Nothing is more harrowing for a parent than the first time you get in the car with your brand-new teenage driver. Our advice is to start in the very biggest parking lot you can find, bring plenty of tissues to wipe those sweaty palms, and try your best to stay calm. Oh, and you might just want to skip that second cup of caffeine—your heart will be racing enough on its own! At least insuring your teenage driver can help relieve some stress.
The sad fact is that teens are notorious for their poor driving records. According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 16- and 17-year old drivers are nearly ten times are likely to be involved in a crash than adults and six times more likely to be involved in a fatality than adults. The numbers are frightening, and parents have every right to worry. Insuring your teenage driver is important.
The road to getting your teen driver licensed is not only stressful but can be expensive too. Because teen accidents and infraction rates are so high, the rates for insuring them are also high. Be prepared for a sharp increase in your insurance rates as you add new teen drivers to your policy.
Your job as a parent is both to help educate your new driver, and to protect your family’s assets in the event of an accident involving your teen. Aside from putting the time in working side-by-side with your teen to teach them the rules of the road, here are some additional tips to follow when insuring them:
- Don’t skimp on coverage. Remember that ultimately, your teen’s fate is tied to your own. While it is tempting to opt for the minimum coverage required, be sure that your policy has liability, comprehensive and collision coverage that is adequate to protect the assets of your entire family.
- Choose a reasonable car. Don’t be swayed into buying—or letting your teen use—a particularly fast or sporty car when first starting out. Check out safety ratings for cars you are considering and choose something that doesn’t invite speeding because of its turbocharged performance.
- Explore discount options. Your teen may qualify for insurance discounts for things like good academic grades, defensive driving training and “away” time if they are at college and seldom driving the car. Buying a car loaded with safety features may also qualify for discounts, so your best bet is to check with your insurance provider.
- Go it together. Unless your teen driver already has a horrible safety record, it’s best to keep your teen driver on your own policy for the lowest costs overall. If your child has multiple speeding tickets or accidents, you may need to consider a separate policy to avoid jacking up rates for the entire family.
- Consider an app. Some insurance companies offer apps for tracking your teen driver and providing greater safety. For example, apps may send you speeding alerts, disable texting while driving and provide verbal feedback to the driver. Check with your provider for additional details.