Your child is a model citizen, a straight-A student, an all-around good kid, so how come you’re having trouble finding cheap auto insurance for your teen driver? The answer may not strike you as fair but it is real simple: statistics. Insurance companies live by them and young drivers as a class have statistically horrible driving records. But don’t take our word for it. Let’s view the data.
Alcohol-impaired car crashes accounted for 32% of the 11,773 traffic deaths in 2008. About 13% of those deaths were people under 21. In fact, minor drivers are at far greater risk of dying in an alcohol-related car crash. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that among the 15- to 29-year-old drivers involved in fatal wrecks in 2006, 31% of the drivers killed had been drinking!
Drunk driving is always a bad idea, but it’s a very, very bad idea for teens. Young people have a greater propensity to binge drink. One study claims that 90% of the alcohol consumed by teens is consumed in the form of binge drinking. Rapid, excessive consumption of alcohol greatly impairs judgment and leads to risky behavior.
But even if we take drugs and alcohol out of the equation, teenagers are still a bad risk as far as car insurance companies are concerned. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) cites that mile-for-mile, teenage drivers crash their cars four times as frequently as older drivers. Those car crashes, by the way, are responsible for about 6,000 young people every year – the leading cause of teen deaths.
Teen drivers are inexperienced, but IIHS data doesn’t put much stock in driver education classes. Their data claim that method hasn’t had any effect on reducing teen car crashes. They do, however, point to graduated driver licensing systems as being highly effective when properly enforced. Graduated systems restrict the conditions under which teens can drive and gradually add privileges as drivers get older.
Kids tend to be easily distracted. One study claims 56% of teens admit to talking on the phone while driving, and another 2007 attributed such driver distraction to 1,000 car crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers. That’s why many states now prohibit the use of any type of cell phone by teen drivers.
Seat belt use is low among teen drivers, too. According to the NHTSA, seat belt use among 16- to 24-year-olds was the lowest of any age group. In 2006, 58% of young adults 16 to 24 involved in fatal car crashes weren’t buckled up.
While data like this is the reason it’s hard to find cheap car insurance for teen drivers, you and your child can still take steps to reduce teen auto insurance premiums. Maintaining good grades, driving a family car, taking safe driver courses and applying for a graduated drivers’ license can help. So will shopping around for cheap teen car insurance quotes online.