Statistics have shown that your child’s teenage years are the most expensive time to secure car insurance for them. Teenagers are (justifiably) the highest-risk demographic when it comes to traffic violations, accidents, and other factors that insurance companies look at when assessing risk. Fortunately, there are some ways you can bring those premiums down a little.

Have them added to your insurance policy.

Insuring a high school or college student is already expensive enough — but it’s even more so when they’re paying for their own policy, A lot of insurance companies will allow younger drivers to stay on (or be added to) their parents’ plan, as long as the parents’ address is considered their permanent residence. The premium will go up for there being an additional driver on the policy, but your overall costs may still be lower.

Maintain a clean driving record.

This is true for everyone, but it can be especially valuable when it comes to bringing your teenager’s insurance premiums down: the longer your driving record is free of traffic violations, accidents, and other incidents requiring a claim, the lower the premiums will get. Keeping a clean driving record means their premiums will drop even more once they’re past their teenage years.

Focus on grades.

There are any number of reasons to encourage your child to get good grades, but this might be one of the few times it could save you a lot of cash. Many insurance companies will offer a student discount (high school or college) to students earning a B average or higher in their studies.

Drive less.

The math checks out — less time on the road means less risk of a claim. That’s why many insurance companies offer what’s called a “low mileage discount” for drivers who aren’t on the road very much. This could be ideal for college students who live in a highly walkable university environment, or high school students who take the bus most of the time. Of course, not every insurance company might offer this kind of discount, and that’s why you’ll want to…

Shop around for a better rate.

This is another one of those money-saving moves that’s applicable to all kinds of situation and insurance. Loyalty to one company is great, but when it comes to saving money, you might want to get a little more mercenary. You may be able to find a much better rate elsewhere for identical or even superior coverage. This used to be a major hassle involving a lot of phone calls; now, there are plenty of online tools to help you compare insurance quotes.

Take a defensive driving course.

This option may take a bit more of an effort than some of the others listed here, but could have the most potential payoff. Taking a defensive driving course or other training program will show insurance companies that you’re not only familiar with the rules of the road and know how to best avoid common incidents — it will also show you’re committed to doing better behind the wheel. Driver education courses are common for most teen drivers, but a defensive driving course can lead to significant discounts and perhaps even points off your license. It might be a demanding task to balance this with schoolwork, but it will be worth it in the end.

Get an older or safer vehicle.

Here is another smart financial move that can save money for a lot of drivers — not just your teenager. Many drivers remember the first “beater” car they received as a gift or worked hard to earn when they were young. While some of those older cars can be a bit of a hassle to maintain, getting one for your teen could be one of the smartest moves to make when it comes to insurance. Simply put, older cars are less expensive to insure because they’re just worth less — which is less potential financial cost to the insurer in case of a claim.

You could also go for a more modern vehicle with superior safety features, such as telemetry devices, backup cameras, anti-theft devices, and so on. This will also reduce your risk when it comes to theft or accident — just for different reasons. When assessing risk, insurers will look at the car’s ability to help avoid accidents, as well as how it performs and resists damage in case of accidents.

Ask about other discounts.

As the saying goes, it never hurts to ask! These might not be the only discounts your teen could be eligible for. It pays (literally) to ask your insurance company what else they might offer and how you might meet the criteria for more or better discounts. And if not — you can always go back to comparing quotes from their competitors.

Infographic created by Capital Auto Auction, an auto auction company

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