As a general rule, teenage drivers pay more in car insurance premiums than their adult counterparts. It may not seem fair, but it’s a cautionary measure on the part of the insurance companies: teenage drivers are considered less experienced and less responsible, and thus more of a risk for large payouts.
When evaluating a potential customer, car insurance companies will look at factors like location, gender, age, driving history, and credit score. And, like it or not, the younger a driver is, the higher their premiums are likely to be. Teenagers can expect to pay some of the highest rates — an average teen driver in Pittsburgh, for example, may pay as much as $4,000 a year in premiums (a number that drops precipitously as one’s age increases).
If you’re a teen driver, you don’t have to be discouraged by more expensive premiums. There is hope! Not only will your rates drop when you enter your twenties, but you can take steps to lower your premiums right now.
6 Ways Teens Can Lower Their Car Insurance
Because their age classifies them as “high-risk,” teen drivers are more expensive to insure than any other age group. But there are some ways you can mitigate (if not necessarily overcome) the higher rates you’ll almost inevitably be paying.
1. Complete a driver’s education or defensive driving course
The purpose of a driver’s education class is to help everyone, including teenagers, become safe drivers. They are likely to be mandatory before you can get a driver’s license at all. A driver’s ed course will teach you to be mindful and avoid traffic violations and accidents.
A defensive driving course teaches people to be safer drivers above and beyond what you’ll learn in basic driver’s education. You’ll also learn more about the driving laws and regulations in Pennsylvania. You can complete driver’s education courses locally in Pittsburgh or online.
Auto insurance companies may lower your premiums for taking either of these courses, particularly the latter.
2. Buy an older car with good safety features
Having a safe, reliable vehicle is important to every driver, not just teenagers. Having an older car with good safety features is ideal for teenagers who are just starting out. Though it’s a common dream to drive a sports car, SUV, or other flashy vehicle, these are far more accident-prone in anyone’s hands, and a car insurance company is already going to charge more for insuring one, much less in the hands of a teen driver. Older cars are cheaper to insure, repair, and replace, and are safer for practicing drivers.
3. Get added to your parent’s insurance policy
According to Pennsylvania law, teens with driver’s licenses need to be on an insurance policy regardless of whether they have a vehicle or not. You can choose to get a separate policy or be added to your parent’s policy.
As you might expect, standalone policies for teenagers come with higher monthly payments. Being on your parent’s policy will not only avoid those higher base premiums, but they may qualify for discounts that will help you just as much.
4. Apply for a good student discount
Auto insurance companies frequently offer discounts to young drivers who earn good grades in school. Their rationale: teens who study and behave well are more likely to drive responsibly, and so offer lower premiums.
Most insurers will provide good student discounts to high school and college students who are under 25. Students who maintain a 3.0-grade point average may qualify for such a discount. Ask your insurer for details.
5. Shop around for cheaper rates
Anyone who’s looking for car insurance — teenager or not — should begin by learning car insurance requirements in Pittsburgh, then shopping around for the best rates and coverage. Being an informed consumer will not only save you money, but will also ensure you get the best policy for your needs.
Using an insurance comparison engine is a quick and easy way to get quotes from hundreds of companies in minutes.
6. Drive safely
An unblemished driving record will eventually lead to lower insurance rates. As a teen driver, you should take safety and responsible driving seriously. The better your performance on the road, the more convinced insurers will be of your driving abilities.
Be especially diligent regarding alcohol consumption. Pennsylvania has zero-tolerance laws for teenagers who drive under the influence of alcohol. The same goes for speeding, reckless driving, and other dangerous driving habits. Drive safely to qualify for a discount and avoid getting any negative on your driving record — your insurance will start coming down before you know it.
Even following all these steps, it’s likely you’ll still be paying more in car insurance premiums throughout your teens — it’s just how car insurance companies do business when it comes to teenagers. The good news is, once you reach your twenties, your insurance rates will start dropping rapidly.