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For teenagers, getting their first car is a right of passage, and few can wait to enjoy the freedom that comes with having their own set of wheels. Parents, on the other hand, think first of the danger their loved ones will be exposed to and, of course, the cost of the car and the required insurance. With the rate of accidents among teens quadruple that of other drivers, a sound insurance policy is vital.
Do Your HomeworkAdding a teen driver to an existing insurance plan can see premiums instantly double so with this in mind, you should do the groundwork before your teen gets the go ahead. Check with your agent to make sure that you are receiving all the discounts you are eligible for, including bundled policy discounts, multiple vehicle discounts, discounts for in car safety features such as airbags and anti-lock brakes, and finally, safe or responsible driver discounts. The latter is usually awarded after a year of no claims, so if you have just switched to a new company you probably won't be eligible for it. Once you have made sure that you have maximized your discounts, you can proceed with your teen's insurance.
Choose Your Teen's Car WiselyIf you have a quote from your current agent regarding your teen's policy, it is always a good idea to get some other quotes from a selection of different companies as there can be considerable savings to be had. Typically, it is cheapest to simply add your teen to your policy, where they can benefit from your discounts and years of loyalty to the insurance firm. What you may find, however, is that it is actually more affordable to start a separate policy for your teen. What determines which of these options you go with is usually down to the restrictions of the car the teen will be driving. Brand new cars are more expensive to insure as they are more valuable, whereas old cars are more likely to have problems and breakdown. The best car to insure is three to six years old as they have newer safety features and are cheaper to maintain. On the other hand, if you have several cars of different ages, you may be able to adjust your policy to specify which car is to be driven by the teen. By limiting the teen to a safer, older car, your premiums will be considerably lower.
Additional DiscountsThere are a number of other ways to lower the cost of your teen's car insurance, one of which is through a record of good academic performance. Insurance companies view teens with consistently good grades as less likely to file a claim because these teens are considered to be more responsible. Although the exact GPA required varies among insurers, typically an average of a B is the norm, earning you up to a 25 percent discount on premiums. The second way in which you can pay less is through your teen completing driver education programs such as the Y.E.S. (You're Essential to Safety) Program run by Farmers. Not only will the course give guidance on safe driving behavior, but your bank balance will be happier. A third possible discount is the low mileage option which sets a limit on the distance driven over the course of the year. Saving you anywhere from five to fifteen percent, this discount is worthwhile for drivers who will only be using the car locally.
Further ways in which to lower your payments are to minimize the likelihood of claims by reaching an agreement with your teen that they will be responsible for paying the deductible. Also, with teen drivers prone to speeding, any tickets that are not paid off either monetarily of by attending a safe driving school will negatively affect the next year's premium, so stress the importance of heeding speed limits. If you are confident in your teen's ability to drive responsibly, you may be able to reduce your premium considerably by raising your deductible. Obviously, you cannot vouch for the other drivers out there, so keep in mind the need for sufficient coverage in the event of an accident.
Lanna Mann lives and writes in London. She writes for www.carinsurance.org.uk where you can find more information on car insurance.
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