Once your teenage child turns 16, they can legally apply for a learner’s permit. This permit allows your teen to practice driving on public roads, provided that someone with a legal driver’s license rides with them in the car’s front seat.
Statistically, teenagers are more likely to be involved in road accidents due to a lack of experience and risky behavior. As a result, sufficient auto insurance coverage is crucial. Additionally, as with auto insurance for adults, certain types of coverage are mandatory for teen drivers.
Insuring a teen driver can be expensive. However, by picking the right policy, you can maximize your savings while protecting your child and mitigating your risk of financial loss due to vehicle damage, medical bills, and compensation claims.
In this guide, our knowledgeable team at Miller Hanover Insurance discusses how to choose the right auto insurance for your teen driver.
Learner Driver Insurance – Overview
Before choosing an auto insurance policy for your teen driver, you should understand your state’s legal requirements.
As you likely know, the law requires all vehicle owners to carry liability insurance on a registered motor vehicle. However, depending on the circumstances, a teen driver with a learner’s permit may not need additional coverage.
Before Taking the Test
Suppose your teen, who has a learner’s permit, uses your car to practice while you are in the car with them. In this case, your vehicle’s existing liability insurance policy provides coverage in the event of an accident, but only if:
- Your home is your teen’s primary residence
- The policy meets the liability coverage minimums under state law
Suppose your teen is a learner driver but uses their own car to log practice hours. In this case, state law mandates learner driver insurance, even if you are driving with them.
You can add your teen driver to your insurance policy or help them take out their own policy. Most insurance companies allow policyholders to add learner drivers at no additional cost. Before your teen takes their road test, they must provide proof that the vehicle is insured.
After Passing the Test
Once your teen passes their driver’s license test, they must carry insurance under state law, even if they are driving your currently insured vehicle. If your teen used your car to practice and doesn’t have insurance, you can add them to your policy or help them buy their own coverage.
If your teen is already on your policy as a learner driver, and they pass their driver’s license test, you can expect your premium to increase. At this point, you should decide between adding your teen to your policy or buying separate insurance.
Teen Driver Insurance Coverage
Before you start evaluating carriers, shopping for policies, and looking for ways to get discounts, you should know what coverage your teen needs.
You cannot get around your state’s mandatory liability insurance requirements. For example, in Pennsylvania, all drivers must have insurance to protect third parties with the following minimums:
- $15,000 per person for personal injury
- $30,000 per road accident for personal injury
- $5,000 per accident for property damage
In addition to these minimums, your teen must have at least $5,000 in medical benefits coverage. The medical benefits under an auto insurance policy may be an affordable supplement to health insurance for your teen.
While these minimum insurance levels ensure compliance with state law, they typically don’t offer sufficient protection after accidents.
Your teen also needs uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This coverage protects your teen if they are in an accident that is someone else’s fault and the liable party doesn’t have insurance.
Other types of coverage to consider for your teen include:
- Comprehensive coverage: These policies cover damages resulting from theft, fire, hailstorms, or other unforeseen events.
- Collision coverage: This type of insurance covers vehicle damage due to a collision with an object or another vehicle.
Ideally, you shouldn’t try to save on premiums by waving the coverage your teen needs. Also, don’t choose a limited-tort policy, as your teen will forfeit the right to sue a liable party for pain and suffering after an accident. Instead, do extensive research to find a policy that offers sufficient coverage at an affordable rate.
Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Policy for Your Teen
Consult your insurance carrier to determine if you can add your teen’s coverage and car to your policy. You have likely already reached several milestones, such as being married, insuring multiple cars, and maintaining low-risk employment.
As a result, your teen’s premium under your existing policy may be lower than what they will pay under their own policy. However, remember that your teen’s driving record can impact your rate if you are on the same policy.
When adding your teen to your policy, indicate which car they will drive. Your premium will likely increase if your carrier adds your teen to every car on your policy.
Before adding your teen to your policy, compare quotes from other carriers. Some insurance companies also offer discounts to teen drivers. Discounts to look for include:
- Driver training discounts: Some insurance carriers offer discounts to students who have completed a driving course. This training aims to teach students defensive and compliant driving to avoid accidents and compensation claims.
- Good-grade discounts: If your teen is in high school or college, some insurance companies may offer a discount if the teen maintains a minimum GPA.
- Low-mileage discounts: This discount benefits teens who don’t drive often. For example, if your teen takes the bus to class and only uses a car for weekend trips, you can save more on auto insurance.
If your teen is in college without a car, you may be apprehensive about keeping them insured. However, when they come home for the holidays, you must pick up the insurance again, and coverage lapses may increase your rates.
Ideally, you should maintain your teen’s insurance to prevent rate increases. UM/UIM coverage and medical benefits are crucial, as your teen will likely be a passenger in other people’s cars while at school.
Tips for Saving on Your Teen’s Insurance
In addition to doing your homework, comparing quotes, and taking advantage of discounts, there are several things you can do to reduce your teen’s insurance rates:
Select a Suitable Car
Generally, a small, reliable hatchback or sedan with sufficient safety features is ideal for a teen driver. Unlike luxury brands and SUVs, smaller vehicle profiles have a lower risk for theft. These cars are generally also fuel-efficient with low running costs.
Insurance costs on used vehicles are generally low. However, before buying a used car, ensure that it is reliable.
Remove Unnecessary Coverage
Some insurance add-ons that increase costs are unnecessary for your teen driver. Paying more for add-ons, such as gap coverage, custom equipment coverage, and rental car reimbursements, may not be necessary. On the other hand, liability, medical benefits, and uninsured motorist coverage are crucial and should be available on your teen’s insurance policy.
Miller Hanover Insurance – Partner With an Independent Agency
At Miller Hanover Insurance, we provide a quick and straightforward process for choosing the right auto insurance policy for teen drivers. We represent various reputable insurance carriers, which means you can choose from hundreds of policies. Additionally, we make side-by-side quote comparisons possible, eliminating overwhelm and confusion.
Our professional team of agents is ready to help you find the best insurance policy for your teen and answer any questions. Visit our website or call us to ensure your teen has sufficient coverage on the road.Filed Under: Insurance News