• By: Hank Stout
  • Published: August 2019
Tips for Adding a Teenage Driver to Your Car Insurance

For many, the summer provides the best time to teach your teenager how to drive.

Or maybe your teenager already knows how to drive and now you’re dropping your teen off for the first year of college.

It is very important to have the proper insurance coverage for your young driver whether they live at home or on-campus.

Why Is Adding a Teenager So Expensive?

AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that drivers ages 16-17 continue to have the highest rates of crash involvement, injuries to themselves and others and deaths of others in crashes in which they are involved. The leading cause is driver inexperience. Drivers under the age of 25 are considered to be high-risk drivers. Therefore, adding a child to your insurance is likely to raise your rates significantly.

As a Texas driver, state law requires that you purchase and maintain car insurance as an indication of your proof of financial responsibility. Texas law qualifying auto insurance policy must have:

  • $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
  • $60,000 in bodily injury coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident

The amount of coverage that you select and the deductible will determine how much your auto insurance will cost. State law does not require you to purchase additional insurance policies such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. However, if you are involved in a car accident someone will be found liable for injuries and damages.

Do I need to add my teenager with a learner’s permit?

Whether or not you need to add your teenager with a learner’s permit to the car insurance will depend on the insurance company’s rules. A driver with a learner’s permit is required to have a licensed driver at least 21 years old to accompany them when they are behind the wheel. It’s always good to talk to your insurance company to determine the coverage needs in your household.

When do I notify my insurance company?

Once your child turns 16 or obtains his or her driver’s license, it is best to notify the insurance company. Adding your child as a driver to your policy can increase your rate between $1,000-3,000 annually. If you avoid adding your child and he or she is involved in an accident, the insurance company may bill you for the extra premiums that you missed, deny your claim, or choose not to renew your policy.

In addition, if your child is leaving for college it is important to notify your insurance company that they will be relocating for school. An insurance representative can provide you with an updated rate based on the zip code or coverage since that is determined by state law.

How can I reduce the cost of having a teenage driver on my policy?

There are three important factors to keep in mind when adding your teenage driver to your policy.

  • Customize options: Extend your coverage to cover your driver whether they are operating a vehicle or not. This will protect them whether they are a driver or a passenger.
  • Ask for discounts:  If there is more than one vehicle, the same policy can qualify for a student accident, accident forgiveness, or a multi-car discount. Insurance companies also offer renter’s insurance which can be beneficial if your child is away for college.
  • Driver’s education: Most insurance companies will provide a discount if a young driver attends and completes a driver’s education or a defensive driving program.

Car insurance companies use driving age, years of experience, car, and location as major rating factors to determine your premium. It is important to talk to your child about driving responsibly and how their driving record plays a role into adulthood. The best way to maintain a good rate is to make sure your teen keeps a clean driving record.

About the Author

Hank Stout is a founding partner at Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm. Hank earned his doctor of jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law and has been actively trying personal injury cases for over ten years. He was recognized by Thompson Reuters as a Rising Star from 2012-2014 and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer since 2014 (a distinction given to less than 1% of the lawyers in the state of Texas). He has earned a Superb rating by Avvo, and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To learn more, read Hank's full bio here.

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