Most parents dread the idea of sending their teenagers out onto the road, driving by themselves for the first time. And this is understandable for many good reasons, including the many hazards associated with driving, especially for inexperienced teen drivers.
And so, to help alleviate the worries, it is essential to put a lot of thoughts into the type of vehicle that you buy or let your teenager drive. But the idea of finding the right car for your teen to drive may seem overwhelming because there are so many factors to consider. Here is why:
Teen drivers have a higher rate of automobile accidents because of their lack of experience in driving, as previously stated. So you have to consider purchasing a car that is equipped with the best safety features, has some form of tracking, and is not too expensive or flashy for a teenager to drive.
There is also the notion of purchasing car insurance. Nissan Altima insurance rates may be cheaper than the Honda you like, but the safety features may vary between the two. These parallels can make choosing a car for your teenager even more daunting.
With a safe car, parents can have some peace of mind. And to that effect and more, this post will provide guidance to walk you through picking an ideal vehicle for your teenager.
Consider Road Rules for Teenagers
The rules of the road are always changing, and as a parent to a teenage driver, keeping up with them can help since you will have an inexperienced driver on the road.
Staying up to date with the rules of the road can prevent incidents from happening because your teenager will be aware of the risks of driving recklessly or driving against the law.
Even attending instructional classes regularly to learn more about vehicles, insurance, and discounts associated with safe driving could help encourage you all to stay current on current road laws.
As a parent, you know that driving at night can be challenging at times, especially for those who have astigmatism or need prescription glasses. It takes a skilled driver to navigate through the darkness while keeping an eye out for any potential dangers.
This is why most states have graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems that prevent teenagers from driving past a certain time at night.
As a parent, you may drive in the dark effortlessly, but an unskilled driver like your teen may not be able to do so. Another rule associated with GDL laws is the teen’s inability to drive in a car with a certain number of passengers.
Based on yearly data, teenagers have a greater chance of having an accident when they are driving with other teens or a group of people. This mostly occurs because more people equals a greater level of distraction.
Even if your state does not have GDLs, implementing the rules that specific law enforces can help protect your teen. Here is a list of cars with teenage monitoring devices that can help you enforce the GDL laws in your absence:
a) 2018 Hyundai Sonata: This car has an automatic crash notification, smartphone-enabled remote unlocking, the ability to alert you if the driver is going too fast or driving past curfew time, and a “Geo-Fence” that allows you to set certain geographic boundaries.
b) 018 Chevrolet Bolt: You can set limits to the speed and audio volume, and the car mutes the audio completely if the front-seat passenger does not have their seatbelt on. You can receive a report card that shows how far they have driven the car, how fast it went, and what high-tech safety measures had to be used to help the driver.
c) 2018 Kia Stinger: This car alerts you if your teen tries driving beyond the pre-set speed limits, if it is driven past set geographical limits, or if your teen tries driving it after a designated curfew.
d) 2019 Volkswagen Jetta: You can set speed and boundary limits and receive alerts to your phone if the car goes past those limits. It has safety technologies like a forward-collision warning with automatic braking, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keeping help.
Why You Need to Worry About Insurance Rates
The extra cost to add a teenager to your insurance policy can range anywhere between a 130 percent to 160 percent increase to your auto insurance policy. With the price increase to your auto insurance after adding a teenager, you can end up paying an additional $2,000 a year in premiums for auto coverage.
The type of vehicle you buy for your teenager can help decrease your insurance rate surge since the safe care discounts applied to your policy can help. Aside from discounts applied, there are other factors such as the following:
a) Gender of the driver
b) Student’s achievements
c) The number of policies you have with the provider
d) The age of your vehicle
e) The type of vehicle your teenager drivers
f) The number of people on your policy
g) Tickets and accidents
Teenage Boys and Insurance Rates
Insurance providers consider male drivers of any age as being riskier drivers than females. You can note this fluctuation in rates between the genders from various statistics and research provided online.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that provided insight on how the death rate amongst male teen drivers was twice as high as female teenage drivers.
The CDC did not detail specifically why male drivers’ death rates are twice as high as female teen drivers, but the difference is concerning no matter the reason. Though, they explained other risk factors that put teens at a higher risk:
Being an inexperienced driver, driving at night and during the weekend, driving while distracted or intoxicated, not wearing a seatbelt, and speeding while driving were factors that contributed to a higher death rate amongst teenage drivers than adult drivers.
All the factors mentioned above are the reasons why insurance providers give a significantly higher rate to teenage drivers. Teenagers’ sense of responsibility is not as strong as an experienced adult driver, and this makes them a liability. So to protect their financial interest, insurers add on more money when a parent adds a teen to their policy.
However, despite this increase being inevitable for teenage drivers, insurance providers are willing to offer discounts if they take efforts to diminish the factors that make a teenager a liability.
The vehicle you drive can directly affect those factors, which is why there are various features all vehicles must adopt soon.
Insurance Discounts Offered for Cars With Safety Features
When you are applying for auto insurance with a certain insurance provider, you may notice that they may ask questions about certain safety features that are installed on your car. The reason for this is that many insurers offer discounts to people who have those features.
The reason for this is that safety technology like automatic braking and a blind-spot monitor prevents accidents from happening. Lack of accidents keeps insurance providers from having to make payments out for various claims.
Insurance companies would rather give you discounts than not have you as a customer, since you are less likely to be a liability. The benefits associated with having safety features in your car have led to it being a trending auto feature. So you are more likely to find newer cars with better features that can help prevent accidents.
If your car has any safety features, you should be sure to discuss them with your insurance representative when adding your teenage driver to your policy. Being that drivers under the age of 25 are given higher insurance rates, these added discounts can decrease your monthly premium.
Safety Features Grow With Your Teen
Even when your child grows old enough to buy their own insurance, they may still be driving the car you purchased for them as a teen. So the safety features on their car will positively impact them in the future.
However, when it comes to your teen transitioning into an adult, it is vital to first evaluate their behavior before they attempt to purchase a policy on their own or buy a car that is not safe for an inexperienced driver.
Of course, their financial stability is crucial to the decision you make to remove them from your policy. Still, their behavior is equally important because a car with even the best safety features does not solely stop reckless driving.
What to Consider When Buying a Teen’s Car
Even when you are purchasing a used car for your teenage driver, all the factors mentioned above should be considered. With the exception of a higher insurance rate, once your teen hits the road, buying a used car could actually save you money. However, regardless of whether the car is used or new, there is the need to weigh the factors when buying a car.
Overall, all teens need safety features that allow you, the parent, to monitor them while they are on the road, without you, because they are inexperienced drivers. And so, there are various factors to consider, and these factors may differ since all teenagers are different.
As mentioned earlier, insurance providers are willing to offer decent discount rates to policyholders who make an effort to minimize the liability. Here are ways that certain features in a car can minimize the risk factor associated with teenage drivers:
a) Electronic stability control (ESC): This control function uses automatic braking of each wheel to avoid the car from spinning or plowing out while being operated. Overall, ESC is intended to improve the stability of a car by identifying and minimizing the loss of traction, preventing the car from skidding across the road.
An experienced driver would know how to maneuver the car properly to avoid skidding or to regain control over their vehicle when it is spinning out of control. A new, inexperienced driver like a teenager may panic, causing them to crash if they are put in that type of situation.
Electronic stability control helps new drivers keep control of their car when the ground is slippery and can prevent them from skidding.
b) Vehicle size: Driving a larger vehicle requires a certain level of skill for maneuvering the car, but a bigger vehicle provides better crash protection than a smaller and lighter one. With the amount of space in bigger cars, passengers are less likely to be severely injured in frontal crashes.
Also, heavier cars are more inclined to keep treading forward in crashes, limiting the amount of force pushed against the passengers.
Since teenagers are more prone to car accidents, having them operate an automobile that is wider, longer, and heavier can be a lifesaving preventative measure. It can also lead to potential insurance discounts, since paying for injuries or death is more of a financial burden for insurance providers.
c) Crash test performance: Crash test programs provide car crash results that reveal how safe or unsafe a vehicle is. This type of test is a form of destructive testing performed in a controlled environment to ensure an automobile’s design meets certain standards.
When a car is given one-star in a crash test rating, it means there is at least a 40 percent risk of being less safe. A five-star rating equates to around a 10 percent risk of being less safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives this rate after multiple tests have been completed, calculated, and tallied into an overall rating.
Insurance providers ask for the year, make, and model of the car you are insuring not only to identify the insurable car but to gauge the safety risk of that specific automobile. Aside from what insurers think of how safe a car is, putting your teen in a safe vehicle will provide you some peace of mind as a parent.
d) Cars that are too fast: Even without being a teenage driver, insurance providers tend to charge higher rates to those who drive sports cars because the consequences associated with distracted driving while speeding is way too high. So that, plus the already high rates of being a teen driver, makes the rates jump through the roof.
Beyond the concerns of speed, sports cars, and other fast cars that are popular are usually more expensive to maintain. With how often teens get into car accidents or at least cause minor damage, parents and insurance providers may end up spending a sizable chunk of money toward maintenance and repairs.
e) Durability against rough driving: Similar to how NHTSA tests for crash ratings, some car manufacturers test for rough road ratings. Some cars can withstand tougher roads, while other cars may scrape, get a blown tire, or swerve more on roads that are not as smooth.
This test may only be necessary for those who live in rural areas or busy cities with many potholes, but it is worth the consideration if your teen will operate their car regularly on hard roads. This rating reveals how vehicles endure extreme conditions over a short time frame.
Rough driving tests ultimately rate a car’s braking system, size, and ability to maneuver through rough roads. Depending on where you reside, an automobile’s ability to get to point B from point A without being damaged on a bumpy terrain can be a significant factor for insurance companies.
f) The brand of a car: American-brand cars are more affordable when you consider the cost of maintenance and repairs. Parts for foreign car brands may be expensive to purchase, ship over, or both.
That being said, you may have to pay more out of pocket if your teen’s foreign vehicle is severely damaged because your insurer may cap on how much they will cover for repairs.
Also, finding people who are specialized in fixing American brand cars can be simpler than searching for mechanics who are equipped to repair a foreign car. This leaves you very little room to bargain or find a mechanic that offers the lowest price.
With the availability of American parts online, a driven parent with a basic understanding of automobiles can even make minor repairs at home by following a thorough tutorial video online. By doing this, they do not have to always inform their insurance provider of certain repairs.
g) Other safety features: Airbags, anti-lock brakes, adaptive headlights, and traction control are some of the most important safety features for cars. When you are shopping for a new car, safety should always be your priority. And as previously stated, it could make your insurance rates more affordable too.
Knowing what safety features you need depends on your location, the size of the car, and the climate common in that specific area. When you have a general idea of the safety features to look for and understand how they work, you are more likely to choose the right car for your teenager’s needs.
Performing a simple search online to see what safety features are best for the terrain surrounding you will give you a more accurate guide to follow when searching for the safest car for your teen.
Once you purchase your vehicle with specific safety features for your new driver, be sure to note them to your insurance representative. They can inform you of any discounts available for the features equipped in the car. The representative can also provide you with information on any other discounts available to teenagers.
And lastly, as a rule of thumb, the appearance and age of the vehicle are not a comparison when considering the availability of safety features in the car. They may be what your teen considers, but their life and safety are what is most important.Tags: Auto Insurance teen drivers Teen driving teenage drivers Teenage driving Teenagers