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How to Save Money if You Are a Young Driver

Teen drivers just getting their license are usually excited about getting behind the wheel and tasting the freedom that comes with the ability to drive. Unfortunately, too often that excitement is tempered when the first car insurance bill comes due. Young drivers pay much higher premiums for auto insurance than the general population. The reasons for this boil down to risk. Teens and new drivers are the likeliest group to be involved in auto accidents, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., accounting for more than a third of deaths among teenagers. Still, there is some hope for young drivers trying to hold down their car insurance premiums.

Car Policy Choices That Can Lower Insurance Rates

Not all car insurance policies are exactly alike in terms of the coverage they include. One thing you can do to greatly reduce your insurance bill is to adjust your coverage. Owning a vehicle outright gives a young driver much more flexibility in this area. Without a lien on an automobile, you are not required to carry comprehensive and collision insurance. Opting only for the minimum coverage required by your home state is one way of reducing your car insurance expenses.

At the same time, however, this strategy greatly diminishes the usefulness of an insurance plan. It can get a young driver on the road legally, but does little to protect that driver or the vehicle driven in the event of an accident. For this reason, extreme caution is advised when considering forsaking comprehensive coverage. A few other alternative options exist along these same lines that can also help cut down on insurance costs without sacrificing coverage.

One of these alternatives is looking into the premium difference that could result in listing a parent as a secondary driver on the car. Some people actually list the parent as the primary driver and the teen driver as the secondary, but this often can compromise your ability to make a claim. In a vehicle where the young driver does most of the driving, it is always advisable to keep the teen listed as the primary driver.

Other alternative ideas related to the policy itself include increasing deductibles and simply shopping around for coverage. An increased insurance deductible can really help curtail the policy premium, although the trade-off is a substantially higher out-of-pocket fee in the event of an accident or other claim. Shopping around for car insurance may seem like a very obvious idea and one that shouldn't even have to be stated, but it is important enough to be worth noting. In particular, online insurance providers may give a young driver the best opportunity for savings. This site can help in that area, connecting young drivers with some of the top local insurers in the area.

How the Right Car Can Save a Young Driver Money

The car insurance policy itself is probably the first area many drivers look at in an effort to save money on their insurance costs. A less common target of insurance cost-cutting that can be just as vital to savings is the vehicle itself. Many young drivers (and drivers of all ages) pay little attention to the cost of car insurance when they are looking to purchase a vehicle. The truth of the matter is that the car being insured may in some cases have as much bearing on the policy premium as the driver.

It is almost common knowledge that sedans are more affordable to insure than sports cars, and that very expensive vehicles bring a higher insurance price tag than cheap cars. One fact not as commonly understood is that some of the specific features of any particular vehicle will influence its insurance cost. For example, safety features like automatic seat belts, factory-installed anti-lock brakes, and side curtain airbags can substantially reduce the annual cost of coverage on a car or truck [2]. This is a valuable piece of information to keep in mind ahead of time when you are in the market for an automobile.

Driving Tips to Reduce Insurance Costs

Keeping with the theme of thinking ahead, the ability to take the long view and focus on the future also plays a prominent role in young drivers' car insurance expenses during their teens and twenties. Every young driver starts out facing somewhat of an uphill battle when it comes to auto insurance rates. Simply maintaining a clean driving record can do wonders for those premiums. As a young driver, you are placed in a high-risk category because statistically, teens and new drivers are much more likely to get into situations that lead to insurance claims. Taking the long view means being focused on establishing your record as a safe driver and concentrating on building your skills while following the rules of the road.

When young drivers commit to this sort of focus, it means they abstain from dangerous driving habits like speeding, aggressive driving and especially driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. A safe driver always makes sure to be on full alert at all times, driving defensively to minimize risk. Part of true defensive driving is being sober every time you get behind the wheel. Not only will this help greatly reduce your risk of accidents or tickets; it will also greatly increase your ability to save money on your annual policy renewal as the years go by.

Additional Advice to Help Young Drivers Save Money

There are quite a few additional ways young drivers can work to limit their auto insurance premiums, many of them through discounts. Most companies offer good student discounts for unmarried high school and college students enrolled full-time who meet age and academic requirements. Discounts for charity work and involvement in civic organizations are also widely available. Some car insurance companies will also reduce your premium if you successfully complete specific drivers' safety courses certified or sponsored by the companies. A smart consumer will recognize the many opportunities that do exist for minimizing the cost of insurance, even for a young driver.

It can seem quite unfair when a young driver applies for an auto coverage policy for the first time, only to find that their rates are markedly affected by their age and lack of driving experience. But this is the reality of auto insurance: since it is an industry ruled by statistics, it must go by statistical tendencies in determining initial coverage rates for new drivers getting licensed for the first time.

However, young drivers are not bound by statistics the way insurance companies are. As a young driver getting behind the wheel for the first time, you have the power to do something about the rates you pay for coverage. As a general rule, your greatest power lies in your performance as a driver. Proving you can drive safely and within the limits of the law will not only help you to earn the trust of your parents and others, it will also help you to save a great deal of money in years to come.

[2] http://money.cnn.com/2005/07/13/pf/saving/willis_tips/index.htm Retrieved 2009-11-26.

 

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