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Changes to driver’s education standards in Iowa unlikely to affect insurance rates

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 8:10 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Lawmakers in Des Moines said Senate File 546, which was signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday, would save families money.

The new law changes certain standards about driver’s education, including allowing parents to more easily serve as instructors. It also changes language in existing state law to remove or lessen requirements for classroom instruction, as well as lessen the number of hours of required behind-the-wheel driving instruction.

Advocates of the bill say families will save money from not spending money on driver’s education. Those classes can cost around $400, but most insurance companies give a discount for young drivers who complete the class. However, the discount is likely lower than the cost of the class. That’s because driver’s education discounts are around 5% and could save people around $60.

Ed Faber, who is an independent insurance agent in Cedar Rapids, said insurance rates for drivers will stay similar for people regardless of the way they learn how to drive because young drivers are still highly likely to get into car crashes.

“Really what it is, is that young drivers are four times more likely to be in an accident than a more experienced driver,” Faber said. “All insurance companies charge more for young drivers because they are high risk.”

Faber said some insurers can still give out the discount for driver’s education if a parent is teaching it.

Some parents and driving instructors expressed concerns about the bill ahead of its signing, with some local parents saying that formal instruction from a professional should be required to learn a skill that is potentially dangerous. For some instructors, who shared the parents’ concerns about safety, the new rules could put their livelihoods at risk.

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