What do you do now?
When your child finally obtains their driver’s license and gets behind the wheel, no doubt your main worry is whether or not they will be protected. Not only from all the potential risks they may encounter on the road, but also their insurance policy. Nothing is worse that having lackluster car insurance coverage that doesn’t cover everything your family may need. The best car insurance for young drivers does not necessarily mean the cheapest. There are a lot of television commercials for low cost insurance policies on the air that might say otherwise, but it’s more about finding the right policy for you and your young driver.
I had a friend in high school who wasn’t the best driver. She was often a bit careless and had produced more than a few minor bumps and scrapes to her car. As she was the oldest child, this was her parents’ first experience living with a teenage driver. They didn’t research anything before adding her to their auto insurance policy and opted for the minimum liability limit required by our state. As it is expensive to add a young driver to your insurance, this was the easiest way for them to save some money. Unfortunately, saving a few dollars in the short run is not always the best idea if it means lowering the quality of coverage.
A few months after getting her license, she was driving on the highway during a heavy snowstorm. The roads were slick and everyone was driving slowly. However, even driving cautiously cannot always prevent you from an accident if the roads are slick. At one point, she hit a patch of black ice and spun off the road, hitting a barrier and another car that happened to be in the way. Not only was her cheap car insurance not enough to cover the damages, but she now had to pay even higher premiums in the future.
Higher Accident Rates
Her experience was just one of many stories I heard during high school and college. If you have a child under the age of 25 on your auto insurance policy, there’s a reason why your rates are high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times likelier to crash their vehicles than older drivers. First-year drivers have an even greater risk of getting into an accident. In all crashes involving a teenage driver, the young person is likely to be found at fault in approximately 30 percent of incidents.
Why is the accident rate so much higher for young adults? It’s not only inexperience that plays a role. Like my friend’s expensive accident, more teenagers than older adults are unable to determine whether or not they are driving in poor conditions. Young people are also more likely to take part in risky driving behavior and driving with too many distractions like using cell phones, loud music, and too many passengers. Teenagers are also less likely to wear their seatbelt and more likely to drive intoxicated.
Ways to Save
As a parent, there are ways that you can manage the cost of your insurance rates while encouraging better driving behavior from your children.
First, add your teenager to your existing policy. Purchasing separate auto insurance will only increase their premiums. In addition, make sure to designate your teenager as the driver for your most safe and reliable car. Allowing them to take your Ferrari for a spin is not the best idea when considering insurance rates. This will not only ensure that they are driving a no-frills car with plenty of safety features, but will also help to maintain good driving habits.
Second, remember that education is the key. Putting your teenager through the required driver’s education program is often not enough. Sign them up for defensive driving school and/or take the time to review the rules of the road regularly. In addition, encourage them to maintain good grades in school. Your young driver will be prepared for the open road and potentially receive a “good student” discount of up to 20 percent.
Third, don’t skimp on limits of liability coverage. Trisha Mujadin, an independent insurance agent in Seattle, “recommends limits of liability of at least $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident, and $100,000 for property damage.” This will save you thousands if you have a teenage driver who is anything like my high school friend.
Lastly, do your research. There are plenty of resources available on the Internet like insurance guru, Jethro Peterson, who can be found on Twitter @1Insurance_tip. Speaking with an independent insurance agent in your area is always the most helpful. Meeting in person with an expert who can answer your specific, individual questions will be the best way to guarantee that all of your insurance needs are covered.
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Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.
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