Preparing your teenager for car insurance

Published: September 14, 2015

Updated: May 15, 2018

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It is almost inevitable that one day you will be putting the name of your teenager on your car insurance policy as an added driver. This will mean more cost on your premium, but is still so much more affordable than getting your teenage driver an insurance policy on their own.

Considering teenage drivers are subject to the highest premiums in Ontario, it is the wise thing to put them on your insurance coverage, especially if you have acquired years of experience and a good record. However, while you will certainly get a better deal than having two separate policies (one for you and one for your teen) you should forget about getting a real good bargain.

The truth is, even by adding your teen as a driver on your policy you are likely to increase your own premium by between 50 per cent and 100 per cent. That’s right, your pesky teenager muscling in on your coverage could lead to you actually paying double the amount you do right now. Scary stuff right?

The problem is, teenagers are statistically more likely to get into an accident and are also the demographic (16 to 24 years of age) that causes the most fatal or injury causing accidents, with 24% of all such problems coming from teenage drivers who account for just 13% of drivers in Ontario. So, whether your teen is an angel or not is irrelevant, insurers are basing evaluations on statistics and those numbers show that they assume more risk when insuring a teen.

You may have a stellar insurance record and over the years and have whittled your premium down to something that even you think is reasonable. That of course helps, but your insurer will still base the new policy on what risk the teenager brings, which is why your own premium could soar.

It’s not all bad news though as there are certainly some things you can do to try and get those premiums down as low as possible.

Pre-driving action: Before your teenager has even learned to drive you should encourage them to attend driving courses and programs, dealing in both the theoretical and practical sides of driving a vehicle. While this is unlikely to make your premiums lower directly, these courses will help your teen be a better and safer driver, meaning they will be on the right footing to reducing premiums in the future.

Remember, even when your child is learning they will need to be insured on a learner’s permit if they operate your vehicle in any capacity.

Hold off on the license: This is much easier said than done, but if you can make your teenager wait a year or two after coming of driving age it may help reduce premiums. The driving age in Ontario is 16 years old provided the driver has had a permit for one year, but if you can encourage your teen to wait until they are 18 then they will be on a non-probationary license and insurers may respond with more affordable coverage.

Promote safe driving: Of course, talking a teenager chomping at the proverbial bit to drive later in life is no easy task. If that is not possible you should promote good driving in your teen, make him/her drive prudently and safely at all times, if they enter the non-probationary period at 18 years old with a clean two year record then they will likely have a lower premium.