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Reducing rates for teen driver

Question: I want to enroll my 19-year-old son to a driving school. He knows how to drive, but I want him to be knowledgeable to the pros and cons of driving safely.  Can this help me save money on car insurance?  

Answer: Enrolling your young driver in a driving school is a great idea.  Knowing how to drive is one thing; knowing how to be a safe, defensive driver is another.

Whether the actual class will help you save money on your insurance policy depends upon your specific auto insurance provider. 

Some car insurance companies offer a discount, which tends to be in the range of 5 to 15 percent, while others will not, especially in states that already require that teenagers take a driver education course to obtain their driver’s licenses.

To find out if you can save with your current insurance company, contact your agent or the company's customer service.  If you find that you will not be offered any type of discount, then shop around with other auto insurance companies.  It’s likely there is one that will give a discount.

Don't let a discount make the decision for you; company rates can vary by hundreds, even thousands of dollars. The company with the discount may still be more expensive. You can comparison shop and see if that discount would make the end rate worth changing car insurance providers.

As you shop, you also may find that there are some auto insurers that offer additional discounts if your young driver participates in the insurer’s own special driver safety program. 

For example, Farmers has a program called Y.E.S. (You're Essential to Safety). If your teenager watches a video and completes a follow-up test to check how well it sunk in, he or she can qualify for certain discounts. 

And, State Farm has Steer Clear, which allows drivers under the age of 25 with a clean record to receive a discount if they successfully completed a program that includes a video presentation, a safe-driving magazine, and a driver's log to document driving experiences.

Even if a discount isn’t be available, don’t let that stop you from having your teen take the class. It's likely that a clean and safe driving record will save you more money over the long haul.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds that the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16- to 19-year-olds is nearly three times the rate for older drivers.  Making your son a better driver may give you better peace of mind -- and also allow you obtain affordable car insurance rates by avoiding tickets or car accidents.  (See “A parent’s guide to insuring a teen driver”)

Plus you can ask for other discounts.

If your son is a full-time student he may be eligible for a good student discount, which may save you between 5 and 25 percent off your auto insurance premium.   If he has had his license for three years already and has had no tickets or accidents, he may qualify for a good driver discount. 

Also, discounts are available with some insurance providers if you place a device in your son’s vehicle that will allow you and your insurer to monitor his driving behavior. (See “7 ways to spy on your teen driver”)

More articles from Penny Gusner


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