If you just got your license, you're probably pretty excited about getting behind the wheel. Before you take off, you should understand what expenses you're responsible for, now that you're a driver.
If you don't have your own car, your parents might expect you to pay for gas, insurance, parking and some maintenance and repairs. As a teen, you'll find car insurance particularly expensive, since younger drivers are statistically more likely to get in a collision. To help you find the most cost-effective policy, we've compiled five car insurance tips for teen drivers.
Take a Driver's Education Course
What does a drivers education course have to do with your car insurance? Well, most providers will offer you a discount on your premium if you've successfully completed a government-approved course. Since you'll be learning safe driving habits and defensive driving techniques - and logging at least 10 hours of in-car practice with a licensed teacher - your insurance provider assumes that you'll be a better driver and less likely to get in an accident. If you have your G1, you'll also be eligible to take your road test four months earlier, making you that much closer to becoming a fully-licenced driver.
Ask your Insurance Provider about Discounts
In addition to a discount for completing a drivers education course, insurance providers have many other discounts that can help lower your rate. For example, some insurers will offer a discount to teens with good grades - an extra incentive to study! Other discounts include a lower rate for installing winter tires when the temperature drops, paying your premium in one lump sum (rather than monthly installments), and agreeing to a higher deductible if you make a claim.
Consider a Usage-Based Insurance Plan
Some insurers offer usage-based insurance plans, which track and report your driving behaviour in return for a lower premium. You'll likely receive only a small discount to your coverage upfront, but if the data that your insurer collects about your habits - such as acceleration, speeding and braking - demonstrates that you're a good driver, you could qualify for up a discount of up to 30 percent when it's time for renewal. These types of plans are a good options for young drivers who generally pay more for car insurance. Statistics for your age group might suggest that you'll be a riskier driver, but you can prove that wrong with data that supports your safe habits.
Understand How your Driving Record Determines your Rates
Even if you're not tracking your behaviour with a usage-based insurance plan, your actions behind the wheel will affect your coverage. Even one speeding ticket could increase your premium, and a few could more than double your rate. And while traffic tickets and demerit points will stay on your driving record for two years, they'll affect your insurance rate for three. It's not just a higher premium you have to worry about; serious offences like driving under the influence or committing insurance fraud could void your policy and make it difficult to secure traditional coverage in the future.
Shop Around for Coverage
The best way to secure a good price for your car insurance is to shop around. There are many websites that allow you to compare quotes between insurers, helping you find the best available price. Just remember, the cheapest option might not be the best option. In addition to comparing the overall price of coverage, you'll also want to compare liability limits, the amount of coverage offered, the price of deductibles, and bonuses like roadside assistance or disappearing deductibles.