Introducing this month's guest blogger:
Having a new teen driver in the family is nerve-racking, and when met with the financial burden of insuring that new teen driver, it can be almost overwhelming. Since teens aged 16-19 are statistically four times more likely than any other age group to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, the average family’s car insurance premium will likely increase significantly when adding a teen driver to the policy. However, by being prepared, knowing what your coverage options are, and understanding the discounts available you can work together with your insurance agent to take control of your new auto insurance costs.
Should you add your teen to your existing policy?
Unfortunately, when it comes to adding insurance coverage for your teen, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as pricing for teen drivers can vary greatly by company. Evaluate both options of adding your teen to your current policy or putting them on one of their own. Your Eastern Insurance agent is a great resource to help find you the most cost-effective coverage solution as we work with over 20 different insurance carriers.
How much coverage do teen drivers need?
Since new drivers are more likely to get into an accident, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate coverage to protect yourself and your teen in the event of an accident. While it may be tempting to increase your deductible in order to lower your premium, it is recommended that you never have a premium that is a greater amount than you would be comfortable paying out of pocket in the event of an accident. When insuring a new, inexperienced driver, you may also want to discuss adding personal umbrella insurance with your insurance agent. A personal umbrella offers an additional level of coverage in the event you or a named insured is found liable in a claim for an amount that exceeds your traditional policy limits.
The good news is, there are many discount options available for new teen drivers. If you’re adding a new teen driver to your insurance policy, discuss these options with your insurance agent:
Many insurance companies will offer good student discounts for high school and college students who maintain a “B” or 3.0 grade point average. The insurance company will likely require a copy of a report card or transcript every year to keep the coverage, but the discount is often worth this minor inconvenience. Plus, it’s another incentive for your teen to get good grades!
Low mileage discounts may be an option if your teen plans to keep their driving local by only driving to school, sports practices, or a job in town.
“Student Away” discounts may be available if your child lives away from home at their college or university (more than 100 miles round trip). “Military Away” discounts are also available.
If you’re adding your teen to a family policy, multi-car discounts may be an option.
Many carriers will give the teen driver an account credit on their policy if they are insured with the same company as their parents, and the parents insure their home and auto with the same carrier.
Consider an advanced driver training program like In-Control Crash Prevention, which offers services for all drivers, but especially teens, and has been proven to reduce the risk of a crash by 70% for those who have participated in their course. While the program is not a cure to eliminate all risk of an accident, it offers the tools needed for drivers to practice safe habits on the road. Their half-day program helps instill muscle memory and teaches drivers how to appropriately maneuver their vehicle in a dangerous situation to help reduce the risk of an accident. For example, teaching students how to turn into a skid to prevent further sliding, even though their first instinct might be the exact opposite maneuver. Graduates of this program may even be able to save on their car insurance, as 85% of agencies in the market offer a 10% discount for those who successfully complete the course. My daughter completed this course and shared her experience with the Boston Globe, which you can read about here!
Be Supportive and Have Open Dialogue
Being a new driver can be just as scary for some teens as it is for their parents. Be sure to keep an open dialogue about safe driving, distracted driving, and the importance of maintaining a clean driving record. Talk to your teen about how expensive car insurance can be and how speeding tickets and even minor accidents can significantly raise the cost of their coverage. Or, if your teen responds better to positive reinforcement, consider an app or program that rewards safe driving behaviors, such as Plymouth Rock’s Road Rewards program. Also, be sure that everyone is on the same page regarding local laws for new drivers, which often restricts who may be a passenger and the hours teens are allowed to drive. Getting a license is an exciting time in a teen’s life, and by keeping the lines of communication open, parents can help ensure it’s a safe one too.
If you could use assistance getting a new driver properly insured, contact a member of the Eastern Insurance personal lines customer service team by either requesting a quote online, calling 800-333-7234 (Option 2),or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.