Insurance Advice for Parents of Young Drivers
Having a young driver in the household can be both a blessing and a curse. You are happy your child is finding their independence and getting themselves to hockey practice but at the same time, watching them drive off in your car (yes you are now stuck at home with no car) can be some cause for anxiety. I am just going through this now and thought I would send out a few tips regarding young drivers and the world of insurance.
Tips from an account manager with a 16 year old son
- Seems like just yesterday they got their G1 and now they are pulling out of your driveway with their G2 in hand. They now have up to 5 years before they have to go and get their full G license. Don’t let them wait that long. With many insurance companies, their insurance rating will stall and not improve until they are fully G licensed. As well most companies will give a graduated license discount for the year following the move to the next licensing level. This discount will drop off a year after they get their G2 but can be added back on when they get their G. Let’s face it, insuring kids is not cheap and the more we can do to keep those costs down, the better.
- Be prepared if you buy them their own car to drive as they will have to be rated as the principal driver. We get calls all the time saying there are now three cars in the household and three drivers but the child is just an “occasional” driver. That won’t work. If there are three cars and three drivers, each driver must be assigned as a principal driver on one of the vehicles.
- Remind them how much a driving conviction will hurt them. Not only will it cost them the price of the ticket and the points on their license, insurance companies use tickets as one of the main factors in deciding eligibility for insurance. As a new driver, even a single ticket can cause you to be rated as a high risk driver (depending on severity of the conviction).
- Educate them on what to do if they have an accident. Getting into even a minor fender bender is scary and they may not always be able to call you. Make sure they know where the registration is and make sure they always drive with their license on them. Have them download the liability card from our mobile app onto their phone so they always know where it is. Visit the claims section of our website for more information on what to do in the event of an accident.
- Don’t let them lend out your car and remind them that if they drive someone else’s car, they have the potential to mess up that person’s driving record. When you lend your vehicle you lend your driving record. My son informed me that he drove his friend’s car the other day. What? For some reason, they think lending a car is along the same lines as riding a friend’s bike. I know for a fact it is not the friend’s car but the family car. Had my son had an accident, the accident would have to be charged against a listed driver on that car’s policy. As my son is not a listed driver, it would likely get charged against the friend’s dad. I can just imagine how that would play out. Needless to say, unless there is an emergency, my son has been instructed to never just drive a young friend’s car or let his friends drive mine.
- If your child is better at saving their money than my son, and have purchased their own vehicle; congratulations on raising a child who knows the value of money. If the car is registered in their name, the insurance must be in their name as well. As the premiums are high for young drivers, most policies are paid on a monthly payment plan. Whatever happens, do NOT let that policy get cancelled for non-payment. A cancellation for non-payment on your insurance record has a huge impact on your ability to secure insurance in the future. It can affect driving record, eligibility into the regular insurance market and the ability to secure monthly payment plans. Many parents ensure their children have overdraft protection on their accounts or set up the payments to come from their own account and have their children reimburse them just as a precaution. Let’s face it, they are kids and they will mess up from time to time so a safety net is not a bad thing.
They are kids and they will most likely mess up. We have to let them go some time and this is just going to be one more milestone in the journey. If we are lucky, they will one day drive off to be productive members of society and have a really good driving record when that happens.
Heather Bonadie Account Manager