Texas doesn't have any laws saying that 17-year-old drivers cannot purchase their own insurance policies. However, individual insurance carriers may choose not to insure young drivers, and those who accept teen drivers usually charge high rates. Teens must have insurance prior to driving; some teens may have to settle for being on their parents' insurance until they are older or have more driving history.
Teen Car Insurance in Texas
Teens in Texas can get their own car insurance if a particular company is willing to insure teen drivers. In some cases, an insurance company themselves might ask a parent or legal guardian to sign paperwork for the teen to obtain a policy.
Furthermore, Texas laws require that a proof of financial responsibility be signed by anyone looking for insurance. In some cases, a 17 year old cannot afford the high rates of car insurance and a guardian must sign assuming financial responsibility if the teen can't make payment.
Roughly 500,000 car accidents are attributed to teen drivers in the U.S. alone every year according to Kelley Blue Book. As a result of the statistics surrounding teen driver accidents, insurance companies view them as high risk and, therefore, charge very high rates to them.
Adding Onto Parents' Insurance
If your parents add your name to their insurance, it may not be much cheaper, as your parents' insurance company may significantly raise their rates once they add a teen driver. However, it may be more difficult for you to get your own insurance than to allow your parents to add you because you do not yet have any driving history. If you will be driving your parents' vehicle rather than your own, consider adding onto their insurance so that they don't end up with two policies on the same vehicle.
Discounts for Teen Drivers
Teen drivers can help lower the cost of their insurance by making good grades. Many insurance companies offer a discount if the teen gets all B's or higher on his report card. You can also get a discount for taking driver's education or defensive driving courses.
If your parents purchase a vehicle for you, getting a less expensive car will also help lower your insurance costs. If you only plan to drive occasionally, your parents can also list you as an occasional driver on their policy, which saves a few dollars.
A new app allows insurance companies to track and record driving habits. If a teen agrees to get the app on their phone and maintains safe driving habits, this can also lower the insurance costs. A telematics app is something to consider.
Deductible Influence on Cost
You can save money on your car insurance by opting for a higher deductible. If you are on your parents' policy, they must make this change to their policy; they cannot raise the deductible only for you rather than for everyone on the policy. Having a higher deductible lowers your insurance rate, but can be risky, as the deductible is the amount of money you or your parents must pay out of pocket before insurance begins covering damages in the event of an accident.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.