It makes no difference what the activity, when you’re learning something, you make mistakes. On the football field, it makes no difference if you crash into other players. You’re all players together and no innocent members of the public are at risk. But if you apply the same approach to driving, there can be a lot of innocent victims. So insurance companies group all inexperienced drivers together. The younger the driver, the higher the premium. But, as time passes, and you build up a track record of safe driving, the rate comes down. There’s a general policy to review your safety record on a regular basis between 17 and 29. In general, all drivers under the age of 25 pay the highest rates but, assuming no accidents, the rates will slowly scale down. Single males are judged the most dangerous. The statistics show young female drivers are significantly safer.
The rates come down faster if you marry and have children. Now as the owners of vehicles likely to be carrying your family, you are assumed to have a safer approach to driving. Even if you don’t marry, you still earn a lower rate if you’re the owner of the vehicle. It’s assumed you’ll drive your own vehicle more carefully. This leads to a more general point. If parents insure their children, they pay the penalty if there are accidents or convictions. Premium rates are likely to triple or cover may be refused if underage children are caught driving while intoxicated. The same can apply if they are caught for underage drinking even while not driving. The parents are likely to face nonstandard rates or surcharges. Perhaps curiously, DWI/DUI convictions can also affect other home-based policies like those covering a jetboat or snowmobile. These higher rates will stay in place until the child leaves the home and will no longer be a driver of the family cars. This makes it better to encourage younger drivers to take out a policy in their own names. The sooner they learn the cause and effect of financial responsibility the better.
Remember that, in many states, there’s an open records law and many convictions by young people are not considered confidential. The states will disclose anything relevant to an insurance company on request. So whether the application for insurance is made by the parents or the children, the fact of convictions is likely already known. If you find it difficult to find coverage, many states also operate a program to support high-risk drivers. If you are being refused, apply to the local office of the Insurance Commissioner and you’ll be assigned to a local insurer. Because this is a “forced” insurance, the insurer will usually charge a top rate but some cover is better than no cover. If you manage to go several years without a claim, you should shop around. Get online auto insurance quotes from as many different insurers as possible. As soon as you start receiving quotes and the rates are falling to more reasonable levels, your rehabilitation is complete and you can apply for regular cover. As with all services where there’s competition, auto insurance for younger drivers is available at lower premium rates if you look around and talk to as many agents as possible.