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Teen drivers hike Utah car insurance 89 percent, report says

Published: Sunday, July 20 2014 9:25 p.m. MDT

Car insurance costs 89 percent more after Utah couples add a teen driver to their policy, according to a new insuranceQuotes.com report. That’s tied for the 15th-highest increase in the country.

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SALT LAKE CITY — As many families find out, adding a teenage driver to a car insurance policy can be a costly endeavor.

A new report by insuranceQuotes.com showed the average annual premium jumped 89 percent in Utah — 15th highest in the nation. The biggest culprit was the cost of covering teenage boys in the Beehive State, which pushed rates up 106 percent on average, while teen girls resulted in 72 percent increases.

Nationwide, teen boys led to 92 percent higher car insurance premiums, with teenage girls leading to 72 percent higher costs.

On the bright side, the report showed that premium increases nationally decline each year, from 96 percent for 16-year-olds down to 58 percent for 19-year-olds. The state with the highest cost to insure teenage drivers was New Hampshire, where the average premium rose by 111 percent.

New Hampshire was one of seven states where premiums more than doubled upon adding a teen driver to the family policy, the report stated. The other states with triple-digit hikes were Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

The state with the lowest increases was Hawaii — the only state that prohibits age, gender and length of driving experience from affecting car insurance costs.

The premium averages were calculated based on a married and employed 45-year-old male and 45-year-old female who each drive 12,000 miles a year with policy limits of $100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage, the report stated.

The higher premiums are attributed to data that show teens are involved in crashes far more often than more experienced drivers.

“The crash rates for teens are three times higher than for older drivers,” said Laura Adams, senior analyst for insuranceQuotes.com. “In fact, accidents on the road are the leading cause of death for teens age 16 to 19 years old.”

Statistically, young male drivers are involved in more crashes that result in more claims and more expense for insurers, she said.

“Inexperienced drivers do not judge potential danger as well as experienced drivers, so they don’t avoid situations that could be harmful as well as an older, more experienced driver,” Adams said.

Meanwhile, the cost of insuring teen drivers declined over the past 12 months. Last year, the average annual increase was 85 percent — 98 percent for boys and 73 percent for girls.

“A great strategy for lowering car insurance costs is to sign up for pay-as-you-drive car insurance,” Adams said. “These programs allow companies to track your driving habits and can lead to significant discounts, especially if you’re a safe driver who doesn’t rack up too many miles.”

Teens who excel in the classroom should also take advantage of good student discounts, she added. Adams also mentioned that parents should consider what type of vehicle they choose for their teen because some may save more money on insurance than others.

“Many of the newer cars with safety features may not be any more expensive to insure because you’re getting (more) safety discounts than perhaps an older car,” she said.

E-mail: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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