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What Should I Know Before Adding
My Teenager to My Auto Policy?

Tips before your teenager gets his or her licenseAdding a young driver to your auto policy can be a stressful time for many reasons. You do not have to add your teenager until they actually get their driver’s license. They are automatically covered under your policy at no additional premium while operating on a learner's permit.

From your insurance costs perspective being an honor student will save you money on your insurance premiums. Avoiding accidents and violations is also a way to keep the insurance costs down for young drivers. Many ask would it be less expensive to have the young driver on their own policy? The answer is "no" it would not. Having your teenage driver on your policy will save you money, as they will get your preferred driver rates and any multi-policy/ multi-car discounts that you qualify for. Note that there may be discounts if your teen goes to a boarding school.

It's important for you to set the ground rules with your teen before you turn over the keys. Be sure that they know these safe-driving basics:

  • Buckle Up ~ It's the law, but there are still many young people who either don't wear their seatbelt or wear it improperly by putting the shoulder belt behind their torso. Set a good example yourself. Always wear your seatbelt and insist that the passengers in your car do so as well
  • Drive Defensively ~ Teach your teen that safe drivers anticipate what the other driver MAY do and keep their emotions in check. Points to consider are (1) use directional signals for both turns and lane changes; (2) change lanes only when necessary (don't weave in and out of traffic); (3) void tailgating other drivers; (4) check his or her ego at the door ... it's not a personal affront if someone passes or follows too closely; (5) slow down at yellow lights ... proceed cautiously through green lights; (6) look left, right, and ahead for drivers who may be turning or running a red light; (7) give a wide berth to aggressive or erratic drivers; and (8) carefully watch weather conditions and slow down in bad weather and at night.
  • Don't Drive with Distractions ~ Again, you can teach your teen by setting a good example yourself. Pull over when you need to use your cell phone. NEVER text while driving. Avoid changing the radio station, tape or cd while driving. You may want to limit the amount of passengers they have in their vehicle for a probationary period.
  • Don't Drink and Drive ~ Openly discuss the consequences of drinking and driving with your teen. While you don't want to condone teenage drinking, you cannot assume it won't happen. Offer to give your teen a ride home WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES if the alternative is to drive under the influence of alcohol or with another teen who has been drinking alcohol.
  • Obey the Speed Limit ~ In addition to being a contributor in highway deaths, speeding is expensive. Make sure your teen knows that if they are caught speeding the fines can be hundreds of dollars or their license may be suspended. Even a minor violation can increase their insurance costs as well.

It may also be prudent to make up a contract with your child that outlines the above strategies. The best policy is not to take things for granted. Your Cole Harrison Insurance agent can review these points with you in more detail, should you have any questions.

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