Washington teens driving on their instruction permits with a licensed adult supervising them do not need to have their own auto insurance policies. Once they start driving on their own, however, teens need auto insurance, so you will want to explore options to keep these costs reasonable.
Most families add teens to their existing auto insurance policy. You could also use this as a time to comparison shop to find the best insurance option for the whole family and your vehicles.
Saving Money on Car Insurance
Because the risk of a crash is significantly higher for young drivers, particularly during the first year of driving, your teen’s insurance rate likely will be higher than your own. Here are a few strategies to help you reduce insurance costs both now and once you add your teen driver.
- Raise deductibles to lower premiums. Ask your auto insurance representative how much you could save by increasing your deductible. If you file a claim after raising your deductible, you’ll pay a larger share of the costs.
- Investigate discounts. Many insurers offer discounts for students with a “B” or higher grade average and for teens who complete driver education or defensive driving courses.
- Share vehicles. How you classify your new driver—as the main or an occasional driver of one vehicle, for example, will affect auto insurance premiums, so consider sharing vehicles.
- Just say “no” to sports cars and SUVs. TThe kind of car your teen drives can impact safety. Many experts agree that mid-sized sedans are the best choice for teens. Small cars don’t offer as much protection in crashes, sporty cars may encourage speeding or recklessness, and SUVs and pick-up trucks are more difficult to maneuver and more likely to have roll-over crashes.
- Practice, practice, practice. Now is the time to drive a lot with your teen under varied conditions so there will be fewer surprises (and potential crashes) when you’re no longer in the vehicle.
- Be involved. Research shows that teens with more involved parents get fewer tickets and engage in less risky driving. Avoiding tickets and crashes will help keep your insurance rates down. A parent-teen driving agreement can help you set rules and stay involved.
Car Insurance Requirements in Washington
All Washington drivers are required to have auto insurance at the minimum levels of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage (25/50/10). Auto insurance companies in Washington determine rates based on factors such as your driving record, how long you’ve been a licensed driver, how much you drive, where you live and what you drive.