Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of parents quite like the prospect of their teenager getting a driver’s license. Not only is there concern about the teen’s safety, but also about how the new young driver will affect their auto insurance. To help ease some of the angst, here are answers to questions insurance agents commonly field from parents.
1. When should I add my teen to my auto policy?
If your policy or endorsements do not explicitly void coverage while your teen is operating a vehicle, you may typically add your teen after he or she obtains a driver’s license. Most states don’t require drivers with a learner’s permit to carry insurance, and many insurance companies will automatically cover a teen driver with a learner’s permit at no extra cost. Still, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance agent before your teen gets behind the wheel.
2. What do I need to know about graduated driver licensing (GDL)?
GDL requirements, which vary by state, help teen drivers gradually gain experience before getting their full license, partly by restricting higher-risk driving situations like nighttime driving. If your teen isn’t compliant, his or her license could be suspended or revoked. Further, if your noncompliant teen is involved in a collision, it may have an impact on any resulting claims. You can find your state’s laws at teendriving.AAA.com.
3. How can I keep my premium down while my teen is on my policy?
Many insurers offer discounts for teens who retain a minimum GPA or who complete a recognized safe-driving course. Also, consider increasing your deductible while your teen is gaining experience behind the wheel. Statistics show that one in five teens will be involved in a crash in his or her first year of driving. If your teen maintains a clean driving record, your premium may decrease as they gain driving experience, and you can choose to lower your deductible again.
4. My daughter is away at college. Should I take her off my policy?
It’s not ideal. If your teen needs a car while away at school, whether as a passenger or a driver, she will need insurance. If your teen is not on your policy and borrows a car that is uninsured or underinsured and gets in a crash, she could be held liable for damages or injuries incurred—but have no or insufficient coverage. And if she drives your car when she returns home on breaks, she might not be protected. It’s always a good idea to discuss your situation with your agent to make sure you have the proper coverage.