It’s no secret that if you have a teen driver in the family, you can expect a hefty increase in your auto insurance rates – in most states, at least.
Nationwide, parents who add a teenage driver to their insurance policy can expect their premium to increase by a whopping 80 percent, according to a recent Quadrant Information Services study.
That is, unless you live in the Aloha State, where the average increase is only 17 percent, according to the study.
“The parents in Hawaii took the least hit,” says Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute.
Hawaii law makes teen car insurance cheap
Hawaii’s strict anti-discrimination law prohibits insurers from basing premiums on factors including, age, sex, race, ethnicity, driving experience or marital status.
Along with California and Massachusetts, “Hawaii is also one of three states that doesn’t allow insurers to use credit-based insurance scores,” Barry says.
The state takes the anti-discrimination law seriously. In 2002, seven of the state’s largest insurance companies agreed to pay fines totaling $115,000 and remove illegal criteria that had been used to set premiums.
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“Hawaii has a clear law that prohibits auto insurers from using discriminatory criteria when determining the premiums motorists are charged,” then-Insurance Commissioner Wayne Metcalf said at the time. “Insurers cannot base any part of a person’s premium on account of their race, creed, ethnic extraction, age, sex, length of driving experience, credit bureau rating, marital status or physical handicap.”
While Hawaiian insurance regulations benefit residents of the state, they don’t necessarily bode change for parents in other parts of the United States.
“State legislatures and state insurance departments have influence over what insurers operate, the policies available and rating criteria,” Barry says.
Unless lawmakers push for big changes in insurance regulations, anti-discrimination laws aren’t likely to decrease premiums for teen drivers in other states.
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“The insurer has to price the policy to reflect the risk,” Barry says. Factors other than age, lack of driving experience and sex may also play into higher premium increases.
“(In other states), they may well be seeing more frequent and more severe claims that in Hawaii,” Barry says.
Teen drivers seen ashigh risk for insurance
Many insurers set premiums higher for teens because they represent a greater liability than adult drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, accounting for one-third of all deaths for 16-19-year-olds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In fact, a 2013 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study showed that per mile driven, teenage drivers are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers age 20 or older.
Not only do young drivers statistically cause more traffic crashes than older drivers, but male drivers also cause more accidents than female, Barry says, meaning that parents of teen boys could pay even steeper premiums.
Other factors that put young drivers at risk:
- Among male drivers ages 15 to 20 who were involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 35 percent were speeding and 25 percent had been drinking
- Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use than other age groups
There are ways to help cut costs for teen drivers. Some insurers offer discounts for teen drivers who complete driver’s education or defensive driving courses, or for students who maintain a “B” average or higher.