Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

Our 17-year-old will be driving his car to school this year, but the insurance seems pretty high. Are there some tips to finding a lower cost? Also, he'll have a part-time job. I think he should help to pay for his gas. His dad doesn't care. What do you think?

Our daughter's uncle gave her an older car, which we thought was great. But when we went to get insurance on it, it was high even though she had never gotten a speeding ticket or had any accidents on her record. Our agent explained that for an older car, they have to consider that it may need more than normal maintenance including higher-priced parts and that makes the insurance rate go up. We traded it in for a newer car and the price went down quite a bit. - Tony G. in San Antonio, TX

FROM JODIE:

There's no doubt about it, adding a teen driver onto the family auto policy will definitely increase your monthly payment. And if it is a new car, depending on if it is considered a sports car, the rate is always higher. However, some insurance companies will give a discount to teenagers that have taken extra safety classes on driving. These can sometimes be offered from their school, aside from the normal Driver's Education classes. Otherwise, your insurance company might be able to point you in the right direction, or perhaps researching it online may give you a few ideas. Also, insurance companies will sometimes give a break in price to students who have maintained at least a B average in school. Ask your agent about these possibilities. Finally, although you're most likely loyal to your current agent, it might be wise to compare insurance rates from various companies. As far as having him pay for his gas, that's absolutely a yes. In fact, having him pay for or contribute to the insurance is certainly reasonable, as well as helping out with the monthly payment of the car, if there is one. This will teach him responsibility and respect for not only his car but also for his driving. As long as his grades are where they need to be, maybe he can ask for a few more hours at work to help with the cost of the car.

CAN YOU HELP?

Our daughter will be a senior in high school this year with the possibility of graduating six months early. We have been looking into colleges but need financial assistance. Some of these deals look too good to be true. How is the best way to weed out the offers that may be potential scams?

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