By Madeline Klein
That 16th birthday comes up fast. One day they are in diapers crying because their brother pushed them, and then all of a sudden they are in the driveway, about to drive off by themselves for the first time.
While you are no longer in the passenger seat, telling them when to merge or to watch out for that sudden brake ahead, you can be sure that they are completely covered by adding the new driver to your current policy. Here are some tips for when your teenager turns sweet sixteen.
Add the new driver to your policy
First off, you’ll need to call your insurer and add the new driver when they get their license. The last thing you want with a new driver is any question on coverage.
We aren’t going to lie to you, adding a new and inexperienced driver to your policy isn’t usually cheap. The cost of adding a new driver to your insurance varies, but it will likely make your rate go up simply because the risk of insuring a new driver is high. However, as the driver gets more time on the road and shows they are consistently a safe driver, the insurance cost typically goes down.
Check your coverages
Once the new driver is on your insurance, you’ll want to review your auto insurance coverage and update it if you feel you need more coverage in some areas.
Liability: Liability is an important coverage for a new 16-year-old driver. It is broken down into Property Damage and Bodily Injury coverage. If your new driver gets into an accident, the first coverage helps pay for property they may have damaged, including the other driver’s car. Bodily injury coverage helps pay for the other driver’s medical bills and any lost wages.
You are required to have a state minimum of this coverage in every state except for New Hampshire, but we suggest reviewing your coverage to ensure you have an amount you are comfortable with.
Collision: This coverage will help you cover the cost of your own vehicle if your teen gets into an accident with another car, or hits an object (like a pole). This could help with your peace of mind when you hand over your car keys.
One thing you can look into is raising your collision deductible. Doing this will mean you spend more money out of pocket if your teen does get into an accident, but would decrease your monthly/yearly rates. This could help offset the cost for adding your new driver to your policy.
Roadside Assistance: 24-hour emergency roadside assistance can be crucial for a 16-year-old driver. They likely don’t know much about cars and often panic when a new situation or issue comes up.
Check and make sure your provider automatically includes Roadside Assistance (like Say does) or add this important coverage to your policy. Either way, you’ll want to be sure your teen can quickly and easily call a tow or help if needed.
Best cars for new drivers
If you are buying them a new car, or don’t think your car is the safest for a new driver, you’ll want to make sure the car they will be driving will hold up well and protect them on the road.
Body style: While they aren’t the coolest looking, we suggest a car with a larger, wider body. These tend to be safer to drive and hold up well in an accident. These are also heavier, which helps keep your driver safe too.
Safety features: Most cars these days come with many safety features. From backup cameras to alarms when you are trying to merge too close to a car, the opportunities are endless. Look into cars with the best safety features to see what is most important for your driver.
Cars falling into these categories will likely be cheaper to insure as well, which will help with the cost jump of having a new driver on your insurance.
Giving your 16-year-old the freedom of a car can be a lot to handle. We know. But with these tips, you can help make sure they are a little bit safer every time they go for a drive.
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Posted June 22, 2018 in Insurance Know-How.