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A parent’s guide to insuring a teenage driver

Posted February 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Adding a teenage driver to your car insurance policy will raise your rates. But you can control how much they’ll climb.

Having teens drive a Camry rather than a Corvette, encouraging them to bring home report cards with A’s and B’s, and urging them to keep their driving records clean can all have a major impact on the rates.

There is a reason teenagers cost more to insure than adults. New drivers are among the most dangerous on the road, racking up tickets and accidents at rates several times the rate of the average adult driver. Rates for female teenage drivers are still substantially lower than male teenage drivers. If you have a liability-only vehicle for the teen to drive, that will save you a lot in premium dollars.

Yes, you have to insure your teen driver. Virtually every insurer will require that all licensed family members in a household be included on your policy, whether they drive your cars or not. You should let the insurer know when the child gets his or her learner’s permit, but the teen doesn’t need to be listed unless he or she has a driver’s license, or gets a school permit.

If you are divorced and have only part-time custody of your child, you’ll have to consult your insurance company, as each company has its own rules. The best case is that the parent with primary custody adds the new driver, and the worst case is that both parents have to add the child if the teen does not have a vehicle that they primarily drive.

Don’t overlook car insurance discounts. Many auto insurers offer a good student discount to teens who maintain at least a “B” average. At some carriers the discount can be as much as 25 percent.

If you add the teen to your auto policy, you can take advantage of discounts like multi-car, and if you have both auto and home insurance with the same carrier, a multi-policy discount. Most of Lane Insurance carriers offer a 15 percent multi-policy discount.

If your teen is off to college more than 100 miles from home and does not take a vehicle with him or her, carriers offer a distant student discount. The distant student discount can dramatically reduce your cost. If it is not necessary for your child to have a vehicle at college, keeping it at home can reduce the cost of the insurance by hundreds of dollars per year.

Information provided by Mike Lane, Lane Insurance Agency, Inc., 1225 Sunset Drive, (800) 244-4608.

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