Auto Insurance Tips for Parents of Young Drivers

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Many parents have felt that twinge of worry when their teens have if they could borrow their cars to meet their friends on a Friday night. Their concerns are not unfounded.

A teen's first year of driving is the most dangerous one, according to the AAA. These drivers are more likely to get into an accident due to their inexperience on the road. According to the CDC, almost 258,000 teens were treated in emergency rooms for injuries they suffered in vehicle collisions.

Teen motor accidents are preventable. In this article, you'll learn several tips you can share to help young people improve their driving safety skills on the road.

Teens Have a Higher Risk of Getting into Car Crashes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says teens, ages 16 to 19, are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers older than 20 years old.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most teen drivers don't have the same motor coordination skills as adults. As a result, they have a hard time completing regular driving maneuvers.

The organization states that driving may be the first skill where teens must coordinate their eyes, hands and feet. Their researchers say teens don't have enough driving experience, they have a higher chance of miscalculating road situations. Teen drivers also overestimate their abilities on the road.

The scientists claim new drivers are more likely to speed, tailgate or text while driving. Teen drivers are also more likely to be distracted or succumb to peer pressure.

Buy the Right Car for a Teen Driver

Your kid should be comfortable in the vehicle that you select for them. During the car buying process, parents should ensure their teenager feels at ease in the vehicle they select.

They should be able to handle different driving scenarios without fear. Ask your kid about how each car makes them feel. Both the parent and kid should test drive the automobile to make sure you can catch any red flags.

Here is some advice to help you select a good vehicle for your kid:

  • Pay attention to the mileage - Most drivers put 10,000 - 15,000 miles of wear on cars each year. If an automobile has less than 100,000 some of the original manufacturer warranties may apply.

  • Ask for maintenance records - It's essential that the used vehicle you choose were maintained and serviced well since this affects the transmission.

  • Get a pre-purchase inspection - Have a qualified mechanic search for any potential problems before you purchase the automobile.

Know State and Local Laws Related to Drivers Under the Age of 21

Traffic laws vary depending on the region, so you should know your state's local laws to ensure your young driver doesn't break them. Parents should find out what age their teen can drive cars, which passengers can travel with them, or if they need supervision.

Enroll Your Teen in a Defensive Driving School

You may believe that you're the best driving instructor around since your kid passed their driver exam and road test on the first try. It doesn't mean your kid shouldn't take a teen driving course or defensive driving course.

Many schools offer low-cost classes. Their instructors are teaching your teen defensive driving skills and other rules of the road. They will also teach your teen driver how to navigate hazardous conditions.

Several companies offer driver's education courses for teenagers, including AAA and Road America's driving school. These courses include 30 hours of interactive sessions, training and lectures.

They also have instructors that have in-car lessons to help teens learn to drive. School driver's education programs and private instructors offer six hours of on-the-road training. Their vehicles also have a second brake on the instructor's side to prevent a young person from getting into an accident.

You can learn about other options from your local DMV office.

Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to find approved driving courses for teen drivers. After your kid completes a driver's ed course, they may be eligible for a driver education discount from the insurance company. Most insurance carriers offer insurance policy discounts when teens take teen driving or defensive driving classes.

Practice Will Make Perfect Teen Drivers

Teens don't become better, more responsible drivers overnight. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they need at least two hours of driving practice every week for six months to reach a higher level of proficiency on the road.

Find Affordable Car Insurance for Teenage Drivers

Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year. According to the NHTSA, 3,142 people died because of this dangerous behavior in 2019.

Thousands of accidents happen every year because teens are distracted when behind the wheel. It happened because they were talking on the phone, texting, adjusting their radio or even talking with passengers.

Spend a few minutes with your young drivers and urge them to practice safer driving behaviors and minimize distracted driving. When they stay aware while using your vehicle, it will protect them and other drivers. Staying aware will also significantly lower their chances of having an accident.

It will also keep your insurance premiums low since you won't have as many claims. Your child will be safer when behind the wheel and your insurance premiums will be lower.

Lead by Setting a Good Example for Teen Drivers on the Road

A driving school can only teach your teen the basics about driving and handling on-the-road hazards. Your child learns most of their driving habits by watching you.

You set a powerful role model as a parent. Although teens may pretend they know everything, they still depend on you to set a good example.

When riding on the road, you must practice safe driving behaviors. It means:

  • Don't speed
  • Don't weave in and out of traffic
  • Avoid texting
  • Don't drink and drive
  • Avoid using your smartphone
  • Don't have fits of road rage
  • Wear your seat belts at all times

If you set a good example during each trip, your teens will follow your behavior.

Set Boundaries for Your Teen Driver

Speak to your teenager about your expectations before you hand over the keys to your vehicle. For instance, maybe you don't want your teen to travel 30 miles away until they get more experience on the road.

Perhaps you don't want them to drive when it's dark until they learn how to handle hazards better. Drowsy, nighttime driving is a leading cause of teen crashes and fatalities.

Take a few minutes to help your teen understand your rules. Encourage your kid to practice safe driving habits until they get the message. It can save your kid's life.

Basic rules of the road advice can include:

  • No driving or riding with other people who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. For instance, the National Institute for Drug Abuse says that drivers with active marijuana (THC) had a higher chance of getting into a fatal crash than those without drugs in their systems.
  • Create a rule to forbid friends from being in the automobile for the first few months.
  • No eating or drinking while in the vehicle
  • Keeping music at low to moderate levels
  • Your teen and passengers must wear seat belts at all times.
  • No night driving.
  • No driving while tired or upset
  • No texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  • No picking up hitchhikers
  • Be aware of weather conditions when driving

Speak to Your Teen About the Risks of Driving While Intoxicated Behind the Wheel

Whenever you get the chance, speak with your teen about the consequences of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Ideally, this talk should take place before they get a license.

Many states have zero-tolerance policies when law enforcement finds teen drivers with any level of alcohol or drugs in their systems. If this happens, they could pay fines, receive jail time or have their license suspended.

Besides the legal consequences, warn your kids about the increased risk of crashes and fatalities while driving drunk or high.

Institute a Graduated Licensing Program for Your Child

Most states have a graduated licensing system for teen drivers in high school. Highway safety departments designed these systems to help new drivers gradually improve their skills over time in a low-risk environment. There are three stages for teens to earn their license. 

These phases include: 

  • The learner's permit 
  • Provisional license and 
  • Full driver's license.

As a parent, you don't have to wait for your state to institute this licensing program for your teenage children. Once your kid passes their driver's license test, you can establish a six-month probation period, or you can prolong the learner's permit stage for your teen (from six to twelve months). 

When you believe your child has more road experience, you can increase their privileges.

Teach Kids To Obey Driving Rules or Face the Consequences

Your kid will still need to learn more, even after passing the driver's license exam. As a parent, you can decide whether to set consequences if your new teen driver exhibits poor behavior on the road.

Speeding tickets, moving violations and other infractions can have a dramatic impact on your insurance rates. So, encourage your teen to obey your state's laws.

Their safe driving habits will help them earn discounts. It will also ensure that you'll pay the most affordable automobile insurance premiums. It is also critical that your teenager is familiar with your area's driving laws and how important it is not to break them.

Remind your child of the rules when they have an accident or speeding ticket. Here are a few tips you can follow when setting potential punishments. Examples of consequences may include:

Violation Consequences

Getting a speeding ticket

Lose your driving privileges for two months.

Lying about using the Car to Go Somewhere

Lose your privileges for a month.

Returning home past Curfew without Calling

Lose driving privileges for two weeks.

Not Wearing Seat belts While Driving

Lose privileges for three weeks

Having too many passengers in the vehicle

Lose driving privileges for a week

Using alcohol or drugs while driving

Lose privileges for three months

The Best Car Insurance for Teenagers

Good Grades Can Mean Lower Premiums

Many insurance carriers offer student discounts when the student/driver has a good grade point average (GPA). This is an excellent incentive for young drivers to focus on their schoolwork and help them save money on their insurance.

Add Your Young Driver to Your Policy

Many parents assume their insurance policy will cover their teen when they begin using their family automobile without changing their coverage. It is a big mistake many parents make when their children first get their driver's licenses.

Parents should contact their insurance company before allowing their kid to drive their cars, even while they have their learner's permit. Sometimes, adding a teen driver may affect your premium. If so, it is a good time to comparison shop your insurance policy to make sure you are getting optimal coverage for your family.

An excellent place for parents to start comparison shopping is Smart Financial, an online insurance comparison site.

Tell Your Carrier if You Have a Young Driver Who Is Away at School

You need to notify your insurance carrier if your teen attends a school over 50 miles away. Many insurance carriers will discount the rate you are paying for the additional driver because they won't be using your car often.

Teen Drivers Can Stay on Auto Insurance Policies When They Live at Home

Unlike health insurance, a teen can remain on your insurance policy as long as they live at home and drive your car. Once your kid gets a car of their own, they will need to purchase an insurance policy under their name.

Best Auto Insurance for Teens

Are you a parent who needs to find a policy to cover your kid? Here is a list of insurance companies that provide the best policies for inexperienced drivers.

1.) Best for New Drivers - Erie Insurance

This insurance company has provided car, homeowners, life and other insurance to individuals since 1925. It offers better discounts for younger drivers.

2.) Best for College Students - Allstate

Are you a parent of a college student? Allstate is the nation's third-largest auto insurance company. It offers savings targeted to kids in college. The company also has an app that is perfect for tech-savvy individuals.

3.) Best Student Discounts - State Farm

State Farm is a national carrier available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has a network of regional insurers that offers many discounts to students and teens.

4.) Best for Accident Forgiveness - Nationwide

This company provides excellent accident forgiveness for its customers. It comes in handy for teens who have a higher risk of getting into an accident than other age groups.

Tips to Shop for Insurance Coverage for Parents and Teens

Here are several helpful tips that parents should consider when shopping for insurance coverage for their new teen drivers.

  • Do you want to buy a separate car insurance policy for your teen, or include them on your policy? If you don't want your personal rates to rise, the former is usually considered cheaper. Including your kid on your insurance is usually the safest route.

  • Determine what discounts your kid may be eligible for from your car insurer. Your carrier can offer good student discount benefits, as well as savings for teens who take driver's education courses.

  • Encourage your teen to complete tasks to qualify for insurance discounts, including improve their grades or taking a driver's training class.

  • Has your kid driven on the road for a year or more without receiving a ticket, having a crash or filing a claim? If so, insurers may consider your child a safe driver. Insurers reward safe drivers with discounts. It can help you save money on your car insurance.

  • Compare insurance quotes from different insurance companies (and take discounts into account) before you make a decision.

  • When your policy is up for annual renewal, get a quote from two to three companies to make sure you are paying the optimal rates on insurance.

  • Are you a mom or dad searching for insurance coverage for your kid? SmartFinancial can simplify the insurance shopping process. To get started, enter your zip code below, and we'll provide you with quotes from local carriers within your area.

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