Friday, 25 February 2011

cars insurance for teen

Anyone who is a teen driver or the parent of a teen driver knows that the car insurance rate for such a motorist is substantially higher than the average. There are valid reasons for this: first of all, teenage drivers (particularly males) tend to be more reckless and engage in risky behaviors when behind the wheel. Secondly, teen drivers are often distracted, either by cell phones and text messaging or a car full of rowdy friends.

The result: teens are invariably assigned to the high risk auto insurance pool.

There is little that can be done about the first part of the above equation; testosterone-fueled risk-taking is part of nature, a relic from a time when such inclinations were useful in protecting the tribe from saber-toothed tigers and facing down enraged woolly mammoths and rhinos in order to secure meat. However, there are legislative remedies for the last two issues, and while enforcing laws against cell phone usage and texting while driving is difficult, the instituting of graduated driving privileges has gone a long way toward addressing road and highway safety when it comes to teenagers.

About Graduated Privileges

Time was that all a teenager had to do in order to get a license to drive was to complete an approved driver’s ed program (which thirty years ago was offered free of charge through public schools, believe it or not) and pass the driving and written tests offered by the state. After this, the teen driver’s license was no different than that held by an adult.

No longer.

Michigan is one of several states that in recent years have introduced “graduated driving privileges” for teens. What this means is that a newly-licensed teenager is severely restricted as to when and how s/he may operate a motor vehicle on public streets and highways until s/he demonstrates appropriate skills and judgment. These laws vary from one state to another, but typically, a 16-year-old who has just obtained his/her first license may not carry passengers other than a responsible adult and may only drive at certain times to specific destinations (i.e., to and from school and/or work between 6 AM and 11 PM).

What Has Changed

Michigan has had graduated licensing requirements on the books for a while. Recently however, state lawmakers have tightened those requirements; the teen curfew has been moved from midnight to 10 PM, and teen drivers may no longer carry non-family passengers under the age of 21, except when traveling to school or academic functions. Amazingly, a provision that would have restricted cell phone use by those sixteen years of age was stripped out of the bill before the state legislature could vote on it (though a law against text messaging while driving remains).

While the new law may not necessarily result in greater availability of cheap car insurance for young drivers, it may help in reining in rate increases by preventing crashes and reducing claims. In the meantime, teens who focus on academic excellence may qualify for lower premiums with good student car insurance discounts.


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