I’ve been on my parents’ car insurance policy since the day I got my license. I’m a careful driver – never had an accident – and I’ve never received a ticket. I recently made the decision to get my own car insurance policy, but every quote I receive is astronomical.
Why is car insurance so expensive for college students – even those who are good drivers?
Opening your own car insurance policy is another step towards freedom in your adult life. But it can be frustrating to find out that your monthly premiums are sky-high, especially if you’re a good driver.
Unfortunately, car insurance is just more expensive for young drivers. Why? The primary reason is that you still have an unproven driving record.
Car insurance companies partially base their premiums on the driver’s record. If you have a clean record with just a few or no accidents and no traffic violations, you’ll get a lower rate. If you’ve had multiple accidents (especially if you were at fault) or several traffic violations, then you’re going to pay a higher rate for your insurance.
I know what you’re thinking: But I haven’t had any accidents or traffic violations. That's certainly a great start, but how long have you been driving? You’ve probably only been driving for 5-6 year maximum, so your record is still largely unproven and you're still an inexperienced driver.
Lack of experience is another major reason why car insurance is so high for college students. Learning to drive takes time, effort and practice. Young and inexperienced drivers may not know how to react appropriately to certain experiences such as hydroplaning on a wet road.
Young drivers are also more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors and behave recklessly while behind the wheel.
Research shows that 11% of drivers who were under 20 years old and involved in fatal car accidents were engaged in distracted behaviors during the collision.
Scientists have also found that a lack of complete brain development in teenagers contributes to their tendency to engage in risky behavior. The brain isn’t fully developed until age 25, so this rule also applies to those who are in their early 20s.
The combination of inexperience and tendencies to engage in risky behaviors makes young drivers a greater risk to insurance companies. Young drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents because of these factors. Ultimately, higher risk leads to higher insurance premiums.
Unfortunately, there is little you can do to negate the fact that you’re still considered a young, inexperienced driver. But there is good news: generally, rates start to fall once you hit age 24-25. This is, of course, provided that you aren’t involved in multiple accidents or receive multiple traffic citations before you reach this age.
You can also look for discounts that may lower your premiums. Keep in mind that discounts aren’t always advertised by insurance companies, so you’ll need to ask your insurer what ones you may be eligible for.
But the best thing you can do as a young driver is remain vigilant and always practice safe driving behavior while behind the wheel.