The Truth About Teenage Drivers
In the United States 16 years old is the age where most people start driving full time. This is a huge milestone for any teenager looking for a little extra freedom. This is usually a highlight of one’s high school years and gives these young individuals a sense of independence. Throughout the process of getting a drivers license, tests are given both verbally and written. And the final test is a driving test done one-on-one with an instructor from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Classes for these exams can last months and, for the most part, kids are prepared for driving on the road when they reach 16.
But nothing teaches one more than practice. You can’t actually anticipate what will happen when you learn to drive. You have to experience it for yourself. And sometimes along the way there are hiccups. Accidents, damage to the car, and breaking down on the side of the road are much more prevalent with teenagers than adults. This is why you need the best cheap car insurance you can find for a teenage driver.
Time On The Road
More times than not, these accidents are caused by speeding or minor mistakes from a rookie driver. Reaching down for a dropped piece of food on the floor board. Looking at a text from a friend. Not stopping fully at stop signs. These things happen. But distracted driving is much higher with teens than older drivers. Not to say that older drivers don’t look down at their phones, because they do. But these adult drivers just have a lot more practice.
Getting more time in the driver’s seat and out in real life situations can make or break a new driver. It is a hard process to watch your young child grow up and put themselves behind a car. Why? Because we all know driving on out on the freeway or even in town can be dangerous. There are drunk drivers, young drivers, and many distracted drivers. But we all must do it. Getting to work, school, sports and social events are the main reason why teenagers need their own vehicles. Having the cheap car insurance that caters to teenage drivers is a great idea. This usually means full coverage with towing and roadside assistance. You might even consider extra liability and medical coverage.
Insurance Plans And What To Look For
When looking for the best insurance policy for your teenage driver, know that more coverage is always better. You should also be aware that it is most expensive to insure teenage drivers. Especially males. There are many factors that insurance companies look at when they are trying to decide how much of a risk a driver will be. Being male, and under the age of 25 makes that driver much more likely to cause an accident statistically speaking. Female teen drivers will be slightly less expensive to insure. But know that the biggest factor in keeping those bills low is a clean driving record.
What is your age and the age of your drivers? Did you know that the younger the driver the more expensive the policy? Teenagers are four times more likely to get into an auto accident. Because of this, insurance policies for younger people can be feel like they are breaking the bank. But thankfully, there are insurance policies for risky drivers as well. You may pay more for your insurance policy if you are a “high-risk” driver. Getting the best cheap insurance for your young driver means doing a little homework.
Here is a list of the kinds of insurance you will want for your teen driver:
At least this coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
- Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence
And these add-ons:
- Collision coverage so that your own car is covered for damages in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage which will cover your car for minor damage not incurred in an accident, as well as theft.
- Medical coverage for you and your passengers. Medical coverage can make a huge difference for your security and safety.
- Towing and roadside assistance. You may not only need this for a crash, but if you break down. Roadside assistance can save you time and money.
- Rental reimbursement. You could be covered or reimbursed for a rental car when you are involved in a crash.
- Uninsured Motorist coverage. This will make sure that you are still covered even if someone without insurance hits you. The number of uninsured drivers in California is estimated to be as high as 23%. Keep this in mind when you are choosing whether or not to purchase the optional Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
- Full glass coverage. This is additional coverage for your windows and windshields.
- Loan/lease coverage. When you have a loan or a lease out on a vehicle, your coverage needs to be different. Most of the time a full coverage policy is required.
Every state requires something a little different when it comes to minimum amounts of insurance coverage. However, with a teen driver you are always looking at paying for the full coverage. The cost for your policy also depends on your deductible. A deductible is an agreed upon dollar amount in which you “share the risk” with your insurance company if your vehicle is damaged. For example, if your vehicle is worth $10,000 and your deductible is $500, in the event of a total loss, your insurance company will pay up to $9,500 (after your deductible is paid).
Usually it is a smart idea to keep your deductible high and your monthly premiums low. However, teenagers are statistically much more likely to get into an auto accident. Because of this you might want to consider a lower deductible and paying more each month to ensure that you aren’t paying a big chunk of money out of pocket. Remember, if your teenage driver is in an accident and it is their fault, your insurance rates may go up. This is not unusual.
Teens and Distracted Driving
Teens are distracted drivers. No matter what kind of car they drive or how hard they try, teens just don’t concentrate as well when they are on the road. Again, not having as much practice behind the wheel plays a large role in this. Everyone is guilty of looking at their phone from time to time. Add loud music, friends in the car and eating while driving, and there can be a lot going on while your teen is driving a two-ton vehicle. More than 58% of accidents happen with distracted teens behind the wheel. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 9 people are killed and over 1,000 injured every day because of distracted teenage drivers. You might call it an epidemic. Having a cheap insurance policy that keeps your child safe is key.
You can buy your teen the best and safest car on the road. Even put limits on their cell phone usage. But when it comes to being distracted when driving, it goes a lot further than just phones. Teens have a lot on their minds. They are stressed about school, getting to work on time and doing well on the SAT’s. Teens are constantly thinking of social and peer pressure and whether or not they should invite Bobby to the spring dance. They have more pressure on their backs now than ever before. They have pressure to preform well at school, at sports, keep their rooms clean, study for driving tests and volunteer. We put so much pressure on kids to perform at their best that they are bound to fall short somewhere.
The Blame Game
Who is to blame for this? Well, society as a whole. But parents, teachers and media for starters. If teens are supposed to juggle a million tasks at once, no wonder they crash cars almost four times more than adults. Not only that but teenage emotions and hormones are all over the map. Children don’t finish developing the rational thinking parts of their brains until into their 20’s. So why are we still asking so much of teens?
We as Americans push ourselves. You could say that lack of sleep and poor diet also contribute to bad driving. Have you ever been tired and hungry at the same time? It’s very hard to concentrate. Maybe the trick is taking a few things off of our kids plate and give them more responsibility behind the wheel. Call a broker and find out what is the best cheap car insurance policy for your family.
Causes of distracted driving:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Using a mobile device to access the internet while driving and surfing the web
- Watching videos or movies or using entertainment devices
- Using social media or taking selfies or streaming live video
- Grooming (combing hair, putting on makeup)
- Partying in a car, having rowdy passengers or driving under emotional duress, and even dancing
- Reading, whether it’s a newspaper or textbook, visually reading directions or instructions, or email
Here are a few things you can do to prevent distracted driving in teens:
- Make sure that they are only driving when well-rested.
- Drive with your teens often and give them a lot of practice before their test. Practice makes perfect. It also builds confidence. If you believe in your child, they will believe in themselves.
- Have a strict rule about phone usage in the car. Tell them that they need to put their phone in the glove box when driving. If they have to send a text or call someone have them pull over and put the car in park. It might be hard to reinforce this rule, but you can strategize as a family.
- Have your child pay for their own insurance. This might sound harsh but one way to learn responsibility is by paying for what is yours. If you as a parent are purchasing a car for your child or letting them drive yours, the least they can do is fork over a couple hundred dollars a month for car insurance. They should know what they are insured for and how much it costs. Knowing that safe driving leads to a lower payment might be good.
- Educate your whole family on the statistics of distracted driving. Knowledge is power.
- Set a good example by not being a distracted driver yourself. This is key because teens are very aware of the double standard in households. What applies to them should also apply to you.
- Having a reward system for safe driving and responsible living. Positive reinforcement seems to work a lot better on teens than punishment. They want to be trusted, so having some sort of reward system in place for being responsible might work wonders.
- Making sure that the car your teen is driving is not only safe but they feel comfortable driving in it. Can they see well? Are there a lot of blind spots? Is it a large car and hard to maneuver? These things matter. The easier a car is to drive, the safer your teen will be.
The Best Cars For Teen Drivers
First and foremost, the car your teen drives should be comfortable for them. Perhaps this is the car they practice in and even take their driving test with. Don’t start them out on a stick shift. Don’t start them out with a large engine. More horsepower is not better in this case. Look at the car’s safety rating and recalls. Look for cars that have electronic stability control. This helps the driver when the roads are slippery or wet. Having the best cheap car insurance for teens means purchasing a reliable vehicle that doesn’t have a ton of horsepower.
Here is a list of some of the safest cars for teens that won’t break the bank:
- 2013 VW Passat. Anything newer than a 2013 is great according to the latest reviews. You can also buy this car for around $7,000 which is a great price. Remember that teens can be rough on cars, so you won’t want to go out and purchase them a brand new BMW.
- Volvo S60 2011 or newer. You can find this car for as little as $6,000. Volvos can be expensive to repair sometimes. So keep this in mind.
- Ford Fusions are not only reliable little cars but do great with gas mileage. Anything 2010 or newer would be a solid purchase for a teen.
- A 2013 Subaru Legacy is a great vehicle for a teen. Not only is there more room in this car than most, but with all-wheel drive, your teen will be safe in less than perfect weather conditions. You can purchase this vehicle for around $8,000.
- Honda Accords are always a great car to have no matter if a teen is driving it or it’s your daily commuter. These cars are safe and hold their resale value. Your teen will be safest in a newer model. Try not to spend more than $10,000 on one and you will be making a great buy.
- Volkswagen Jettas are always popular with teens. They are fairly safe, small enough and easy to drive. But mostly they won’t break the bank. Spend just $6,000 on a used Jetta and feel happy that your child has a reliable car to drive.
Most of all remember to call your broker to get the cheap car insurance you deserve. There aren’t a lot of discounts for teen drivers, but you don’t have to throw money out the window just because you now have a teen driver in the house.