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Q

Should I put my teenage son or daughter on my car insurance policy?


A

Yes, you should put your teenage son or daughter on your car insurance policy, but you should also shop around when they come of age.

You could save a lot when you are adding a young driver to your policy if you're willing to shop around. Most companies have a good rating tier for mature adults, while others have a good rating tier for mature adults with children. This forces you to shop around for the best rate when your son or daughter turns 15 or 16.

Every company varies on their rules about charging insurance premiums for families with a driver with a learner's permit, therefore you have to notified the company about the teen driver with a learner's permit. Some policies automatically extend coverage to a newly licensed driver because he or she is defined as an insured by being related to you by blood, marriage or adoption, and by being a resident of your household, but you have to notify the company to verify the coverage is automatically extended. As insurance agents, we have seen situations where parents didn't notify their insurance company, the child gets into an accident, and the company guidelines wouldn't extend coverage. Please notify your insurance company and shop around for better rates if your company's rate is too high.

CarInsurance.com makes this process simple, since we know that shopping for car insurance takes time. Use our online quote form to get a 10 minute rate and compare companies, compare prices with and without the teenage driver on the quote.

The cost of adding a teenage driver varies, just like all the other factors that go into rating a policy. Boys generally cost 10 percent to 30 percent more than girls to insure at a young age. The National Safety Council says that drivers 16 and 17 are three times more likely to be in a traffic accident than adults ages 25 to 64. This means that you have to make sure you have more than enough insurance on your young drivers. It does make it difficult to pay higher premiums at a time when your child needs the most coverage. We can't stress the need to purchase higher liability limits and higher PIP or Medical Payments coverage (especially if you don't have your family insured on a health insurance policy). If your family has a health insurance policy, you may want to only increase your liability limits and rely on your health insurance policy for medical coverage.

Your insurance premium will increase when you put your teenager on your auto policy, therefore you need to seek ways to save money. Shopping is important, but you can also looks for discounts. Parents receive discounts for being married, maintaining good driving records, owning multiple cars and carrying homeowners insurance with the same company. For your child, your rate can go down if your teen gets good grades or establishes a good driving record (which takes time). Most companies offer discounts to students with good grades, generally a B average or higher. Be aware that you shouldn't necessarily seek companies that offer this discount, because you will find companies that don't offer the discount but they are much cheaper than those that do. If you require your son or daughter pay for all or part of the incremental cost of adding them to the policy, they may feel a higher incentive to drive responsibly and get good grades.

We don't recommend getting an older car for your teenager just to save on auto insurance (not just because we are insurance agency, but for the right reasons). Older cars lack safety features and at the age of 16 to 21, safety features are more important than saving a few dollars on car insurance. If you have an older vehicle and the child is planning to drive it primarily, make sure you tell your insurance company so you are not charged for the teenager driving your car as their primary vehicle.

Good luck and continue to protect your family with great insurance coverage. That should be the main motivation for buying insurance. Like Nicholas Barbon offered in the 1600's, protection for your family and property is most important.


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