Know the facts about accidents. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 33 percent of deaths among people between the ages of 16 and 20 resulted from auto accidents. Although this is a grim statistic, it is a good incentive to enforce the idea that teen driving is a privilege.
Set and enforce rules. Although parents cannot control the cost of insuring a teen driver, they can control how well a teen respects the privilege of driving. It is important to set some rules for teens to follow before they get behind the wheel. The following are some examples of rule topics:
- When the teen is allowed to drive or when driving is prohibited.
- How many friends are allowed in the vehicle at one time.
- The number of miles allowed per week.
- In a big city, the areas of the city to avoid.
When teens are new drivers, limit their passenger allowance to one person. Distracted driving is a major cause of auto accidents for teens. Consider drafting a contract for the teen to sign. If the teen breaks the rules, he or she loses driving privileges for a specific amount of time. Also, parents should consider installing an app that disables or limits a teen's mobile phone capabilities while the vehicle is running.
Compare costs of adding a driver or buying a vehicle. While not all parents want to buy a vehicle for a teen driver, it may be cheaper on a long-term basis. Adding a teen driver to a policy can be very costly. In some cases, it may be easier and less expensive to buy an economy car, put the teen on that policy and choose liability coverage. Always consider options before paying a large sum to add a teen driver.
Provide detailed information for a quote. To receive an accurate insurance quote, be sure to provide complete information. The year, make and model of vehicle will affect the premium. For parents who plan to purchase a car for a teen, it is good to research economical vehicles that cost less to insure.
Ask about discounts. Some insurance companies offer different discounts. However, not all companies offer the same type of discounts or the same terms. Some companies offer discounts for taking a driver's education course, honor roll credentials, multiple cars on a policy, additional bundled insurance products and certain vehicle safety features.
Look for coverage modifications. This should be a last resort for parents who decide not to buy their teen an older economical vehicle and are facing the cost of adding the teen to their own policy. Those who have high coverage limits may lower them, and increasing the deductible will lower the premium. Parents should not skimp on coverage. Keep in mind that a state's minimum coverage requirements will not always cover the cost of hospital care for other drivers and passengers if the teen is responsible for an accident. For example, a coverage limit of $50,000 for bodily injury with a maximum of $25,000 per person will not be enough if four passengers are injured with bills exceeding $25,000 each for extended hospital stays. The key idea to remember is to revise coverage wisely and only if it is absolutely necessary.
Update insurance information as needed. If a teen driver is added to a policy or has a separate policy for his or her own vehicle, it is important to keep the insurance company informed. Tell the insurer about any grade or education changes that may affect premiums. Also, update age information when the teen turns 18.
With these simple tips, parents can make this confusing process easier and avoid some costly mistakes. To learn more about teen drivers and auto insurance, discuss concerns with a HALO Insurance agent, 314-351-HALO (4256).