Putting your children on your car insurance is always going to make your insurance extra expensive. Teenagers are just beginning to learn to drive. They don't always have the judgment and impulse control of mature adults so there's naturally more risk of an accident. When your teen actually gets into a car accident, however, their car insurance premium will go up even higher. The insurance company might increase your rate as well.
Insurance is legally a must-have for anyone who wants to drive, but it can be prohibitively expensive for some. Take the time to learn how you can keep your insurance premiums down and fight rate increases after car accidents in your family.
How Your Premium Is Determined
Car insurance is there to back you up financially if you ever get into an accident and, at the very least, pay other drivers for any damages you cause. The insurance company wants to keep their costs down, however, so they set monthly fees according to how risky they think you are. If you're a mature adult who has been driving for multiple decades and you've never had an accident, you should have a low premium. There's little chance that you're going to have an accident and cost them anything.
When a teenager gets behind the wheel of a car, there's a significant risk of a car accident, and the insurance companies know it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost three times as likely to be in a fatal crash as a driver 20 or older.
That's why insurance is going to be more expensive for teen drivers from the outset. Over time, as they prove themselves and establish a safety record, their premiums will go down. If they get into accidents, however, insurance companies will treat them as an even more significant risk and raise their bill even higher.
How Their Accident Affects Your Premium
After the stress of the accident itself and the immediate increase in the teenager's insurance, some parents are also caught off guard by the rise in their insurance rates. Why is their premium going up if it was their son or daughter that had the accident?
Insurance companies assume that the teenager is increasing the risk of a car accident for all cars driven in that house. The teenager could borrow a parent's car and cause an accident with that vehicle, which could fall under the parents' insurance policy instead of the teenager's.
What can you do if your teenager gets into an accident and your premiums suddenly become unsustainable? One easy way to avoid an increase in your insurance rates in this situation is to take your teen off the list of possible drivers for your car. The company is charging you more to make up for the risk caused by your teen. By promising not to have your teen drive your car, you decrease the insurance company's risk.
If you pursue this option, however, you should be diligent about keeping your teen from driving that vehicle. If they drive your car anyway and get into an accident, the insurance company will likely refuse to cover any damages if they discover that your child was driving.
Accidents and tickets will only affect insurance premiums if they make it onto you or your teen's official record. A lot may also change depending on whose fault an accident was. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to challenge the determination of fault or stop certain items from being added to your teen's record and affecting your premiums. A lawyer will be able to give you a better chance of success if your case allows it.
Lowering Your Premium
If you've done what you can, but the accident has made it onto the permanent driving record and your insurance premiums are still uncomfortably high, there are other ways you can try to get them down into a reasonable range.
You can often reduce your rate by a significant amount by reducing your coverage. Increase your deductible or drop your comprehensive coverage to reduce the possible amount the company will have to pay, and your premium will drop. You're taking the risk of a more considerable expense if there's another car accident, but it can be a worthwhile tradeoff.
Once you've been with an insurance policy for a long time or have a stable safety record, you should be able to ask for a lower rate. The company may work with you on this despite your teen's less reliable record. Looking for a new policy elsewhere can mean finding good discounts, and simply threatening to leave may prompt new, lower offers from your current company.
If your teen has been driving for long enough, you may also have the opportunity to have their accident forgiven. They could also have their rate lowered if their safety record has improved after the accident. Show the company that your teen is working to become a better driver.
Encouraging Good Driving Habits
Whether your teen has had an accident or if you're worried it could happen soon, it's never too late to help your teen develop safe driving habits. Signing up your child for a defensive driving class will prepare them for challenging conditions on the road and show your insurance company you're serious about safety.
Think critically about the example you give your teens when you're driving. You may think you have enough driving experience to take an occasional phone call without a problem. However, don't expect them to take distractions seriously and focus on the road if they see you multitasking like this.
Put in the time to raise a safe, conscientious driver and make sure they're prepared for everything that can go wrong on the road. You'll know your child is safe and you'll have a lower, more manageable insurance bill.
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