For parents with teenage children, the prospect of them finally being able to drive can create both excitement and anxiety. While a driver’s license will help your kids become more self-sufficient, it also opens them up to risks on the road.
The hard truth is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the #1 cause of death for U.S. teens. Six out of ten teen crashes involve driver distraction, (texting, multiple occupants, eating, loud music, racing, etc.) but distracted driving isn’t limited to this age group. Each day, 9 people in the United States are killed and 1,000 people are injured due to distracted driving.
In Massachusetts, state law requires every driver to be insured. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. So, how does a parent go about obtaining insurance for their teen without breaking the bank? There are numerous considerations, and the bottom line is that regardless of price the main goal is to ensure that appropriate coverage limits are in place in the event of an accident.
Since insurance rates are based on how statistically likely you are to get into a crash, the numbers aren’t exactly in favor of first-time drivers. The risk of crash per mile driven is three times higher among teens age 16 -19.
THERE ARE TYPICALLY 3 METHODS TO CONSIDER FOR HOW YOUR CHILD COULD BE INSURED:
- Your teen occasionally drives your car, and no additional vehicles will be added to your auto policy – the only addition to the policy is your child as a driver.
- You add a new car to your policy for your teen to drive that you register and insure in your name which increases your premium, but you may at least receive discounts for multiple drivers and vehicles depending on your carrier.
- Your teen purchases their own vehicle and registers and insures it in their name – some would consider this the old-fashioned way!
WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
- Ensure that your child successfully passes a formal Driver’s Ed course. Many carriers also offer incentives to students who maintain good grades in school.
- Some insurers give added consideration to teens enrolled in insurance safety programs like GPS and behavior monitoring systems. It is a good idea to make sure your teen understands the impact of traffic violations to their insurance.
- Make sure your teen understands the importance of safe driving. Speeding, at fault accidents, and other citations will result in a premium increase due to the Safe Driver Insurance Plan surcharge points being added to their policy at the next renewal.
When selecting the appropriate vehicle for your teen, look for a car with a high safety rating in order to lower your premium. Newer vehicles with a higher value actually can produce a lower premium than an older vehicle with a poor safety rating.
Parents who choose to bundle their home and auto coverage may be able to gain additional discounts, however according Insurance.com adding a teen driver to your policy may increase your insurance premiums by an average of…
🚗 44% FOR A ONE CAR FAMILY
🚗 🚗 58% FOR A TWO CAR FAMILY
🚗 🚗 🚗 62% FOR A THREE CAR FAMILY
When adding a teen driver to your policy, it is important to understand that you are responsible for their actions which could put your personal assets at risk.
Until your child is 18, has their own insurance, and is living at a separate, permanent address, your home, assets, retirement, and future earnings could all be subject to a lawsuit in the event of them being found at fault in an accident.
Umbrella policies can be helpful in providing additional liability coverage to supplement your auto and home insurance. Starting at $1 million in coverage, an umbrella policy requires minimum liability limits that must be in place on your home and auto policies in order to avoid gaps in your coverage.
HOW DOES AN UMBRELLA POLICY WORK?
Basically, the additional coverage you purchase in an umbrella will add to the coverage limits already provided by your other policies.
Say your young driver hits another vehicle and there is a single passenger who is severely injured. You are sued for $1M to cover the driver’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages from their high paying career. If your auto insurance policy has liability coverage of $250,000 per person, $500,000 per accident, your auto policy would pay out $250,000 for bodily injury and your umbrella policy would then kick in after the auto liability coverage is exhausted. The umbrella policy would pay out the remaining $750,000; without that, you would have been personally responsible for the remaining $750,000. If you do not have the financial means to pay, your future wages could be garnished.
Umbrella policies are not just for auto accidents either. They can cover over rental homes in your personal name, or your boat policies. Additional protection from accidents that could occur on their your property such as dog bites or pool accidents.
Ultimately, you’ll be able to get the very best quote for your new driver by working with an independent insurance agent who has access to multiple insurance companies. They will be able to consult with you and put together a comprehensive plan to protect you, your teen and your assets.
Have a teen that is getting ready to hit the road for the first time? Contact us for help assessing your policies and finding the best fit for you and your family.
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
Send them our way and we will do our best to help!
Vice President | Personal Insurance
Mike Redfield is Vice President – Personal Lines Consultant with RogersGray. From his previous professional experience he has worked with clients to provide insurance solutions for those planning for, and in retirement.
Insurance is confusing to many, Mike specializes in making it as painless as possible while putting together plans for his clients and presenting in an understandable way. Mike grew up in Yarmouth and now resides in Plymouth with his wife, children and their dog Mokie. You can connect with Mike on LinkedIn or by email.