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Car Insurance for Teens − 6 Tips to Get Cheap Online Quotes

auto insurance teenYou may look forward to handing the car keys over to your teen, but that convenience will come at a price in the form of higher car insurance rates. These tips to get cheap online quotes can help.

Car insurance for teens can be very expensive, possibly adding hundreds of dollars a month to your premium if you don’t take steps to save money. Online quotes make it easy to shop around for the best deal on car insurance.

Here are six tips for getting cheap online quotes when shopping for car insurance for teens.

1. Get cheap online quotes for a cheap car

One way to save big on car insurance for teens is to buy an inexpensive used car on which you carry only liability insurance, says Derek Benavides, agent and branch owner at Benavides Insurance in Brownsville, Texas.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety offers a list of tips for buying your teen a car. It’s safest to choose a larger, heavier car without high horsepower that could tempt a teen to speed. Also, make sure the vehicle has electronic stability control, a safety feature that helps the driver control the car on curvy or slick roads.

MORE: Why Your Teen’s Brain Isn’t Ready to Drive

Getting only liability insurance could cut 65 percent off the amount you’d pay to get liability, collision and comprehensive car insurance for teens.

“A lot of parents make the mistake of buying their kid a brand new car and financing it,” Benavides says. In that case, the lender will require full coverage on the vehicle. “If you have full coverage on a 16-year-old driver, that premium is going to be expensive.”

2. Go online first to get a car insurance quote for your teen

You have two different options to get car insurance for your teen: buy your child their own auto policy, or add them to yours. In most cases, you’ll get cheaper quotes by adding your teen driver to your existing policy.

That’s partly because you’re probably eligible for a variety of auto insurance discounts – for example, for owning a home, having multiple cars, having good credit or being married.

If your teen gets a separate policy, he or she won’t benefit from those price breaks.

3. Price a separate insurance policy online for your teen driver

There are a few exceptions to the rule that it’s generally cheaper to add your teen to your existing car insurance policy. First, you may want to get quotes for a separate policy if your teen has a bad driving record that includes multiple tickets or a DUI.

Secondly, it may make sense to price a separate policy for your teen if you own a sports car or luxury vehicle. In that case, insuring your teen on your policy could be pricy.

However, Benavides points out that if your teen has a separate vehicle – for example, there are three drivers in the household and three vehicles – the insurer should allow you to “assign” the teen to the vehicle he or she drives the most.

4. Search for online discounts that apply to teen drivers

Price breaks for young drivers vary by insurer, so when you get online quotes from different agents or companies, ask what discounts are available regarding car insurance for teens. For example, you may get a good student discount, which could cut your premium by as much as 15 percent, if your teen makes As or Bs in school.

You may be able to get a defensive driver discount if your child takes a teen driving safety class in person or online. Once your child goes off to college, you may be able to get a distant student discount, which could save you up to 35 percent, if he or she is studying more than 100 miles away from home.

“It pays to explore discounts,” Benavides says.

5. Check for cheap online quotes with higher deductibles

To lower the cost of car insurance for teens, consider setting a higher deductible. Get online quotes to see how much you could save on premiums by raising your deductible from $200 to $500 or from $500 to $1,000.

One option is to have your teen save that amount in a car fund to pay the deductible if he or she has an accident. This may teach responsibility, encourage safe driving and ensure the parents won’t be on the hook for paying the higher deductible if the teen has an accident.

6. Clean driving records keep quotes cheaper for teens

Have a talk with your teen about the importance of avoiding accidents and violations like speeding.

If your teen does have a mishap, talk to your agent when looking for car insurance for teens to see if it makes sense to file a claim or if you should consider covering the cost of damages out of pocket, Benavides recommends.

“Avoiding accidents and tickets is a huge deal when adding a teen to your policy,” he says.