Parents of teenage drivers always have a barrage of advice for keeping auto insurance rates down. Who better to ask, than those who have experienced the pain in the wallet and who have already done the research? More often than not, I hear from these parents “Insure the car, not the kid.” Although, for some, this may be the solution to keeping your rates down, insurance companies know that you have a teenage driver living under your roof. My agent actually asked me if I wanted them to add my teenager to my policy. My daughter has been living away from home for three years now and my insurance rates are still pretty high. But, she has yet to change the address on her driver license and car registration and they both have my home address on them. I’m sure that’s why my rates did not decrease back to normal when she moved out. Teenage boys’ insurance rates can be upward of $400 per month, even with nothing on their driving record. And, boys’ insurance rates have always been higher than girls’ insurance rates. Still, when I put my daughter on my insurance policy, my rates more than quadrupled! Thank goodness she was born a female and not a male. I was curious as to how much my insurance rates would have increased if she were born a son. So, I did the math. And it actually would have been cheaper to send her to Sweden and get a sex change than it would have been to put “him” on my insurance policy. And she probably would have gone along with it. She’s a pretty easy going kid.

The bottom line is, insurance is all about risk. And few understand how to assess risk better than insurers. The factors in determining your insurance rates when evaluating those risks include:
• Age (rates generally go down at 25 and increase again at 62)
• Gender
• Zip Code (inner city or rural)
• Vehicle Type (sportscar or mini van)
• Marital Status (married is cheaper but totally not worth it…trust me)
• Driving Record (accident and citation history)
• Annual Mileage
• Credit Score
• Own or Rent Your Home

So, who actually receives the cheapest auto insurance rates??
• Females
• Over 25 Years Old (but under 62)
• Married (ugh..there we go again…)
• Vehicle is Older and Less Expensive
• Clean Driving Record (no accidents or citations)
• Live in a Rural Area
• Low Annual Mileage
• Good Credit Score (ugh..there we go again…)

At the end of the day, these drivers cost the insurers less money because they are a lower risk. So, if you want to know how to lower your insurance rates, here are a few options.
• Increase Your Deductibles
• Lower Your Maximum Coverage Limits (this is “iffy” since you must have the proper legal minimums in your state)
• Take a Defensive Driving Safety Course every three years
• (If you are a student) Maintain a High GPA
• Make Sure Your Car Has The Newest Safety Features (air bag, alarm, etc.)
• Maintain a Clean Driver Record (again, taking a Defensive Driving Safety Course to dismiss a citation will help)
• Move Outside of the City Limit
• Drive Fewer Miles
• Improve Your Credit Score

Just keep in mind, though, the company with the most attractive rates may not always be the best option for you. Shopping around for better rates with these points in mind will save you money. And we all know that the money we save can be used for other important expenses, like paying off our liquor store credit card charges.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Auto Insurance Rates – Comedy Defensive Driving