There’s nothing like the feeling of getting your first car.
But before you surprise your teenage driver with the keys to an old car on their 16th birthday, you should know car insurance might cost more than the car itself.
Teenage drivers are expensive to insure because they tend to get into car accidents more often than experienced drivers. But they also don’t drive as often as most adults. If the teenager in your family only drives to school and their part-time job, you might be able to save money with pay-per-mile car insurance.
Metromile’s pay-per-mile car insurance charges you for the miles you drive.
Why is car insurance so expensive for teens?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
Out of some 300,000 teenagers who get injured in car accidents each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) found 2,364 are involved in fatal accidents.
That comes out to more than six teenagers who die every day in car accidents.
So, naturally, it can be more expensive to insure teen drivers.
But if your teenager doesn’t drive very often, you might be able to minimize the expense by signing up for pay-per-mile insurance.
How much does car insurance cost for teenagers?
Car insurance rates gradually decline as your teenager gets older.
According to Business Insider, teen drivers can expect to pay between $1,260 and $6,777 per year on average for traditional car insurance, depending on their age and driving record:
But at Metromile, your car insurance rate is based on how much you drive. So teenagers who don’t drive as often as their parents or other drivers might save money.
For example, younger, teenage drivers, who are the primary drivers on Metromile, can pay considerably less for their car insurance.
What are the biggest risks for teen drivers?
According to the CDC, some of the leading causes of teenage car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Drowsy driving
- Peer pressure
- Not wearing a seat belt
How can I keep my teen driver safe?
The best way to keep your teen driver safe is to establish a clear set of rules:
- Buckle up. Always wear a seat belt.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Your teenager shouldn’t use their cellphone, change the music or radio station often, check their makeup, eat or drink while they’re driving.
- Take your time. There’s no need to speed or tailgate, even if you’re running late.
- You shouldn’t be drinking, especially not if you’re driving. Be strict about driving when alcohol might be involved. “Buzzed” driving, or driving while intoxicated but under the legal limit to be considered drunk driving, can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. No one, especially not teenagers under the age of 21, should consider driving after drinking.
- Don’t drive when you’re tired. Consider setting a curfew to help ensure your younger drivers operate a vehicle only when they’re most alert.
- No friends in the car without a responsible adult to supervise.
It’s also important for parents to lead by example. If your teenage driver sees you breaking the rules, they might think they can get away with it, too.
Is it better for teenagers to get their own car insurance or be added to their parents’ policy?
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your decision.
Can teenagers get their own car insurance policy?
You might be thinking about getting your teenage driver their own car insurance policy, especially if they drive their own car.
This can be a good way to shield the rest of the family from expensive insurance premiums.
Unfortunately, teenagers might have trouble getting car insurance on their own because they’re underage. But if a parent co-signs, that could make it easier to separate the teen driver’s policy from the family’s policy.
Should parents add a teenage driver to the family’s car insurance policy?
If your teenager drives the family car, you might be required to add them to your auto insurance policy, as they are a potential driver in your household.
This could raise your insurance rates.
But if you have a good driving record, your experience could help reduce the rate your teen would pay if they have their own car and took out a separate insurance policy.
The catch to adding a teen driver to the family’s insurance policy is if they get a ticket or crash the car, it could raise the whole family’s rates.
5 reasons why pay-per-mile insurance makes sense for teen drivers
Teenagers drive fewer miles than any other age group.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, teenagers drive an average of 7,624 miles per year, which is about half as many miles as adults drive, except senior drivers.
The less you drive, the more you could save with Metromile.
1. You only drive to school
If you use your car to drive to school instead of riding the bus, you probably don’t spend that much time behind the wheel.
So you might as well pay for the miles you drive.
2. You’re at college, but left your car at home
If you’re away at college for most of the year, you probably don’t put too many miles on your car. Instead, you might spend more miles on public transportation, ride-sharing, or your bike.
With pay-per-mile insurance, you don’t pay for miles you don’t drive. College and student drivers can pay less than other drivers who might have to commute far distances for work or drive more regularly.
3. You drive an old car
It’s less expensive to insure a used or older car. Insurance companies provide lower rates because the vehicle might be cheaper or easier to repair than a newer model or a luxury car.
You also might not need as much coverage for an older car because cars tend to drop in value over time. You don’t want to have a deductible that costs more than how much your car is worth, for example.
4. You took a defensive driving course
In some states, Metromile offers discounts to teenagers who take defensive driving classes.
Being proactive about improving your driving can demonstrate responsibility and show your insurer you are a lower-risk driver.
5. Your car has safety features
Metromile offers discounts to drivers whose cars have certain safety and anti-theft equipment. This might include automatic seat belts, airbags, alarms, tracking devices, and vehicle recovery devices.
If your vehicle is equipped with features that make your driving safer or decreases the likelihood of an accident or other car-mishap, you could be rewarded with a lower rate.
Does your teenager only drive to school and work?
If they don’t get behind the wheel that often, find out how much you could save with a free quote from Metromile.