- 1 How Does A Teen GPS Tracker Work?
- 1.1 How Much Does It Cost To Add A Teenager To Car Insurance?
- 1.2 Teenage Car Insurance Average Cost
- 1.3 5 Tips To Lower Teen Car Insurance
- 1.4 What Is A Car Insurance Monitoring Device?
- 1.5 Positive Facts About Teenage Driving
How Does A Teen GPS Tracker Work?
For parents of teenagers, safety is often a reason to lay awake at night. Courtesy still-developing brains and the desire to impress peers, teens don’t always make the smartest choices—and sometimes that affects their driving—as well as the choices they make when they have access to a vehicle and everything included with that freedom.
Fortunately, there are ways that parents can keep an eye on their teen driver, such as a GPS tracker designed specifically for tracking teen driving habits. Teen driver GPS tracker devices might include geofences, for instance, that set off alarms when your teen driver goes somewhere outside their accepted boundaries.
But how does it work? The global positioning system (GPS) network is comprised of 31 satellites, all synchronized on atomic clock time so that they can determine precisely the location of a GPS tracker device using triangulation. Most of these GPS tracker devices are now accurate within 5 meters (16 feet) or less, offering data in real-time so parents can keep an eye on their children.
Sometimes that means using an app designed to work with the GPS tracker. Other times it might mean logging into a third-party site. In either case, teen driving can be monitored remotely by parents interested in their children’s driving habits. And more than just location data, GPS tracker programs can monitor driving speeds, acceleration and braking, and more—all of which can help your teen driver become a safer driver in time. Many programs can even offer text notifications according to preset specifications, so parents can immediately know if their child is somewhere they aren’t supposed to be or skipping school, for instance.
Just as important to many parents, using a GPS tracker for your teen driver may actually help cut down on insurance costs—which, as we’ll see shortly, can be quite substantial.
How Much Does It Cost To Add A Teenager To Car Insurance?
The short answer? More than you wish it would. While data varies (some sites say anywhere between 44 and 62 percent increases are common; others say it may run you much more), the truth is you can expect to pay a pretty penny anytime you’re adding a teen driver to your car insurance policy. Of course, as we’ll see shortly, adding a teen driver to your policy is far cheaper than taking out a separate policy for your teen driver.
For instance, one site claims that if you are getting insurance for your teen driver, you can expect an average of $621 per year in car insurance increases if you add your teen driver to your policy—as compared to $2,267 for a separate policy for your teen driver. (These numbers come from averages of all types of coverages and liabilities.)
Those numbers are scary—but still on the low end of things when looking at the data available. For instance, carinsurance.com notes that for a 16-year-old teen driver on their own car insurance policy with minimum coverage might pay $2,593 annually, $2,957 for 50/100/50 liability, or as much as $6,930 for full coverage.
Those are drastically higher costs than you might incur putting your teen driver on your car insurance policy, so if you want to reduce car insurance costs for your teen driver, that’s the best place to start: Put your teen driver on your policy, rather than on their own policy. Yes, your costs will go up—but they’ll go up by less than they would.
Teenage Car Insurance Average Cost
Those average costs for teen driver car insurance we noted above? We can break them down into greater detail, as well as better examine ways you might be able to help reduce your car insurance costs when welcoming a teen driver to your family.
Let’s start by breaking down those average insurance costs for a teen driver, particularly new—age 16—drivers.
Whereas adding a 16-year-old girl to a parents’ policy might cost $1,165 for a state minimum policy, $1,337 for a 50/100/50 policy, and as much as $3,036 for a full coverage policy, those numbers pale compared to a separate teen driver car insurance policy: Those costs balloon to $2,453, $2,811, and $6,479, respectively.
It’s even worse if your new teen driver is a 16-year-old boy. Male teen drivers are far more likely to engage in risky driving behavior and are far more likely to be injured or killed in an automobile accident than any other demographic—and their insurance rates reflect that risk.
Adding a 16-year-old boy to a parents’ policy might cost $1,279 for a state minimum policy, $1,471 for a 50/100/50 policy, and as much as $3,369 for a full coverage policy. Again, though, those costs balloon when looking at a separate teen driver car insurance policy: $2,773, $3,139, and $7,381, respectively.
As noted previously, the best way to reduce car insurance costs for your teen driver is to put them on your policy. While still expensive, it will cost you far less than putting them on their own car insurance policy. Alternatively, you can also consider the following tips if you want to reduce car insurance costs.
5 Tips To Lower Teen Car Insurance
Of course, adding your teen driver to your car insurance policy is only one way to reduce car insurance costs. Consider these other strategies as well, each of which can help you get a lower rate.
- Ask around and compare rates. Competition is a good thing, and when looking at ways to save, comparing rates is a great place to start. Get quotes—and don’t be afraid to tell insurance agents that you are comparing rates. Sometimes they can offer a rate that is better than what they originally quote you.
- Sign up for discount programs if you are eligible. Some insurers offer discounts for good grades, often referred to as good student discounts. Others might offer distant driver discounts for college students, for instance, which is another way to reduce car insurance costs. Other discount programs might also be available; when getting quotes, it never hurts to ask what programs are available to reduce car insurance costs.
- Have your teen drive an older car. Newer cars are more expensive to insure than older cars, so one of the best ways you can reduce car insurance costs is to have them drive an older vehicle.
- Put your teen driver on your car insurance policy, rather than taking out a separate policy just for them. As noted previously, this can save you thousands of dollars each year—quite possibly the biggest way in which to reduce car insurance costs.
- Consider usage-based car insurance or other programs that reward good driving habits. Many of these programs enlist a GPS tracker to monitor your teen driver and their teen driving habits. Your car insurance rates can then change based on how they drive; better drivers can help reduce car insurance costs. We’ll look a little more closely at how some of these programs work in the next section.
What Is A Car Insurance Monitoring Device?
More and more car insurance companies offer features that bill based on driving tendencies, or at the very least, offer discounts based on safe driving habits. This means hooking up a teen GPS tracker in your vehicle, allowing a car insurance company access to how you—or your teen driver—drives. Many times, the program lasts for 30-90 days, after which time a rate is set, but other car insurance programs such as usage-based car insurance may be permanent. If this can reduce car insurance costs, however, it may be worth investigating.
Either way, car insurance companies look for very specific things whether looking at your driving habits or your dependent’s teen driving habits. In particular, insurers look at things like daily mileages, time of day or night at which you drive (which can in and of itself be a risk factor), how often you rapidly accelerate or brake hard, or more.
These programs, which are also sometimes referred to as snapshot or usage-based car insurance programs, have been around for quite some time, every since Progressive first introduced one in 1998. Quite a few car insurance companies now offer similar programs, though each is a bit different, so be sure to ask questions about how any program you consider might work.
For instance, while most make use of a GPS tracker that plugs into the car’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, a few make use of a cell phone app, such as Allstate’s Drivewise program. A few other programs may make use of the car’s own OnStar program, though obviously this only works for newer vehicles equipped with OnStar. While the car insurance companies obviously don’t disclose the formulas they use to determine rates for these programs, in general, you can assume that you’ll get better rates with better driving, both for yourself and for any teen driving in your family.
Similarly, most of these programs allow you to opt-in or opt-out as you see fit, so you can leave the program if you aren’t seeing savings. (That said, be sure to ask questions before joining the program so you know exactly what your options are.)
All of that said, let’s look at the top 5 teenage driving monitoring apps.
Best Teen Tracking Apps:
- TrueMotion Family Safe Driving. Not only is TrueMotion’s app free (always a nice perk), but it’s built especially with families in mind, offering both ease of use and comprehensive monitoring. It allows for geofencing, which is always a nice touch when setting boundaries for acceptable teen driving behavior, and even allows you set speed restrictions and curfews—if any of those limits are broken, you get push notifications. It also offers real-time tracking, so you always know where your teen driver is, and it grades your child’s teen driving habits on a 100 point scale, so they can see how they are improving as a driver as well. It does, however, require your child to have GPS capability enabled on their phone and it tracks the entire family at all times, which may constitute an invasion of privacy that not everyone likes. It’s available for both Android and iOS.
- DriveSmart. Like TrueMotion, DriveSmart’s GPS tracker and teen driving monitoring app is also free. It offers more personalization than TrueMotion, however, and is aimed more at the teen than the parents, offering them opportunities to improve their scores in categories where they lag, such as braking, for instance. It’s up the individual teen driver to determine when to start the app, however, which makes it easier for teens to disengage when they don’t want their driving monitored. The reminder to drivers to buckle their seatbelts and the monthly driving challenges are both nice touches, however. It’s available for both Android and iOS phones.
- Drivesafe.ly Pro. While one of the most expensive options, it is also one of the best teen driver GPS tracker app options, especially as it offers hands-free messaging capabilities built right into the app. Yes, it’s expensive, and that’s one of the biggest drawbacks: options range from $4 per month (for an individual) to $35 per year (for a family plan). That said, the app notes when a vehicle is in motion and automatically puts the phone in hands-free mode, reading text messages and emails in real-time while also offering the option of driver responses. It does take some practice to get the hang of, however, and there are some studies that suggest that hands-free mobile device use can be just as dangerous as drivers are still distracted. The app is available for Android phones only.
- Toyota Safe & Sound. Toyota’s app isn’t limited to only Toyota vehicles, of course, as it works with the teen driver’s phone to help them become a safer driver. Like Drivesafe.ly Pro’s app, it automatically puts the phone in do not disturb mode when the vehicle is in motion, and it works with preset options to build in negative consequences for poor driver behaviors like speeding or attempting to text while driving: The phone automatically plays a playlist determined in advance to work as a deterrent. That said, taking over a playlist isn’t always all that effective, even if it is a nice try at something different.
- AT&T DriveMode. Like Toyota’s app, AT&T’s app isn’t limited to customers; anyone can use it, regardless of whether or not AT&T is their provider. Like some of the other apps here, it automatically turns on safety features when the car is moving 15 MPH or faster, including muting text messages and auto-replying with a form response. Additionally, parents get notifications if the app is turned off. That said, it isn’t clear how the app tells who the driver is, for instance, meaning other phones in the vehicle can likewise be affected, and the app doesn’t have the best reviews. It is available for both Android and iOS.
There are lots of other apps, too, of course, and it may well prove that the best fit for you and your teen driver isn’t on this list, especially if you’re looking especially for an app that might help reduce car insurance costs while also changing teen driving habits; in that case, for instance, an app made by your car insurance company might prove to be a better fit.
Positive Facts About Teenage Driving
Finally, let’s remember that not all of the changes that come with adding a teen driver to your family are bad. Yes, your car insurance prices will go up; that happens anytime you add additional drivers to a plan, and so it only makes sense that policies would especially get more expensive when you are adding a driver from what is generally considered the riskiest driver pool, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19. Teen drivers are, however, generally safer now than they have been in previous years, with fewer fatalities and accidents reported each year as a general trend.
Additionally, check out the following 10 positive facts about teenage driving.
Top 10 Positive Facts About Teenage Driving
- Seat belt use among teen drivers has been increasing for decades, from only 74 percent 15 years ago to almost 95 percent today.
- Another encouraging trend: Whereas 15 years ago nearly 40 percent of teenagers surveyed said they had either ridden with someone who had been drinking or knew of peers who had driven after drinking, that number is much closer to 20 percent now.
- Younger drivers have faster reflexes. While this sometimes lends itself to riskier driver behavior, this also means that teen drivers can also make for better drivers, as they may be more quickly able to respond to negative driver behavior by other drivers, or may be better equipped to avoid potential accidents than older drivers.
- Similarly, younger drivers are better able to respond to changing traffic laws or traffic patterns. Roundabouts, for instance, are far more common now than they were ten or twenty years ago; teen drivers are far less likely to have trouble with roundabouts than older drivers.
- Teen drivers also have better memories than older drivers, meaning they are less likely to forget street names or directions. This can be especially important for navigating complex directions, for instance.
- Younger drivers pay more for insurance because of their risk profile, but that also means they help drive down car insurance costs for everyone else.
- That also means that if you are in an accident and the other vehicle is driven by a teen driver, it is far more likely that the car insurance company will cover the cost of damages, as teen drivers are often required to have better insurance because of their risk profile.
- Learning how to drive can also help teens develop a sense of independence and autonomy that is important, especially as they prepare to go off to college or otherwise begin living their lives as autonomous people and no longer children under their parents’ supervision. (Yes, this can be hard for parents to hear…but it’s also part of watching their children grow up.)
- Having a teen driver in the family can also sometimes help free up parents for other tasks. Being able to ask a teen driver to run an errand or take their younger brother or sister to a school activity or sports practice, for instance, can be a huge help for busy families.
- Giving your teen driver a chance to drive can also help give you a bonding experience, as you can commiserate over just how many bad drivers there are out there!
Regardless of what choices you make—for yourself, your teen driver, and your car insurance options—know there is lots of good information out there. GPS trackers might be an answer for some families, just as they might not be for other families. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine what is the best course of action for you and your car insurance needs. Know, though, that being educated about your options can help you negotiate and reduce car insurance prices for you and your teen driver!