Your Teenager is Getting His Driver’s License: Now What?

The day your 16-year-old drives by himself for the first time without you in the car is both the most exhilarating and terrifying moment in parents’ lives.  It’s a relief that you’ll no longer have to pick up at school, but you’ve now got the extra burden of a teenage driver and added insured on your insurance policy, usually with a higher premium.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds. And, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that about 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in crashes in 2012 were males. Therefore, starting from the time they begin driving, women will pay less than men do for car insurance. This pricing gap is influenced by: 1) the types of cars men choose to drive. 2) the frequency of accidents among women versus men 3) risky driving behavior based on gender 4) the average number of miles driven by women vs. men.

Here are some tips about the type of coverage you need to protect your teenage driver as well as ways to cut costs of adding the additional teen driver policy.

Buy the right car.  Teen drivers should not drive high performance vehicles.  Fast sports cars can be dangerous and will be more expensive to cover than a typical four-door sedan.  Check out the safest cars rated by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In 2016, the Institute toughened the criteria for TOP SAFETY PICK+ to reflect new headlight evaluations.  Read more about their safe car picks here:

Encourage good grades.  Some insurance companies offer up to 15% discounts if students maintain a B average.  Also, insurance companies provide discounts to students that have completed a driver training program.

Reinforce rules and consequences of risky driving behavior. For some families, a contract between parents and teen drivers can provide the guidelines needed to enforce the laws.  I Drive Safely has a sample contract that can hold your child accountable to the rules you make.

Purchase uninsured motorist coverage.  According to the Insurance Industry Research Council,  as many as 25% of cars on the road carry no insurance. Purchase the highest amount of UM coverage you can afford, since this will help YOU and YOUR FAMILY.

Choose high liability limits.  Out of any age group, 16-year olds have the highest chance of getting into a crash. If your teen causes a crash with serious injuries of the other person, you will be covered. You want to purchase enough liability insurance to protect your family assets in case of a bad collision. Your insurance agent can help you make this determination. Also, purchase an equal amount of uninsured motorist coverage to pay you and your family if your child is hurt badly as a result of another person’s bad driving.

Remember, having sufficient insurance coverage allows you to sleep better at night knowing you have enough insurance in case of an accident.  The lawyers at  Friedman and Martin have extensive experience with auto insurance policies following an accident, so we are able to provide recommendations for your individual situation. Call us today at 912-232-8500 for a free consultation.