Understanding The When’s and Why’s of Insurance for Teen Drivers

Adding a teenage driver to an automobile insurance policy will probably cause premiums to rise. After all, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year-olds are the riskiest drivers on the road, and therefore the most likely to get into car accidents.

Insurance company guidelines and state insurance rules vary when determining when it is required to add a teen to an existing insurance policy. Some insurers require adding a teen to a policy once the child has a learner’s permit, but most insurers say wait until the teen is fully licensed. A learner’s permit allows the teen to drive only when a licensed adult is in the car. But once the child is licensed, most states require him or her to have at least a minimum amount of car insurance. Even if a teen isn’t allowed to drive, once they become licensed drivers as members of the household they must be listed on the insurance policy.

Teens become eligible for discounts by being responsible drivers

The sooner the child gains valuable driving experience, the sooner he or she will become eligible for driving discounts. In some states, for examples, teens who go three years without accidents or tickets qualify for a good-driver discount of 20%. So assuming a teen driver obtained a license at age 16, by age 19 he or she could be eligible for a good-driver discount because eligibility starts from the time they are first added to a policy as a licensed driver.

Tips for teen drivers

Always wear a seat belt – and make sure all passengers buckle up, too.
Adjust the car’s headrest to a height to minimize whiplash in case the vehicle is involved in an accident.
Never try to fit more people in the car than the number of seatbelts available for them to use.
Obey the speed limits. Excess speed is one of the main causes of teenage accidents.
Don’t run red lights.
Use turn signals to indicate the intention to turn or to change lanes. Turn it on to give cars behind enough time to react before taking action. Also, make sure the signals turn off after the action is completed.
When light turns green, make sure intersection clears before going.
Make sure windshield is clean. At sunrise and sunset, light reflecting off of dirty windshields can momentarily cause blinding which is potentially dangerous.
Make sure car has gas in it. Don’t ride around with the gauge on empty.
Don’t drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking.
Don’t take drugs and drive, or ride with anyone who has been using drugs. Even some over the counter drugs can make a person drowsy. Check label for warnings.
Never drive without insurance.