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Does my son need car insurance to drive my car?

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Things to remember...
  • Adding a teen driver to your policy can lead to a drastic increase in rates
  • Insurance companies may refuse to cover claims if they were not aware of a driver
  • It is possible to bring rates down by asking for good student discounts and changing coverage levels

It’s an exciting time when kids start driving, but it can also be very expensive. However, simply being prepared for the changes can help you take a little control over the rise in costs.

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Keep the Insurance Company Informed

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Insurance companies like to be informed about potential changes to your risk level. If you fail to inform your insurance company of a new teen driver, you could wind up facing serious problems down the road.

If the company decides to view your omission as misrepresentation, then they could:

  • Refuse to cover an accident
  • Charge you back premiums going back to the date the license was issued
  • Forgive the oversight and cover the accident

Expect a Substantial Increase in Rates

You can expect a substantial increase in your auto insurance rates when you add the teen driver to your policy.

The fact is that car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. Reports show that the average increase for a teen driver is 79 percent.

Girls tend to see a more moderate increase in rates, and location makes a big difference in how far the premiums will go.

New Hampshire has the largest rate jumps for teen drivers with an average of 111 percent, and Hawaii has the most modest increase at just 17 percent.

One way to keep your premiums down is by raising the deductible for your teen driver on an assigned car. However, be sure to keep your liability limits high or even raise them in order to protect yourself from accident-related lawsuits.

Your Own Policy is Still the Best Bet

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You’ll find that it’s cheaper to put your child on your own policy than it is to go with a free-standing policy. You’ll then be able to take advantage of multi-vehicle discounts, and your son or daughter can benefit from your own good driving record.

One way to save is by assigning the least valuable car to your child and let the company know that he or she will not be driving the more expensive ones.

If you take this step, be aware that the insurance company may not cover an accident caused by your child if she drives one of the cars she’s not insured for.

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Learner’s Permit Requirements

In general, teens who are still on a learner’s permit and will only be driving under the supervision of a licensed adult do not need to be listed on a policy.

However, you may want to call your insurance company to confirm this information and be sure that your child will be covered in the event of an accident.

If you’re going to face high rates for simply having a new driver on a temporary permit, then you can shop around for a more understanding company.

Ways to Save on the Rates

The good news is that there are some ways to save on the rate increase associated with a teen driver.

In addition to shopping around for more attractive plans with affordable premiums, you can also:

  • Ask about good student discounts
  • Enroll your child in a certified driver education school
  • Delay the driving age from 16 to 17

Another benefit of delaying the age when your child starts driving is that 17-year-olds are 42 percent less likely to be involved in an accident.

Check the Coverages

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One way to keep the rates down for your teen driver is by revising the coverage or deductible. If your child is in an older car that’s worth less than $2,000, then it’s really not necessary to pay extra money for collision and comprehensive coverage.

This is a great option on cars that are owned outright, but you’ll want to set aside some money in a savings account so that you can cover damage yourself if there is an accident.

Before you blindly accept the change in premiums, shop around with other companies to see if they can provide you with better rates. Your child may qualify for discounts based on grades and driving classes.

You can also bring the cost down by eliminating comprehensive plans and raising deductibles.

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