Question from Michael M. of West Clay:
My daughter will be getting her driver’s license this summer. How do I add her to my policy, and what can I do to make sure I don’t have to get a second job to afford it?
Response from Dena Shepherd Page:
Adding a teen to your insurance policy is not the thing to do if you’re looking to keep your insurance costs down. First, make sure your teen keeps her grades up. A good majority of carriers offer discounts for teens that maintain a B average or higher. Next, make sure your teen completes a Drivers Ed class. Lastly, make sure you pay attention to our claim prevention ideas and follow all the laws and regulations.
Adding a new driver to your policy is as easy as giving your independent agent a phone call or an e-mail. We will need the new driver’s license number, name and the vehicle he or she will be driving. If you’re adding a new vehicle, we will also need the vehicle identification number for the new automobile.
The type of vehicle your teen drives is a major factor in the cost of coverage. It’s a pretty simple concept. The car you want he or she to drive (a four-door sedan) is going to cost a lot less to insure when compared to the car he or she wants to drive (a coupe, convertible or sports car).
Modifying your coverage limits is a subject you should mention to your independent agent. What I would recommend depends greatly on your own circumstances and risk tolerance. I will say the state minimum limits are inadequate and should only be used if financially necessary.
The leading cause of death for U.S. teens is motor vehicle crashes. Teens are at risk because they are more likely to drive aggressively, to not wear seatbelts and to underestimate the dangers associated with hazardous driving situations. When we talk about claim prevention, we’re talking about minimizing the risk of those three things.
The most straightforward approach to prevention is to just put it all the rules on paper and create a Teen-Parent Driving Contract. The contract will spell out your expectations on anything you feel like addressing, along with the punishment for breaking the contract. We recommend addressing issues like seat belts, cellphones, passengers and laws in your Teen-Parent Driving Contract.