Is your teenager about to start driving? Tips to keep them protected.
Teaching your teenager how to drive can be one of the most nerve-wracking parenting tasks. We can’t do much about that—you’ll be riding shotgun, not us—but we can help you make sure your insurance paperwork is in order and give you the most important information for keeping your teen safe on the road.
So here’s what you need to know.
How will insurance work with a teen on my policy?
Great question. We’ll break this down into two stages:
The permit stage
Your teen probably won’t get a regular license right away. Most states employ some kind of graduated licensing strategy, which just means that your teen will likely be required to get a driving permit—and maybe even a restricted-hours license—before they get a full-privilege driving license.
So what do you do about insurance when your teen only has a driving permit?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one definitive answer to this. Every insurance company has different rules, and it’s possible your teen may already be covered under your policy while they’re still learning. Or they may not be covered at all, which could leave you in a sticky situation if they get in an accident while driving under supervision.
So don’t assume anything. Call your insurance company to find out their rules about insuring permitted drivers. If your teen isn’t covered, you’ll need to know that so you can add them to your insurance.
(And, hey, for those of you who are Clearcover customers, good news: your teen is automatically covered under your policy as long as they have a learners permit. You’ll need to add them to your policy the minute they get a license, though!)
The license stage
Once your teen gets a license for unsupervised driving, they’ll definitely need to be added to your policy. Make sure they’re fully insured before they set out on their first drive.
Should I insure my teen separately or include them on my policy?
Add your kid to your auto insurance policy. With very few exceptions, it’s much less expensive to add your teenager to an existing policy than it is to get them a standalone policy.
How will having a teenager on my policy affect my price?
Your rate will go up significantly when you add your teenager. And this makes sense, because teenagers are 4 times more likely to get in an accident than drivers 20 years and older.
The good news is that there are helpful ways to bring your rate down. The most effective strategy is to call your current insurer before your teen gets a license and get a quote for what your rate will be when you add your teenager to the policy. Then take the opportunity to shop around for better rates. You can use a comparison shopping engine like Zebra or a digital agent like Gabi so you can find the best price on an apples-to-apples basis. Or you could also just go straight to Clearcover.com and get a quote in less than 10 minutes. (Sorry. We couldn’t help ourselves.)
After that, the best way to get a lower rate is to teach your teen good driving habits and hold them accountable. As they build up a history of safe driving, they’ll be less and less expensive to insure.
What are other tips for keeping my teen safe on the road?
Yes! We have a few.
Buy them a clumsy car. You can’t prevent driving mistakes, but you can discourage some of the most common errors by being smart when you buy your teenager a car. The best first cars are slow to accelerate and have a great crash rating. If your teenager looks slightly disappointed when you unveil the vehicle, you probably did your job correctly. (Need inspiration? Here’s a great list of safe vehicles for teenagers.)
Have a zero-tolerance No Cell Phone policy. A recent study showed that distraction played a key factor in 58% of car crashes that involved 16- to 19-year-old drivers. Make it clear to your teen that their mobile device goes in the glove compartment when they’re operating a vehicle—no exceptions. (If you want to monitor your teen’s phone use in the car, here’s a list of handy apps that can help you do that.)
Limit teen carpooling. Teenagers have a hard time concentrating on the road when their friends are in the car. In fact, having two or more other teenagers in the car more than triples the risk of a fatal accident. You can help your teen stay safe by having a strict 1-passenger limit—or, better yet, insist on no passengers until your kid has a year or two of experience under their belt.
Ready to get a car insurance quote? See how much you could save with Clearcover.
(And if you’re already a Clearcover customer, contact us here to add a new driver to your policy.)