How Driving Experience Affects Your Insurance Rates

Are you or your kid just starting to drive? New and inexperienced drivers will most likely have higher auto insurance rates. Read more about about why and what you can do.
Father teaching teenager how to drive

Insurance providers consider your driver experience when they’re determining your rates. How long you’ve been driving helps companies figure out how risky you are when you get behind the wheel. People who’ve been driving for fewer years are generally more likely to make mistakes and get into accidents. Once you’ve been on the road a few years, insurers are likely to lower their rates.

Your insurance rates won’t be the same as everyone else. Providers use a wide variety of factors to determine your premium These factors are usually small details about you that help insurers assess your risk as a customer and driver.

Examples of common rate factors include:

This article will look at how your driving experience plays into determining your premium. We’ll teach you about the different types of driver skill levels. Not all new drivers are necessarily young. You’ll also learn about the degree of skill insurers want before they lower your rates. Finally, we’ll answer some frequent questions about how this affects your rates.

Who Are Inexperienced Drivers?

When you hear the term “inexperienced driver,” you may think of teenage or young drivers. Young drivers are a significant part of this category. But other types of people also fall into this driver group.

Below is a list of the different types of new drivers:

Teenage or Young Drivers

Teen drivers generally have been on the road less than older motorists. Teenagers may see higher rates due to their age. According to TeenDriverSource, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 get into about four times more crashes than those who are 20 or older. This means that young drivers tend to file more claims than older, more mature drivers do.

Teen drivers may also find it harder to get insurance altogether. Their age and lack of time behind the wheel highlight a high risk for providers. Parents will usually need to add teens to their policy to ensure that they can get the coverage they need to drive.

While teens will likely see expensive premiums, there are still ways to lower your costs. Families of teen drivers can take advantage of the good student and student away discount. They may also be able to take driver’s education courses to see lower costs.

Late-Bloomer Adults

Inexperienced drivers don’t have to be young. Many adults get their driver’s license later in life. New drivers pay higher rates. This is because you have no track record for insurance companies to look at. No matter the age, you’re still a risk to insurers because of this uncertainty. Even if you’re 50 years old, this situation can apply to you.

You should also consider that drivers who exceed the age of 65 may see higher rates. This can mean you may see more expensive premiums if you’re just starting to drive at an older age. On the other hand, older drivers may commute less and generally make smarter decisions, per the Insurance Information Institute (III).

How Much Experience Do Insurers Prefer?

It’s no secret that driving experience can impact your rates. But exactly how much do insurance companies prefer? You’re generally not going to see an exact number from them. But there are ways to estimate when your rates will lower.

Here are a couple of situations where you may have enough experience for your rates to drop:

You’ve Maintained a Clean Record

Maintaining a clean driving record for about three to five years can indicate to your insurer that you aren’t a risk of getting into accidents. Ultimately, showing a clean driving history is the best way to lower your rates. This could also help you get a safe driver discount. Be sure to speak with your agent about how to qualify.

Another worthy goal is qualifying for accident forgiveness. While this is definitely something to look forward to, most insurers require three to five years of driving without causing a crash before you can qualify.

You’ve Reached a Certain Age

For young or teenage drivers, reaching a certain age can mean you have enough experience for your rates to go down. Generally, rates decrease steadily between the ages of 20 and 25. If you got your license as a teenager, you’ll have had it long enough to show an acceptable track record.

Insurers can be a little slow at recognizing your achievements and lowering your rates. Some companies reward drivers that reach milestones better than others. Consider shopping around and comparing quotes if you think you should pay less for your coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will adding an inexperienced driver to my policy affect my rates?

Adding an inexperienced driver to your policy can affect your rates. This is because they carry a higher risk of getting into accidents and filing claims. For example, adding your teen to your policy can raise your rates because of their age. Keep in mind that this works both ways. Adding a driver who has a clean record and many years behind the wheel can lower your premium.

Your best bet is to switch to a company that offers better rates and coverage for new drivers. Every insurer is a little different. So, if you’re unhappy with your current provider, things aren’t going to improve when you add a new driver. Changing to a different company may be the best course of action.

How long do accidents stay on your driving record?

Accidents factor into your driving history because they’re an indication of how risky a driver you are. They stay on your driving record for three to five years. The exact length depends on your state’s laws.

How long do claims affect your rates?

Auto insurance claims affect your premium for about three to five years, depending on your provider. The reason is that they remain on your record for this time. Your insurer can still access claim history beyond this period, but, in most cases, they won’t factor them into your rates. Some providers will consider claims from up to ten years ago, but this is a rare situation.

Why do new drivers pay so much for coverage?

New drivers pay more for coverage because they’re at a higher risk of getting into accidents and costing insurers money. Providers raise rates to match the risk each driver may pose. The idea is that the more experience a driver has, the less likely they will make mistakes.

High rates are a harsh reality that new and young drivers alike must endure for several years. Until your track record and history becomes established, your premiums will be costly. But good driving habits pay off in the long run because insurers always reward safe drivers.


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