California is a state infamous for its traffic. With almost 40 million people and around 28 million drivers, let’s just say getting around is not always fast. With millions of drivers and traffic as far as the eye can see, teen driving in California is even more dangerous than other states. In turn, auto insurance rates for teens are ASTRONOMICAL

The trouble with teen driving is simple. They are unquestionably the most dangerous drivers on the road due to inexperience. 

Getting on the road and behind the wheel is every teenager’s dream. The freedom of the windows down and the wind blowing through their hair to wherever their life takes them should be earned, and driving is the first step in adulthood for teens. But… not many of them are as safe as they need to be. 

According to the III (Insurance Information Institute), teen drivers are least likely to use a seatbelt and most likely to speed or cause an accident. Additionally, the leading cause of deaths among teens is motor vehicle crashes. 

The question is: How do you keep those auto insurance rates as low as possible for teen drivers?  This article will walk you through the best ways to lower teen auto insurance premiums and save you hundreds of dollars. 

Student Discounts

After being labeled as “high-risk” drivers, teens are forced to pay outrageous amounts on their car insurance rates. Some pay up to $3,000 more than the 25-year-old age group. There are multiple ways to combat those high rates and lower your “high-risk” label. 

Statistics show that students who get good grades are less likely to get into a car accident, so car insurance companies see them as lower risk and, in turn, offer savings on their rates.

Discounts for students are the most abundant among all discounts across all car insurance companies. If you are enrolled in high school or college, you can earn anywhere from 5 to 15 percent discount on your rate. Of course, there are qualifications that make you a “good student.” Most companies will ask for your SAT or ACT scores. They will also ask for a transcript of your school history thus far. You must be under the age of 25 and enrolled full time in a California state school (public or private). 

Above all getting good grades as a student can help you (or your parents) save hundreds on car insurance. Another easy incentive to stay in school. 

Driver’s Education

California is a state that requires a driver’s education program to be taken. You must also complete 30 hours of practice behind the wheel with an adult. These supervised hours behind the wheel must be completed before you’re allowed to receive your learner’s permit. 

California uses a graduated driving licensing system. You must take driver’s education, then have a learner’s permit for one year, and then receive your license. This system was created by the NHTSA or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure teens get the most experience as possible before granted that special freedom that often leads to danger. 

Most California state schools offer a driver’s ed program; in California, it is even offered online by the DMV right from your smartphone or computer. Taking this course can lower your insurance rates when you get behind the wheel and probably teach you (and your parents) a lot you didn’t know. It’s easy to register for the online program, and it costs only $25. 

Type of Vehicle

The type of vehicle teens drive is extremely important to guarantee increased safety and strong judgment. As mentioned before, this time in a teen’s life is arguably the most exciting so far. They finally have freedom from their parents and the ability to stretch their legs. However, this also means they want a car that is exciting as well. 

If you’re a parent reading this, listen up! Do not go buy a red sports car that has no safety features and 300 plus horsepower. You will be paying hundreds more than you need to. In fact, the ‘98 light blue minivan parked in the yard is your best bet. They may not look cool in it, but your wallet will be fatter.

Usage-Based Insurance

Most car insurance companies now have a system you can use that will save you thousands because it’s based on driver behavior. The system can be installed in the vehicle or on your teen’s smartphone. Your soon-to-be adult will not be thrilled about big brother, but parents can rest easier knowing their teen’s driving habits are being recorded and rewarded (or penalized). 

The device installed in the vehicle or smartphone will track nearly everything — braking, speed, time of travel — and even provide feedback to your teen regarding their metrics and offer tips on how to improve driving habits. Some car insurance companies give you a trial period to track habits while others adjust the premium at policy renewal. Some companies offer real-time tracking and monthly bill adjustments. 

Parents that enroll their teens in usage-based insurance programs are making the roads safer for everyone and teaching their teen responsibility (hopefully without negative consequences).

Conclusion

Discounts, education, smart vehicle shopping, and tracking driving habits are all grand, but the best way teens will be good drivers is to do it as much, and as safely, as possible. Time may not fly by as quickly for teens towards that well-earned freedom, but parents and soon-to-be, independent adults will see their car insurance rates decrease the day they turn 25. It’s a long wait and hard-earned money spent, but we think it will be worth it if it means saving a life.