Congratulations – You have a new driver in the household! Protect your child and your financial future!
Obtaining a driver’s license is a right of passage for a young person. Having the ability to get behind the wheel is a big step towards personal freedom. In fact, it’s a big deal for parents, too. As the father of a 14 year old, I recognize how much time will be saved by my wife and I when my daughter can drive herself to practice or to her friend’s house. I’m still not in a hurry for her to get a license, but I understand that the driver’s license provides new freedom for everyone in the house.
Unfortunately there are also significant risks and negative consequences of your teenager beginning to drive.
Teen drivers wreck more frequently and get hurt or worse. According to the CDC, in 2013, over two thousand teens ages 16-19 were tragically killed (over 6 per day) and over 240,000 were treated in emergency rooms as a result of a car accident. While young people represent one out of six people in the population, they account for almost one in three accidents.
Also, when your teenage driver is behind the wheel of your vehicle, every asset you have ever worked for and every asset you will work for the remainder of your life is sitting on the hood of your car. It is possible that a serious accident can result in the loss of significant assets.
Finally, your insurance costs will rise dramatically. Because teens cause more accidents, they cost more to insure.
Here are six things that the Choice Insurance Agency recommends that you do when your teenager begins driving to keep your child safe, your insurance costs down, and protect your financial future:
- Add your child to your policy right away. In Virginia, Nationwide does not require drivers to be added when they obtain a permit, only once they have obtained their full license to drive.
- Raise your liability limits as high as possible, especially if you have liquid assets to protect and an income. Consider adding an umbrella policy to extend your liability coverages over what your auto policy provides. It’ll be your least expensive policy with the most important coverage. Keep the insurance company on the hook for as much money as possible to make sure that even in a serious accident, the insurance company will defend you through the entire process instead of paying the policy limits and closing the claim.
- Add “SmartRide”* to your policy. “SmartRide” will add an immediate discount to your policy and will generate a potentially larger discount after six months. More importantly, though, “SmartRide” allows you to monitor your child’s driving habits for six months and receive mobile alerts if they exceed parameters that you set. The first six months of a teen driving is the time that they are most at risk. *Subject to availability.
- Add a small permanent life policy with guaranteed insurability on your child. Adding this policy when a child begins to drive is a perfect time. With Nationwide, the cost may be completely offset by a package discount you receive on the auto policy, if you’re not already receiving a discount for life insurance. The policy can gain cash value, and once your child is old enough to appreciate the policy, you can sign it over to them if you would like. Best of all, by adding guaranteed insurability, your child will be able to increase their coverage over their lifetime regardless of their health or any other factor.
- Have your teenager sign a contract agreeing to:
- Always buckle up
- Never drive under the influence
- Never operate their cell phone or text while driving
- Only allow a limited number of passengers
- Control the behavior of passengers or pull over and stop
- Never drive recklessly or over the speed limit
- Not driving during certain times or over certain distances, as you see fit
- Never drive drowsy
The contract should also acknowledge that driving is a privilege and a responsibility that, as a parent, you may remove if they do not adhere to the agreement. You may add in other requirements such as grades or that the child pay the increased cost of insurance to add them, or the difference in cost if they’re not receiving a B average in school. You may customize the agreement to fit your circumstances. To receive a sample contract, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the quick contact request and we’ll gladly send you a copy.
- Review your policy with us and make updates to lower your costs. There may be new discounts that weren’t available to you when you purchased your policy.
At The Choice Insurance Agency, our goal is to help you plan, achieve and protect. Following these six steps will keep your new driver safe, keep your costs down, and protect your financial future. The Choice Insurance Agency proudly insures thousands of households and small businesses throughout Hampton Roads including the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Portsmouth and beyond!
The Choice Insurance Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events. In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations. See what The Choice Insurance Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-416-5100 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Choice Insurance Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-416-5100 .