Brace Yourself: This Change Will Make Your Car Insurance Soar

If you think your car insurance is expensive now, just wait. If you need to add a teen driver to your policy, prepare for sticker shock.

My parents always told me and my four siblings that driving was a privilege. We listened with solemn expressions on our faces, just waiting for a pause in the conversation so we could jump up, grab our car keys and hit the road, music blaring.

Another thing my folks could have mentioned is that driving is expensive, especially when you’re insuring a teenage driver — very, very expensive.

According a study commissioned by InsuranceQuotes.com, American families pay an average of 79 percent more for their car insurance policy after they add a teen driver, between the ages of 16 and 19.

Of course, that bump in insurance premiums varies by state. For example, if you live in New Hampshire, you might pay a whopping 125 percent more after adding your teen driver to your policy. Hawaiians won’t see nearly that spike, with an increase in premiums closer to 17 percent. In my state, the average insurance premium goes up 65 percent with a teen driver.

If you think an annual average premium increase of 79 percent is too high for adding your teen to your driving policy, consider this: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the fatal crash rate per mile for teen drivers is almost three times higher than for all other age groups.

“Anytime you add a driver that is likely to be involved in more accidents, as well as more serious accidents, the rise in insurance cost will be steep,” said Mike Barry, spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute.

The biggest insurance premium spikes when you add a young male teen because insurers typically view male teens as “riskier and more dangerous behind the wheel.”

There are ways to get a better deal. If you or someone you love has a teen driver, check out “8 Smart Tips for Saving on Teen Auto Insurance.”

And there is some good news on the horizon. According to Kathy Bernstein, senior manager of the National Safety Council’s Teen Driving Initiatives, teens are displaying less risky behaviors now than in the past.

“For instance, in 1978 there were nearly 10,000 teen driver deaths, according to the IIHS,” says InsuranceQuotes.com. “That number has dropped every year since then. In 2014, the number of teen driver deaths was about 2,600.”

There are also fewer teens behind the wheel today (45 percent of 17-year-olds have licenses) than there were decades ago (69 percent of 17-year-olds), so that likely plays a role in the reduction of fatal teen car crashes.

Did you notice a big spike in your auto insurance premium once you added a teen driver to the mix? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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