Dear Insurance Adviser, Is my teen going to be added to my auto insurance policy automatically when he turns 16, even if he doesn't have his driver's license yet? -- Diane
Dear Diane, No, teenagers are not automatically added to your car insurance when they turn 16. A child would be added only when you call and let your agent know that your kid now has a driver's license.
Here is some good news: You don't have to add your son while he is learning how to drive on a permit. In addition to whatever minimum number of hours of driver's education training is required by your state, it's a good idea to have a parental requirement of 30 additional hours behind the wheel with a responsible adult, under different types of driving conditions. (In my prior life, I was a driver's ed teacher. Can you tell?)
Your car insurance rates will increase quite a bit when your teenage son gets licensed. If he is an occasional driver, your rates on the car he drives will double! If he is a principal operator of one of your cars, your rates will triple!
But there are some things you can do to control the costs:
- If your son maintains a B or better average in school, that will save typically about 15% of whatever he's paying.
- When he becomes a principal driver of a vehicle, you can save about 40% by providing him with an older car that wouldn't need damage coverage (that is, collision or comprehensive). You could choose a nice, safe car with seat belts and air bags that's worth about $2,000 or whatever amount you're comfortable self-insuring while he is learning how to drive.
Once he starts driving, how he chooses to drive will have a huge impact on both of your future rates. A pair of speeding tickets will raise your rates at least 25% for 3 years. A couple of at-fault accidents will lead to your insurance being canceled, forcing you to go with a higher risk company where your rates will be at least 50% higher.
I hope this helps.
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