KNOXVILLE (WATE) – If your teen has turned 16, you’re probably nervous — both about the prospect of your child getting behind the wheel and all the costs associated with that new reality.
It could be reckless behavior or inexperience, but the fatal crash rate per mile for drivers ages 16 to 19 is three times that of drivers age 20 and older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. If your child gets into a fender bender or racks up tickets, your insurance company will automatically see your teen as a claims risk and raise your rates.
So, what do you do?
1. Driver’s Education
Invest in a good driver’s training program and embrace Tennessee’s graduated driver licensing program
The Graduated Driver License law provides for three phases of licensing for teens under 18 years of age: Learner Permit, Intermediate Restricted License, Intermediate Unrestricted License. To be issued as an intermediate driver’s license, your teen must be at least 16 years of age and must have held a valid learner permit for a minimum of 180 days. Then your teenager must have 50 hours of behind the wheel driving experience, including 10 hours of night driving before being issued an unrestricted license.
2. Enforce drive-time logs
The Insurance Institute says graduated licensing programs are associated with fewer teen fatalities and fewer insurance claims, but the programs can work only if you enforce them at home.
Don’t fudge numbers on the drive-time log and don’t turn a blind eye when your teen blatantly violates the restrictions on his or her license.
3. Don’t let your teen have their own car
Yes, it can be tempting to buy teens their own vehicles. That way, they won’t be constantly borrowing yours and potentially making a mess of it. However, there are good reasons to resist the temptation:
- Having a teen drive your car would make him or her a secondary driver rather than a primary one, a designation that can keep your premiums lower.
- Having a teen share the family vehicle may limit his or her driving time and buying another car means you’ll be paying insurance on another car.
4. Don’t make your teen get their own insurance policy.
Assuming you will be paying the premiums, it is almost always the better deal to add your teen to your policy rather than to purchase a separate one.
Your good driving should partially offset your teen’s potentially risky driving. Plus, your account might come with discounts not available on a teen’s policy.
5. Look for teen driver discounts
When you add your teen, ask the insurance company about discounts for new drivers.
Students with good grades might be eligible, those who take an approved safety course might also be eligible for discounts.
6. Consider a high deductible
One surefire way to reduce your premiums is to raise your deductible. Just make sure you have enough in the bank to cover it if needed.
Also, you could see how much it saves to drop collision or comprehensive coverage. However, do the math before deciding.