ST. GEORGE – Rising crash tolls and insurance costs serve to remind parents and teenagers that driving is a privilege earned through responsibility, not a right.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teens age 15 to 19 in the state; an average of 40 teens are killed, 330 are hospitalized and 5,400 are injured in traffic accidents each year.
Across the nation, more than 5,000 teenage drivers are killed each year in traffic accidents. Statistics from the Utah Department of Health show traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teens age 15 to 19 in the state; an average of 40 teens are killed, 330 are hospitalized and 5,400 are injured in traffic accidents each year. In 2009, teen drivers had Utah’s highest total crash rate and highest fatal crash rate per licensed driver.
These unfortunate statistics directly impact vehicle insurance rates, as many insurance companies view drivers under age 25 as high-risk. According to a new nationwide report from Insurance Quotes.com, married couples pay an average of 84 percent more for car insurance after adding a teenage driver to their policy.
The average increase is highest for 16-year-olds (99 percent) and diminishes a bit each year thereafter. A married couple adding a 17-year-old to their policy can expect to pay 90 percent more for their car insurance, while an 18-year-old costs 82 percent more and a 19-year-old costs 65 percent more. Males cause significantly higher increases than females (96 percent versus 72 percent, on average.)
“The general rule of thumb is this: When you add a 16-year-old female, the cost on that car will be two or as much as two and a half times the premium, and a 16-year-old boy will be three or three and a half times the premium,” said Jaron Hunt, owner/agent at the Hunt-Leavitt Insurance Agency in St. George.
With an average premium increase of 115 percent, the report showed Utah has the second-highest rate jump in the country (behind only Arkansas, at 116 percent.) However, there are ways for parents to avoid sticker shock when their teen starts driving.
You’re not going to move to a new state just because car insurance is cheaper somewhere else, but there are some easy things that you can do to save money regardless of where you live.
“It’s important to remember that these are averages,” InsuranceQuotes.com Senior Insurance Analyst Laura Adams said. “Savvy consumers don’t settle for average. You’re not going to move to a new state just because car insurance is cheaper somewhere else, but there are some easy things that you can do to save money regardless of where you live.
Many insurance companies offer discounts to teenagers who participate in driver’s education courses, have an outstanding academic record, have a job or drive a fairly new car with advanced safety features. Shop around; policies vary greatly by provider and parents should thoroughly research their options to make the best decision.