Your little one is all grown up and ready to get behind the wheel. But those first tentative miles are a high-risk zone for fender benders, dings, and scrapes. To make sure your teen’s breakdowns don’t break the bank, you need to invest in the right insurance to cover any eventuality. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about car insurance for teens:
1. Will my premium increase when I add a teen driver to my insurance?
The risk of motor-vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19 year olds than any other age group, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That high risk translates into higher costs, and you’ll be forced to foot the bill of increased premiums. But before you send your son or daughter off shopping for their own policy, remember that in most cases, rates are cheaper for teens when they are added to their parents’ plan.
2. How can my son/daughter reduce his/her rates?
Just like you, insurers want a responsible kid. But due diligence around the house isn’t going to cut it. In many cases, your can land a discount if he or she:
- Avoids violations or accidents;
- Completes a Department of Transportation-approved driver’s education course; and
- Maintains good grades at school.
3. Is it worth investing in a car with added safety features to help bring down rates?
Whatever your age, cars that score better in crash and safety tests can help you cut down your car insurance rates. Vehicles equipped with crash protection, a large protective chassis, and enhanced safety features (such as a rear parking camera) are a hot commodity among insurers.
4. If my teen leaves for college, should I still include them as part of my policy?
Maybe. Policy requirements can vary among states and insurance companies; however, if your son or daughter returns home for extended periods of time, you will more than likely be required to list your teen as part of your policy.
5. Can my son or daughter qualify for a student discount?
It depends. Is he or she doing well at school? Insurers reward conscientious kids as they tend to be involved in fewer accidents on average. To be eligible for a student discount, most insurance companies require that the driver is under the age of 25, enrolled in college full time, and maintains a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
6. How can I encourage my teen to pick up safe driving habits?
The thought of your baby behind the wheel can be terrifying. But letting go can be easier when you feel confident you’ve armed your son or daughter with the right tools to stay safe on the road. Teach your teen to:
- Avoid using cell phones while driving;
- Maintain a safe following distance;
- Always travel the speed limit;
- Keep both hands on the wheel at all times;
- Never drink and drive; and
- Remain alert.
Always lead by example, and consider imposing restrictions until your teen has proven to be a capable and responsible driver. For instance, you could limit the number of passengers your child can carry, forbid driving after sunset, and install an app on your teen’s phone that disables certain features when it senses that it is in a moving car.