It’s hard to believe the time has come, but your teenager is learning to drive.
You’ve heard the statistics: Teenage drivers are most likely to have an accident during their first year of driving, and the risk of motor vehicle accidents is higher among 16-19-year-olds than any other group.
But here’s one thing you can do to ease your mind: Make sure your teen driver is properly insured.
You may be wondering whether your teenager needs their own auto insurance policy or if they can be added to yours.
In this blog post, we outline your options.
Generally, a separate car insurance policy for a teen driver can be expensive, because they have a greater tendency to drive distracted, speed, tailgate and not wear a seat belt. By adding them to your policy, they benefit from the savings and rate you've earned as a longtime driver with an established credit history.
Since you already own the policy, you can easily add and update coverages to make sure your teen driver has the right protection.
If your household has multiple vehicles, your teenager will be insured to drive all of them.
An added bonus is that you’ll only have to manage one policy.
It’s important to note that if you drive a luxury vehicle or an expensive sports car and your teen isn't going to drive it, it may be cheaper for them to have a separate policy.
Each state has its own law and regulations. At the time of this article being written, below are the rules for Maine and New Hampshire.
Those 18 and under are subject to Maine's graduated license. For the first 270 days they are prohibited from:
Driving between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Driving while using a mobile telephone.
Carrying passengers other than immediate family members or a foreign exchange student living with the family unless accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 20 years of age, has held a valid driver's license for two years, and is sitting beside the driver.
In addition to any other restrictions, the holder of a Youth Operator License who is under 18 years of age:
Shall not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.
Shall not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger less than 25 years of age who is not a member of the driver's family unless accompanied by a licensed, responsible adult who is at least 25 years of age during the first six (6) months holding the license.
Shall not operate a motor vehicle with more passengers than seat belts or safety restraints in the vehicle.
Here are some additional “insider tips” as you prepare for your teen to drive.
As soon as your teen is ready to get their learner’s permit, contact us. If your child gets into an accident, insurance may cover it but could charge a higher premium retroactively if you did not notify us that your child was driving. In rare cases, your coverage may be revoked.
Check to see if your teen’s driving school is approved by your insurance company. There may be a discount for passing approved courses. There may also be a “good student” discount for teenagers who are excelling at school.
In addition to an auto insurance policy, consider purchasing a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy (PLUP). This policy will protect you against litigation if your child accidentally injures someone or damages property. Even though your auto policy may have substantial limits, it is common for juries to award damages that far exceed these limits.
Finally, have a conversation with your teen driver about the dangers of distracted driving. There are even some new technologies that can disable texting and social media on cell phones while the car is in motion. Furthermore, coach your teenage driver on how to remain aware while driving, avoid distractions and assess potential risks while operating their vehicle.
Explain to your teen driver the importance of keeping a clean driving record. The more traffic infractions and at-fault accidents they have, the more points they accumulate and it’s more likely their auto insurance rates will increase, too.
Even after your teen receives a driver’s license, you may want to periodically be a passenger in the car to continue to help coach their driving behaviors and remind them how to best prevent accidents.
We know this new stage may be nerve-wracking, but we are here to help. Reach out to Chalmers today! We will talk you through the insurance process and provide you with options to keep your teen, and others, safe and protected. Call 1-800-360-3000.
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