Graduated Driver's License and Car Insurance

For most parents, the thought of putting a teen behind the wheel leaves them plain anxious. Before handing over the keys, learn about how you can reduce the additional cost to your car insurance and help keep your teen safe by enforcing elements of the Graduated Driver's License Program.

What is the Graduated Driver's License Program?

Due to a lack of experience, 16-year-olds have the highest crash rates of all drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Graduated Driver's Licensing aims to reduce the chance of an accident by giving your teen time to develop driving skills before facing stressful situations.

While programs vary by state, they are based three stages of licensing. First, your teenager studies road rules and receives 50 hours of supervised driving time. Next, the driver's test is passed and your teenager receives an "intermediate" license that restricts driving in certain situations. Finally, the intermediate license is exchanged for a license with full privileges.

What are the Restrictions?

Standard restrictions prevent your teen from driving after 9:00 p.m., and limit the number of teenaged passengers to one. Some states have added seatbelt provisions, cell phone restrictions, and violation penalties including license suspension.

The nighttime driving and passenger restrictions are based on research that indicates almost half of teen deaths occur after 9:00 p.m., and the chance of an accident increases up to three times when there are other teenagers in the car, according to the IIHS.

The good news is these situations can be avoided. Studies show that nighttime driving restrictions alone reduce accidents by 40 to 60 percent.

How Can I Save Money on My Car Insurance?

By adding your teenager to your own policy instead of purchasing a separate one, you ensure that your teen receives discounts you've accumulated, such as credits for having continuous insurance and multiple cars on the policy.

If your teen has a B average or better and has taken a driver's training course, your insurance company may offer a good student and safe driver discount worth up to 25 percent combined. Should your teen move to a school more than 100 miles away from home without a car, most companies will provide a discount for that, too.

When selecting the car your teen will drive, keep in mind that SUVs and high-performance sports cars increase the likelihood of rollovers or dangerous behavior, such as speeding. Your insurance rates will reflect this. The insurance company may allow you to rate your teenager on the oldest insured car to keep costs down, and you may wish to consider increasing the deductibles on that car for additional savings.

When you are at the stage when you need to add a teenage driver to your car insurance policy, you should take the time to compare car insurance quotes at InsWeb.com, where we help you find the right car insurance policy for the best price.