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First a wreck, and now a teenage driver. Help!

By Des Toups Posted : 08/01/2014

parent in car with teenagerMy husband had a wreck and our insurance went up $650 a year and my daughter is turning 16 in two weeks, so the question is, what do I need to do to reduce the insurance cost? Should we shop around? Help please!!!!!

Ouch. We sympathize. There are several things you can do to save money, but you are certainly going to be paying more than you have been.

You asked about shopping around, and I want to illustrate why this should be your first step -- or anyone’s. The insurance company that offers you the best price now may not be when you have claims or add a driver or move to another state.

For example, we priced coverage for a married couple through Insurance.com’s insurance quotes comparison tool: Both 40, living in Oakland, California, driving a financed 2012 Chevrolet Cruze with full coverage and a paid-for 2005 Acura TSX with liability only.

  • When both drivers had clean records, the cheapest coverage came through Carrier 1 at $1,452 a year.
  • Adding a $5,000 accident claim, Carrier 2 was the least expensive at $1,584 a year.
  • Adding a new teenage driver on top of that, Carrier 1 was cheapest again, at $2,714 a year.
  • While Carrier 3 was never the cheapest, it did offer the biggest Good Student discount: $324 a year.
  • Lastly, putting the teen behind the wheel of a car covered with comprehensive and collision turned things upside down. Carrier 4, which wasn’t the cheapest in any previous scenario, is by far the least expensive at – gulp -- $3,822 a year.

Comparison-shopping five car insurance scenarios







Carrier 1






Carrier 2






Carrier 3






Carrier 4






A: Married couple only, no accidents or tickets.B: Married couple only, $5,000 accident claim.C. Couple plus 16-year-old female driver, listed as occasional driver on both cars.D. Couple plus teen with Good Student discount.E. Couple plus teen, adding comprehensive and collision to older car.

The difference between the most and least expensive quotes – and sometimes between the cheapest and next-cheapest – can run into the hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Shopping is clearly your best bet. But after that, I’d suggest:

  • Delay licensing your teenager.
  • Assign your teenage driver to the least expensive car, especially if you have one that is not covered for physical damage by comprehensive and collision. Teens hit things, and insurers know it.
  • Make sure your child keeps her grades up. A Good Student discount can be worth several hundred dollars a year.
  • A defensive driving course for your husband. It didn’t affect all the quotes we saw, but it lowered two by about $100 a year. The discount could be bigger in your state or at the companies you talk to.
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