Prepare your teens for safe driving
If you are a parent of a teenage driver, your child's safety is your first concern. Though you cannot always be by their side, there are things you can do to help keep them safe behind the wheel. Educating yourself and your new teen driver about the risks and insurance implications of unsafe driving can save lives and money.
While teen driving statistics are troubling, research suggests parents who set rules cut accident risk in half. Talk openly about your expectations for behind-the-wheel behavior.
- Draw up a formal Teen Driving Contract that clearly defines the rules and consequences associated with driving privileges.
- Set a driving curfew. More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Limit the number of passengers allowed in your teen’s car. For teenagers, the relative risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of passengers increases.
- Make all cell phone use off-limits while driving. Texting or talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident.
- Encourage your teen to exercise his or her rights as a passenger. Only 44 percent of teens say they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.
Keep Costs Down
Adding a teen driver to your auto insurance policy can be costly. Make sure you and your teen driver understand how even minor fender-benders can drive up costs. Consider the following tips:
- Try to keep both you and your teen’s driving records free from accidents and moving violations. Many companies grant discounts to drivers whose records have been clean for three or more years.
- Enroll your teen in a defensive driving course. Some companies offer discounts if your teen completes one.
- Encourage your teen to uphold a good grade-point average. Many insurance companies offer discounts or preferred rates for teens who maintain good grades.
- Ask your insurance company about an “accident forgiveness” clause that guarantees premiums will not increase after one minor accident.
- Consider raising your policy’s deductible and only allowing your teen to drive the family’s oldest, least expensive car. In most states, auto insurance premiums are linked to the type of vehicle driven. SUVs, convertibles and sports cars typically cost more to insure.
- Install a smartphone application that limits or prevents texting and driving.
While education and preparation can help, accidents still happen. In the event of an auto accident, make sure everyone knows what steps to take to stay safe and protect their identity. NAIC's free WreckCheck app for iPhone® and Android® walks you through what to do — and not do — after an accident. The app helps users collect necessary information on the spot, then immediately email a report to your home and your insurance agent.
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