Conventional wisdom in the 20th century held that teenage boys were much more aggressive, riskier drivers than their female counterparts.
When it comes to being a teenager and auto insurance rates, the relationship is inversely proportional. Assuming you maintain a clean driving record, the more you age, the less you will pay for auto insurance. But there are other factors – besides growing old – that can help reduce your rates.
Not surprisingly, a clean driving record is of utmost importance to keeping your auto insurance rates down. Technically speaking, a clean driving record is an individual’s spotless driving history with no accidents or traffic tickets at all.
From an insurance company’s perspective, that definition would be stretched to include no claims to recoup auto insurance money, either. So everything from DUIs to minor moving violations will cost you points on your driver’s license and dollars in your wallet.
According to State Farm spokesperson Dick Luedke, auto insurance rates lessen each year because general statistics bear out that 19-year-olds file fewer claims than an 18-year-old, who file fewer claims than 17-year-olds, and so on.
If you are a married male under 29, and a married female under 24, you also qualify for additional discounts.
“Our data shows the claims cost is less for married males who are 29 or younger than it is for single males who are 29 or younger,” says Luedke. “Once males are over 29, there is not a significant difference in claims costs for those who are married and those who are not. The same applies to females 24 and younger.”
While your credit score alone is not a factor, your credit-based insurance score – an estimate based on certain credit factors and claims history – is used by companies to estimate the likelihood of an auto insurance claim.
Other than making sure your tires are full of air and the mechanics of your vehicle are operating properly, there aren’t additional safety measures that you can add to your vehicle. But auto insurance companies do employ a make-and-model rating system, which Luedke says is, “designed to measure the effectiveness of safety devices that are installed by the manufacturer of the car.”
Finally, staying on the straight and narrow in the classroom helps. Some auto insurance companies offer “Good Student Discount” as high as 25 percent off of the four major insurance coverage sections to students who maintain a “B” average or higher.
But recent statistics in the 21st century are turning that notion on its head, and in the process, revealing that girls are gaining ground on boys when it comes to bad driving habits – and an increase in auto insurance premiums.
While an Insurance Information Institute (III) study delivered the sobering – though unsurprising – news that “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds,” the study also discovered something more alarming.
The III study noted that an Allstate Foundation report released in March 2010 found that risky behaviors such as speeding, aggression and texting among teens is trending upwards for girls and remaining stable or trending downwards for boys …If true, that might explain the uptick in teenage female auto insurance rates over the past 25 years.
If true, that might explain the uptick in teenage female auto insurance rates over the past 25 years.
According to State Farm spokesman Dick Luedke, male teens paid 60 percent more than females for auto insurance coverage in 1985. Today, that gap has shrunk to just 35 percent.
“We certainly attribute it, in part, to the fact that females simply drive more miles today than they did 25 years ago,” Luedke says, “At least a part of it is simply more mileage. It has been pretty steady, fairly consistent evolution over the last 25 years.”
He stopped short of predicting if the trend would continue, or if it had reached its apex.
Culturally speaking, there shouldn’t be a drastically higher percentage of teenage girl drivers on the roads over the next few decades. But teenage drivers are, by their very nature, immature and inexperienced when it comes to both life and driving. That will never change, which is why researchers and policymakers are always looking for ways to mitigate the inherent dangers of inexperienced driving – in essence, trying to protect teens from themselves.
The result is that every state but North Dakota now has adopted some form of a graduated drivers license (GDL) system. While this legislation varies by state, the laws generally limit the number of teen passengers per vehicle driven, the amount of nighttime driving, and any general distractions that might lead to a teenager (male or female) from becoming involved in a car accident.
Jeanne M. Salvatore, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Insurance Information Institute, says that so far, the new system has been successful.
“The laws have helped to reduce accidents because it’s a way of gradually increasing driving privileges,” says Salvatore. “You earn more of them [driving privileges] as you prove that you are a safe driver.”
In addition, Luedke cited studies that have shown that graduated driving laws – though they vary in type and severity from state to state – have been effective thus far. “All of [these laws],” Luedke says, “produce fewer accidents because [they] help teens make the evolution from being a non-driver to a driver. It’s just a more gradual immersion into that dangerous activity.”