Even though more teens are putting off getting their driver’s license and delaying hopping behind the steering wheel, they’ll start driving at some point. And that means that your new teenage driver will need auto insurance.
Here’s a six-point checklist for insuring that new driver (teenager or not):
Create a Budget
First things first. Determine how much you can spend (read: would like to spend) on your new driver. In this overall budget estimate, include annual costs for insurance, another family car — if that’s part of the plan — and auto maintenance.
An item to note: Simply adding a single teen driver to an existing policy can cause the premium to increase, on average, by almost $700.
Though parents can initially show reluctance to adding their teenager to an existing policy, it is often cheaper than excluding them from your policy and creating a new policy on a child’s car.
However, in certain circumstances it can make sense to exclude a teenage driver from your own car. Say you own a luxury or classic vehicle. By adding an endorsement of a “named exclusion” to your existing policy, you agree the new driver is not covered and will not drive the car under any circumstances.
As a result, any accident caused by that driver in that vehicle wouldn’t be covered. If your teenage driver has a friend named Ferris Bueller, you have much to consider.
Finally, if you happen to have a shared custody arrangement of your child, auto coverage approaches vary by insurance carrier. You will need to reach out to your insurance company to determine who will need to cover the new driver. In some cases, it is both parents.
Adding a New(ish) Car? Choose Wisely
If you already own a few cars, you could add your teenage driver to the cheapest one to insure, allowing them to drive only it. Then, you would exclude them from the other vehicles.
Still need your teen’s car? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shares a list of cars recommended for teenagers. The list criteria factors in affordability and safety, including:
- Vehicle crash safety ratings
- Safety features, such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control (ESC)
- The weight of the vehicle — the list favors bigger, heavier vehicles, which crash data indicates to be safer
- The car’s horsepower — the list prefers lower horsepower vehicles that may not tempt teenagers to test the car’s limits
Furthermore, the vehicles with better safety ratings also will typically have lower auto insurance losses. Thus, rates could be lower.
Ask About Possible Discounts
Those safety features can lead to lower insurance rates and discounts. Other features, such as anti-theft devices, could help too.
Is your new teenage driver a good student? There are potentially a couple of different ways to save here.
First, if your child maintains a good grade point average, many car insurance companies offer a good student discount. Second, consider a driver’s education course. Your insurer may offer a discount if your teen completes a driving school. Note: When selecting a school, make sure they’re credentialed and well-established.
Finally, bundling multiple insurance policies, such as your homeowners with your auto, also could save you money.
Undistracted Driving: There’s an App For That?
Insurance companies and technology developers alike are creating devices that can monitor and influence different aspects of your child’s driving. The features recently introduced to the market are varied and address everything from notifying you when the vehicle is speeding or being driven aggressively to providing real-time feedback to the driver.
Furthermore, mobile device manufacturers and app developers have introduced technology options that can help minimize distracted driving (e.g. using the phone for text messaging).
Master The Level of Involvement
The best way to keep your claims down and protect your loved ones? Even after they obtain their full license, stay involved as a driving coach.
First, it could help prevent the leading cause of death for teens. Second, same as adults, the better their driving record, the more likely you can effectively manage costs.
And, as your child ages and heads off to college, pay attention to key factors that may save you money. If your child attends college away from home and doesn’t have a car on campus, you could receive a discount because of their limited vehicle use.