Parents of young drivers may find themselves overwhelmed and worried when their child gets their permit or driver’s license. The Fatality Facts 2019 from the U.S. Department of Transportations’ FARS, shows young, licensed drivers between the ages of 16-17 accounted for the highest fatality rates. Additional facts show the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16–19-year-old drivers are nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. There is no doubt that having a young driver in your family raises several questions such as, “Will our auto insurance cost more?” or “Should I have full coverage or liability only?” We have highlighted some important tips from the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) which will help answer these common questions and help parents and their young drivers stay safe as they transition smoothly to being added as a new driver.
1. Help Make Your Teen a Safe Driver: Parents can be the first line of defense in teaching and showing their child to drive safely when they hit the road. Make time to discuss the serious consequences of driving accidents and set times to take your young driver out on the road to prepare and practice driving.
2. Encourage Awareness of Traffic Safety: Talk to young drivers about driving etiquette while they are driving with you. Parents can set an example of safe driving practices such as wearing your seat belt when you first get into the car, obeying the traffic signs and no speeding. While on the road, it is important to stress the importance of being aware of vehicles surrounding you, road hazards and having a safe distance between them and other vehicles.
3. Set Limits and Gradually Increase Driving Privileges base upon Developing Skills and Good Judgment: For starters, setting limits for your young driver such as limited nighttime driving until your young driver has more experience behind the wheel is important to keeping them safe. Also, it may be a good idea to require permission for young drivers to have passengers with them while driving or even limiting the number of people in the car with them.
4. Explain, Set and Enforce Important Rules: Enforce a Zero-Tolerance for alcohol and drug use when driving. Educate your young driver on the importance of keeping safe even if it means calling for a ride home when alcohol usage has made it unsafe to drive. Come up with an agreement and responsibilities for your young driver. Examples of responsibilities your young driver may have are paying for gas, auto insurance, car maintenance and repairs, even the responsibility to pay for their own traffic and parking tickets.
5. Encourage Positive Behaviors: Encourage positive behaviors for you child on and off the road. Many insurance companies offer discounts or reduced premiums to young drivers who exhibit good grades in school such as:
- Student Driver Discounts: Students who maintain at least a “B” average in school or a 3.0 GPA may qualify for this discount (Talk with your insurance agent or insurance company to find out what the GPA requirement is to qualify for this discount)
- Young drivers who take a recognized drivers education course
- Student – Away Discounts: College students who attend school at least 100 miles away from home and do not bring their car to campus.
6. Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Company: Having young drivers on their own policy typically means premiums are higher compared to adding a young newly licensed driver to a parent’s auto insurance policy. Parents might opt to purchase higher amounts of liability coverage to protect their young driver. In addition, having an independent agent who is on your side can be a great advantage because a local independent agent can take the time to offer knowledge, advice, even discussions with your young driver about auto insurance, as well as tips and responsibilities as a newly licensed driver.
Other options to keep the premium low is assigning your young driver with a family car or an older car, which can be insured with liability coverage only or higher deductibles for collision coverage with these types of cars.
As time goes by, young drivers will gain more experience and knowledge of traffic rules and safety as they are on the road along with these great tips from PIA. Contact Paroubek Insurance and learn more about what to do before insuring young drivers and how your auto insurance will be impacted when adding them.