As soon as your teenage son or daughter is old enough to get a license, you should contact the company that provides your car insurance and notify them of the new driver in the house. That said, expect the price you pay for your insurance to go up, probably as much as 50% from today’s price, as young people tend to be involved in more accidents due to inexperienced driving.
The chances of a teenager being in an accident are high. According to a study by the Student Organization Against Destructive Decisions or SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), adolescents spend 44% more time driving during the summer than during the school year. What’s more, 16-year-old drivers are more likely to be in crashes than any other group of drivers, while motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,490 drivers in this age group were killed in car accidents in 2006 and about 272,000 were injured. That same year, drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 accounted for 12.9% of driver fatalities in fatal crashes and 16% of all reported crashes.
Protection for your young driver
Here are some recommendations from the Insurance Information Institute to improve the safety of your teen driver:
- Select a car that is safe.
- The type of car a young driver drives will definitely affect the price of insurance. You and your teen can choose a car that is easy to drive and will provide protection even in the event of a crash. Avoid very small cars and sports cars that are designed for high speed and performance as they can tempt the young person to drive at excessive and dangerous speeds. Avoid SUVs, vans, or trucks, as they are more likely to roll over.
- Have the teen take a driving course.
- A young person who learns to drive through a driving course is viewed more favorably by insurance companies than one who learns by driving with his parents. In fact, in some states, teens must take a course if they want to be licensed at age 16, or wait until age 18 if they don’t take the course. Learning to drive safely will not only keep your son or daughter safe, secure and well, it will also save you money. Taking a driving course can mean a 15% discount on the price of the insurance premium. Before enrolling in the course, make sure that the course you are going to take is accepted by your insurer.
- Enroll the young driver in defensive driving courses.
- Some insurers offer what they call safe driver programs. In order for young drivers to participate in these programs, they must sign a contract in which they agree to be a “safe or responsible driver”, for example, they cannot drive and consume alcohol, etc. Ask if your insurer has these types of programs and if the teen completes the course they will be eligible for a discount. Some insurers also have programs that include car monitoring with equipment installed in the car. Parents can see where their kids are on a device similar to a global positioning device that sits on the dashboard of a car. Parents can see where the teen is on a Web page and if they exceed zone speed limits or venture into areas far from their home or school, parents are automatically notified.
- Talk to the young driver about the dangers of combining driving with the use of alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep or distractions.
- Teach, emphasize, and constantly remind them not to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or when extremely tired. Creating this awareness in your children will help keep them safe and sound from accidents, and it will also help you save money. If you maintain a good driving record, your insurance costs will go down over time.
- Put a lot of emphasis on the behavior of young people while they are behind the wheel.
- Car accidents happen every year to young people who drive while they are talking on the phone, typing texts, or because they are distracted by the radio or the conversation of friends. Also, show them the dangers of being the one to distract the driver by engaging in inappropriate behavior in the car when another teen is driving. Stress, stress, and constantly remind them to avoid distractions, whether it’s talking on the cell phone, playing the music player, or friends in the car. Encourage them that when traveling with passengers, everyone is respectful of the person behind the wheel and not distract him.
- Give a good example.
- Novice drivers learn by example, so it’s best to avoid reckless or reckless driving so they don’t copy you. And don’t forget to always wear your seat belt and never drink alcohol when driving.
- Ask about graduated driver license programs.
- Novice drivers are often restricted in what they can do, such as driving with passengers in the car, until they have a license that is of a particular type or they have held it for a minimum amount of time, such as six months. A number of states have succeeded in reducing the number of teen crashes by restricting the amount of time drivers are on the road unattended. If you live in one of these states, ask if this applies to additional discounts. And even if your state doesn’t have this policy, you can institute a similar program with novice drivers who live in your home.