Getting a driver’s license is a big milestone for teenagers and their families. But along with that is the worry of rocketing insurance premiums.
Consumer Reports’ exhaustive study of insurance rates found just how high they go up when you add a teen driver. Researchers checked premiums for a sample family— a 55-year-old couple who add a 16-year-old driver to their policy. The average increase was 90 percent more than what they were already paying. But the size of the increase really depends on where you live and which insurer you use.
The biggest increase for adding a teen driver was in North Carolina—159 percent—more than $1,600 extra per year. The smallest was in Hawaii—16 percent, an additional $312 per year.
Before you add a teen driver to your policy, it pays to shop around rather than just accept whatever increase your insurer charges. Consumer Reports found that prices can vary significantly depending on the insurance company.
For instance, in California that sample family would see an increase of around $3,400 per year with Allstate Indemnity, but only $905 per year if they switched to Auto Club insurance.
And there’s another way to save. Most insurers in most states offer a discount to families with students who can show proof of good academic performance. Be sure to check with your insurer to see whether your teen qualifies for that discount. For Consumer Reports’ sample family, the good-student discount averaged $263 per year.
What about having your teen take a driver’s education course? Consumer Reports found for its sample family that the average savings were only $63 per year.
We asked Allstate to Comment on the Consumer Reports research on higher rates and received this response by email:
"Lost in general comparisons of auto premiums is the level of professional knowledge and personal service that customers receive from their Allstate agency owner and in their claims experience in a time of loss. With Allstate, California customers and families with teen drivers have resources such as their agency owner who knows them, individualized price and coverage options including teen driver virtual training, and round-the-clock availability which we believe provide the best overall insurance value and experience."