Why Is Car Insurance So High for Teens & Young Adults?

by Julie Davoren
After you get your licenses, you need to research insurance rates.

One of the most exciting events in a young person’s life is getting her driver’s license. However, once you start driving, you also need to get auto insurance. People between16 and 25 are likely to pay higher insurance rates than other age groups. In some states, such as Utah and Arkansas, premium rates might be over 100 percent higher, according to CBS News' MoneyWatch website.

Propensity for Accidents

Male drivers under the age of 25 pay higher insurance premiums than any other age group, according to Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. That’s because drivers in that age group are more likely to involved in car accidents. These accidents often result in the worst damages that consequently are more expensive to repair. They also often result in serious injuries and fatalities. A sobering fact is that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people, according to the Centers for Decease Control and Prevention.

Inexperience and Drinking

Young people typically start drinking right about the time they start driving. This means you’re combining inexperience with the possibility of driving under the influence of alcohol, factors that increase insurance premiums. As an inexperienced driver, you might not spot the dangers lurking on the roadways, and the situation worsens if you’re drunk. You might have difficulty adjusting speed while driving on busy roads, and the many things vying for your attention might contribute to mishaps. While drinking and driving is dangerous for all age groups, young people have a lower tolerance for alcohol, which impairs driving judgment and impacts them at relatively lower levels in the blood. In 2011, young people between 21 and 24 took the top spot for the most fatal accidents involving drivers who had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit.

Passengers and Night Driving

As a teen driver, you might take more chances if your friends are in your car. This is often the case for male drivers. You might enjoy driving fast and might not leave enough distance between your car and other vehicles on the road. Also, although accidents involving teenagers and young adults usually occur during the daytime, there are more accidents per miles during the night. This could be because you’re sleep-deprived and tired. Using electronic devices such as music systems, radios and phones might also be distracting and increase the chances of accidents.

Mastering the Rules

Despite being aware of the rules on the road and knowing that following them is essential for safety, it might take time for you to master these rules. Further, you might not be well equipped to deal with emergencies, which is necessary when making quick decisions to avoid mishaps. For example, you might panic and have difficulties controlling the car if it skids. It also takes time for you to develop critical driving skills, such as remembering to check behind you before changing lanes and checking for traffic at intersections and before turning. Other issues that come with experience include responding to traffic lights and adjusting speed according road conditions.

Lowering Insurance Rates

Though insurance companies charge higher premiums for teenagers and young adults, they might offer discounts if you participate in a graduated driver licensure program. This is because GDL laws require formal training and driving under the guidance of an experienced driver for a fixed period. Further, if you get good grades and drive a car that has safety features such as automatic seat belts or airbags, your insurance premiums might be lower. Companies also take into consideration the number of times you have committed traffic violations and received tickets. Also, if you’re married and own the car you drive, or you’re the main driver, insurance companies might offer lower premiums if you’re a safe driver.

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