Charleston parents, listen up! When you are raising a teen who has finally received their driver’s license, you’ve got some important decisions to make about car insurance. If your teen is going to drive, then he or she needs to be covered by an insurance policy—but should it be your policy or one of their own? There is no statute requiring it be done one way or another, instead you get to choose which situation best suits your situation. Below are three things to consider when your teen gets their drivers license.
1) Coverage on Your Policy
It is sometimes less expensive to add a teen driver to the parent’s policy rather than initiating an individual policy for the new driver. And if your teen will primarily be driving your car, rather than their own, this might be an ideal choice. Talk to your insurance agent and get the rates for adding your new teen driver so you have somewhere to start.
2) Buying the Teen Their Own Policy
If your teen has their own car and drives frequently, then it might be a better idea to separate their risk from your own by having them get their own policy. The cost of the policy may be more expensive, but factors such as grades or completion of a formalized driving education program could work to lessen the cost. Talk to your insurance agent again about this possibility and ask for the rates (and coverages) so you can compare. Keep in mind that just because your child has their own policy does not mean you are not responsible for damages that exceed the policy limits. If there is an insurable incident and the damage to the other person’s vehicle is greater than the limits on the policy someone is still responsible for the damage. This usually falls on the teen’s parent since they have a better chance of being able to afford the cost of repairs. So make sure that your umbrella insurance policy will sit on top of your teen driver’s auto insurance policy.
3) Other Factors in Cost
In addition to looking for discounts for good grades and driving lessons, parents should look for other discounts when insuring their teen, either on a joint policy or individual one. Other discounts can be found with daytime running lamps, cell phone apps, antitheft devices and more. Insurance carriers are getting very creative these days and are coming up with new ideas and ways to try to help reduce your premiums through discounts.
It is important that cost not be the only consideration when choosing benefits, deductibles and limits. While low benefits, low limts and high deductibles will decrease your insurance premiums, they greatly increase your financial risk should an accident occur; and with an inexperienced teen at the wheel, the chances of an accident occurring increase substantially. Just look at these teen driving stats cited in an article titled “Safe Driving Tips for Teens”, written by Melissa Crumish on the DMV.org website.
- Teen drivers crash four times more often than any other age group.
- More than 4,000 teens die in car crashes every year in the United States.
- More than 450,000 teens are injured in car crashes annually.
- Driver distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes for drivers younger than 20.
- Drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States.
- On average, 11 teens die daily from car crashes.
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