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Ten tips

By LAURA T. COFFEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001


How to save money on your teen's auto insurance

Adding your children to your auto insurance policy after they become licensed drivers can cause your annual premiums to skyrocket. Consider these tips to keep costs down.

1. Brace yourself. If you don't seek out discounts, be prepared to watch your auto insurance bill triple when you add your 16-year-old son to your policy and double when you add your 16-year-old daughter.

2. Shop around. Rather than simply adding your teen to your current policy, call several insurers in an effort to find the best rate.

3. Or, have them shop around. Your teenagers are likely to be stunned by the rates they're quoted.

4. Stick to your policy. Insure teenagers on your policy rather than a separate policy to receive a multicar discount.

5. Drop unnecessary coverage. Forgo collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars with low market value. Such coverage is not worth it because any claim you or your teen might make probably won't exceed the cost of the insurance and the deductible amount.

6. Say no to hot rods. You stand to save a bundle if you restrict your teen from driving the family's luxury car or any vehicle with a turbocharged engine.

7. Pursue discounts for good grades. Teens who maintain a good academic record and pass an approved drivers' education course usually can get reduced rates.

8. Seek out breaks for college students. An additional discount may come into play if your child goes to college more than 100 miles from home and doesn't bring a car along.

9. Consider postponing that license. If your teen can bear the thought of waiting until he or she turns 18 to get a license, insurance rates should be significantly lower. Rates will go down more when he or she turns 21 and 25.

10. Does your teen work? If so, have him or her cover all, or at least a portion of, the increased insurance bill.

-- Compiled by Laura T. Coffey.

Sources: Consumer Federation of America (http://www.consumerfed.org); Insurance Information Institute (http://www.iii.org); and Florida Department of Insurance (http://www.doi.state.fl.us)

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