Good student discounts: Some insurance companies reward teen drivers for keeping a 3.0 grade point average. Keeping your grades up requires dedication and responsibility, which insurance companies see as positive signs that a teen driver can make good decisions.
• Traffic school or defensive driving course: Some insurance providers offer an additional insurance discount courses. Talk to your insurance carrier and find out if taking an extra course to brush up on driving knowledge will help reduce your teen’s insurance rate. Some companies provide their own courses, while others allow you to take online programs like those offered nationwide by I DRIVE SAFELY.
• Keep your teen on your policy: Many companies offer multi-vehicle discounts. This is extremely helpful for parents. In addition, you may find other rate-reduction options when you add multiple coverage lines such as homeowners or renter’s insurance, additional vehicles such as motorcycles or boats, or even a life insurance or supplemental health insurance policy.
No matter what, teens need to be aware that driving is dangerous and costly. Talk to your teen, and show them how much their insurance rates cost you each month. Teaching them the value of safe driving from the day you hand over the keys could help everyone save.