Independent agents are key to helping clients save money when adding a teen driver to the family auto policy.
Independent agents' ability to offer choice and advice provides the opportunity to accommodate a wide variety of customers, including families with teens and newly independent young drivers.
However, adding a teen driver to the family auto policy causes the premium to soar. Further, due to their lack of driving experience, even teens with clean accident records will face high car insurance rates for several years. At 25 years old, rates typically begin to decline, and middle-aged drivers enjoy the best rates. It isn't until about age 65 that rates begin to creep back up again.
Here are five ways to help your clients save money when insuring their teens:
1) Liability only or removing collision coverage. Raising the deductible and removing collision coverage can save hundreds of dollars. This tactic means that households will be covered against the escalating cost of liability in the event of an accident. However, it comes with a warning: Parents or teenagers need to be prepared to pay for certain damages and repairs out of pocket, particularly small damages such as a fender bender.
Additionally, this means that before buying the car, families should not buy the latest and greatest model on the roads because it will cost more to repair.
“As parents, we want to buy the best for our children, but it's a mistake to buy them a car that needs to be financed and needs full coverage," says Saida Perez-Garrido, owner of GIS Insurance Services in Thornton, Colorado. “If you do liability only, the cost may vary but it will be less because we're not taking the risk of the vehicle."
“I wish the parents reached out before they bought the car, because they'll buy the 2022 model and get themselves into trouble," agrees Andy Siegel, president of Siegel Insurance in Atlanta, past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia (IIAG) and co-chair of IIAG personal lines technical committee. “Dropping collision coverage is always a recommendation, while purchasing a car with built-in safety features can also save on the premium."
2) Good student discount. Depending on the insurer, high school and college students can save 6%-36% on their car insurance bill by getting good grades, according to ValuePenguin.
“Promoting the good student discount is key," says Karen O'Connor Corrigan, co-owner and president of O'Connor Insurance Agency in St. Louis and chair of the Big “I" Technical Affairs Committee. “Firstly, it gets parents talking about reducing the price, which is what they want to hear about it. Secondly, some parents will actually say to their child, 'We will pay the premium as long as you have a 3.0 grade point average, but if you lose that, you're paying the difference.'"
3) Listed garage. If the family is based in a metropolitan area where the ZIP code forces the premium higher and the young driver takes the car to college, changing the listed garage to the college's location may reduce the premium.
“We can pretty much rate them anywhere else in the state cheaper than metro Atlanta," Siegel says. “If they go to college in Savannah, Athens or Statesboro, or anywhere else in the state, we'll show the car garage there and that'll save them some money."
4) Removing the child from the policy. In certain situations, it can be helpful for parents to remove their child from their policy altogether—as long as the parent remembers to add the child back onto the policy when necessary.
“There are discounts when the kids are more than 100 miles from home without a car," Siegel says. “For kids that do gap years or semesters abroad, we're able to remove them from the policies and take them off for that rating period."
5) Driver education. Virtually every state offers a driver education program. However, agents must use their knowledge of the market to identify which insurers offer the best discounts for young people.
For example, teenSMART is a driver training program aimed at teaching young drivers to be more responsible through study guides, driving exercises and “real-world" driving simulations. It can save insureds as much as 20% depending on the carrier. “We highly recommend it and I don't think anybody's ever passed on it because the savings are there," Siegel says.
Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.