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Steps to insuring your teen driver

Your teen's most anticipated event may be a parent's most worrisome.  Unfortunately, teen drivers account for a disproportionate amount of auto accidents.  As a parent of a high schooler, I have witnessed too many accidents in the school parking lot alone.  One way we can protect our teen drivers is to see that they are adequately insured.  Here are some steps parents can take. Your teen gets his/her permit:

  1. Call your insurance company to list your permit-holding teen on your policy.
  2. You will probably not see a change in your premiums until your teen obtains a driver's license. For this reason, although it may be unpopular choice with your teen, encourage your teen to keep his/her permit with its stricter driving requirements until you feel they are ready for a driver's license.

Your teen gets his/her license:

  1. Call your insurance company for a quote on adding your teen to your current policy.
  2. Obtain a quote from a separate insurance company for an individual policy just for your teen.  There are many online quotations available.
  • If you choose to add your teen to your current policy, see if your insurance company will allow you to add him/her  as an "occasional" driver.  An "occasional" driver is usually defined by a mileage/year cap.
  • Check if you can assign a specific vehicle on your policy to your teen driver.  If your teen will not be driving the household's most expensive vehicles, there is no need to have the insurance company believing they will.
  • Have your teen drive a car model with an excellent safety record and safety equipment.  If you are in the process of getting a car for your teen, check with your insurance company on vehicles they prefer to insure.
  • Many insurance companies provide discounts for good students, those who have taken driver's education, or are considered a low mileage driver.
  • If you are divorced and have only part-time custody of your teen, you'll have to consult your insurance company.  Usually the parent with primary custody adds teen to their policy but sometimes both parents do.
  • Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for your teen:

    1. Property Damage Liability Insurance - covers damage to another person's vehicle in an auto accident
    2. Bodily Injury Liability Insurance - covers injuries suffered by another person in an auto accident

    Additional Coverage for your teen:

    1. Collision Insurance - coverage for damages to your vehicle during an auto accident
    2. Comprehensive Insurance - coverage for damages to your vehicle due to theft, vandalism or natural disasters
    3. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage - coverage for damages if involved in an auto accident with a person who has no or not enough insurance
    4. Personal Injury Protection - coverage for medical payments not covered by another driver's liability coverage

    Talking with your teen about not only his/her safety but also their financial responsibility  to the family will help open a dialogue about this next phase in their life.  

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