Tag Archives: teen drivers

teendriver3

A good way of looking at your teenager receiving their driver’s license is less chauffeuring you’ll need to do. There can be little doubt that your eager new driver will be happy to take the family sedan out on whatever errand you need them to run. Plus, they will say, you don’t have to be bothered with dropping them off or picking them up. Great news for you, right? Of course, the cost for all this freedom – besides extra trips to the gas station – is an adjustment on your auto insurance policy.

Nearly all insurance companies require that all members of your household that are licensed drivers be added to your auto policy. If you have several vehicles, you can add drivers to individual vehicles, ideally those that are the least expensive to insure. You can also exclude drivers, but that means they are specifically not covered for anything that happens while driving your vehicle. This could also be cause for cancellation should something occur.

As far as your teen drivers go, you’ll want to let your insurance professional know when he or she gets their learner’s permit. They won’t necessarily need to be listed on your policy until they are fully licensed. If you do not have primary custody of your teen, you may not need to add them as a household driver. You should check with your insurance professional to be sure.

Another option is for your teen driver to have their own vehicle. Just bear in mind that premiums for teen drivers are high as it is. Insuring a separate vehicle may cost more than adding the vehicle (and driver) to your policy. Also check to see what sort of discounts (good student, driver’s education, etc.) there may be available.

There are systems available for monitoring driving behaviors — speeding, seat belt usage, hard braking and cornering – that can send you a notification if your teen does something he or she is not supposed to do. Technology is available that blocks cell phone calls and text messages when a vehicle is in motion. Installation of any of these systems could mean a premium reduction.

There is no substitution for discussing this new policy need, as well as any others, with your insurance professional. They are an excellent resource for all things insurance-related and can help you to find the coverages you need at a price you can afford.

teen driver 1There are very few sentences that strike fear into the hearts of parents while bringing total joy to teenagers than “I got my driver’s license!” Another is “can I get a car?” Well, the first sentence is pretty much inevitable, and the pain of the second can be lessened by a little research done by the good people at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

“It’s easier than ever to find a used vehicle with must-have safety features and decent crash test performance without spending a fortune,” says Anne McCartt, the Institute’s senior vice president for research.

When it comes to crash test ratings, vehicles on the “best choices” list have good ratings in the Institute’s longstanding moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Vehicles on the “good choices” list have good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, good or acceptable ratings in the side test and a better-than-poor rating for head restraints.

If rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicles on either list must earn 4 or 5 stars overall or 4 or 5 stars in the front and side tests under the old rating scheme.

The recommendations on teen vehicle choice are guided by four main principles:

– Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower. Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits.

– Bigger, heavier vehicles protect better in a crash. There are no minicars or small cars on the recommended list. Small SUVs are included because their weight is similar to that of a midsize car.

– Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a must. This feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, reduces risk on a level comparable to safety belts.

– Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, acceptable ratings in the IIHS side crash test and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

Remember to ask your insurance professional about adding any new driver living in your household, whether they have their own vehicle or not. Also, even if you are paying cash for a new or use car, that vehicle needs to carry at least the state minimum liability coverage.

 

To check the IIHS recommendations, visit www.iihs.org.