If your teen has begun learning to drive, it's time to give your car insurance company a call and add your teen to the policy. Otherwise, if they are in an accident, you'll be financially liable for any damage caused. (Not to mention, it's illegal for them to drive without insurance.) While this is an important stepping stone in your teen's life, it is one that often raises some questions in parents' minds. Here's a look at four common questions parents have when adding their teens to the car insurance policy.
Should your teen be listed as a full-time or part-time driver?
Most insurance companies offer two options for insuring various drivers on your policy. You can insure someone as a full-time driver or as a part-time driver. Adding your teen as a part-time driver costs less, but this is not always the appropriate designation. If your teen has their own car, you will need to register them as a full-time driver of that vehicle. On the other hand, if your teen is only going to borrow one of your cars occasionally, you can register them as a part-time driver as long as someone else is registered as a full-time driver of that vehicle.
Keep in mind that most insurance companies will require that you have one full-time driver for each car on your policy. So, if you have three cars, your teen will need to be registered as a full-time driver of one of them even if they only plan to drive every once in a while. This does vary by insurance company, so if you're still not sure whether your teen should be a part-time or full-time driver, just ask an agent.
Why is adding a teen driver to your policy so expensive?
Insurance companies base their rates on risk, and teens are simply more likely to get into an accident than older, more experienced drivers. But while insuring a teen driver may be costly, there are some ways to save. Most insurance companies offer a "good student" discount if you provide a report card or other proof that your teen maintains good grades.
If you have two or more cars, it will be cheaper to insure your teen as the driver of the older, less valuable car. Your teen may also be eligible to take a driver safety course, and your insurance company may give them a discount upon completion of this course.
Do you need to change your coverage when you add your teen to the policy?
While there are no laws that require you to upgrade your policy when you start insuring your teen driver, it's often a good idea to do so. If you do not have collision or comprehensive insurance on your car, consider adding it. This way, if your teen gets into an accident, the damage to the vehicle will be covered. Also, consider lowering your deductible, as your teen may not be able to come up with a $1,000 or $750 deductible if you have to make an insurance claim.
Should your teen pay for their own car insurance?
This is really up to you. Requiring that your teen pay for their portion of the car insurance is a good way to teach them about the value of money and ease them into the reality of paying bills. However, if your teen is very busy with school and other obligations and you think that requiring them to get a job would distract them from these other obligations, you may be better off paying for their car insurance until they're a bit older.
Adding your teen to your car insurance policy is not as hard as you might imagine. Check out sites like http://www.unitedsecurityagency.com if you have questions, and call your insurance company for more advice.