One of the most frequent questions we get from clients with teenage children is “how much will it cost to add my son/daughter to my policy?”
It’s no secret, the cost of insurance for a teenage driver can be downright astronomical… in some cases, twice or even three times the cost. Unfortunately, there’s substantial statistical data that supports the higher cost for teens.
Here are few unfortunate statistics surrounding teenage drivers:
• The risk of motor vehicle accidents is higher among 16 to 19 year-olds than among any other age group – they’re three times more likely to crash compared to older drivers (no wonder it’s most expensive to insure teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19)
• The motor vehicle death rate for male drivers ages 16 to 19 is normally two times that of female teenage drivers (which is why it’s more costly to insure a 16 year-old male compared to a 16 year-old female)
• Teenage drivers are most likely to have an accident during their first year of driving
• Teens are more likely to speed and to follow too closely (males tend to do this more than females)
• Teens have the lowest seat belt use of all drivers
• Teens often succumb to peer pressure from passengers to drive dangerously – commonly speeding or racing
• The National Institute of Mental Health states that the part of the brain that weighs risks, makes judgment decisions and controls impulses is not fully developed until age 25… strange coincidence that insurance rates tend to drop substantially when a driver reaches age 25?
• Over half of all teen drivers use cell phones while driving, which inhibits their ability to focus on the road and drive safely
What can you do to keep your teen driver safe?
Auto crashes are the main cause of death for teens, running four times the level of fatal crashes for adults and claiming the lives of over 5,000 young people aged 15 to 19 every year.
With the aim of cutting that number, the week of October 18 to 24 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. It's the ninth annual event since the campaign was introduced by Congress in 2007.
A key component of the event – and a great source of information – is the schools initiative Ride Like A Friend, Drive Like You Care (www.ridelikeafriend.org). This puts a focus on the relationship between teen drivers and teen passengers, since many accidents happen when young drivers are accompanied by their friends.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which was one of the founding partners of the campaign, offers the following key recommendations for teens, to reduce the risk of accidents:
1. They should continue to have driving lessons even after they get their license because the first few months of independent driving are deemed the most risky. Ongoing training should include different times of day and different weather conditions.
2. They should not transport or drive teen passengers for the first 1,000 miles or 6 months after they get their license. And during this time, they shouldn't drive without adult supervision after 10 p.m. – night driving is the most risky.
3. After this point, they should then only transport a single child or teen passenger for another six months.
4. Parents should play their part by not allowing their teen to ride with inexperienced drivers. And, whether they're drivers or passengers, parents should talk to them about the dangers – especially of passenger distraction.
One recommendation you might want to consider is establishing a parent/teen driving agreement, which has a list of rules, some of which can be modified as the driver becomes more experienced. For more on how to do this and to see sample agreements, visit the hospital's guide.
You can also get more information on this year's Teen Driver Safety campaign and what teen organizations and schools can do to participate here.
What we can do to help
First & foremost, we want your teen driver to be safe behind the wheel. If we’re going to avoid the tragic statistics surrounding the risks teen drivers face, it requires participation from parents, their teen driver, and us.
The good news is, the best place to start is with preparation. And armed with the critically important information your teen driver needs to know, along with the resources we can offer, together we can work to achieve the goal of keeping your son or daughter safe while driving.
And the further good news is, the absolute best way to keep the costs of insuring your teen driver as low as possible is to make sure they’re safe behind the wheel – no accidents and no violations.
Just one speeding ticket, seat belt violation or minor fender-bender can cause their cost of insurance to increase by several hundred dollars per year.
Ask us how we can help you with the following:
• One-on-one presentation with your teen driver detailing the risks, suggestions and insurance implications of their driving behavior
• Parent/Teen Driving Contract to reduce the risk of an accident, and establish consequences for unacceptable behavior (texting while driving, too many friends in the car, driving past 10:00 p.m., etc.)
• Teen Driver Safety Tips
• Curing the Cost of Insuring your Teen Driver
If you would like us to have a conversation with your teen driver about the importance of safety, or how even a small accident or minor violation can impact their cost of insurance, just let us know. We want to do all we can to help keep you and your family safe.
Blog from Matt Simon of HillandHamilton