Keeping teen coverage affordable

Question from Michael M. from West Clay: My son will be getting his license this spring. How do I add him to my policy, and what can I do to make sure I don’t have to get a second job to afford it?

Response from Jamie Ianigro: Adding a teen to your insurance policy is not the thing to do if you’re looking to keep your insurance costs down. But there are a couple of things you can do to make sure you are getting the best price. First, make sure your teen keeps his grades up. A good majority of carriers offer discounts for teens that maintain a “B” average or higher. Next, make sure your teen completes a driver’s ed class. Lastly, make sure you pay attention to our claim prevention ideas and follow all the current laws and regulations.

Adding a new driver to your policy is as easy as giving your independent agent a phone call or an email. We will need the new driver’s license number, name and the vehicle that they will be driving. If you’re adding a new vehicle, we will also need the vehicle identification number for the new auto.

The type of vehicle your teen drives is a major driver of the cost of coverage. The car you want them to drive (a four-door sedan) is going to cost a lot less to insure than the car they want to drive (a coupe, convertible or sports car).

Modifying your coverage limits is a subject you should run by your independent agent. I will say that the state minimum limits are inadequate and should only be used if financially necessary.

The leading cause of death for U.S. teens is motor vehicle crashes. Teens are at risk because they are more likely to drive aggressively, to not wear seatbelts and to underestimate the dangers associated with hazardous driving situations. When we talk about claim prevention, we’re talking about minimizing the risk of those three things.

The most straight-forward approach to prevention is to just put it all down on paper and create a Teen-Parent Driving Contract. The contract will spell out your expectations on anything you feel like addressing along with the punishment for breaking the contract. We recommend addressing some or all of these issues:

• Make sure every person in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt.

• Never use a cell phone while driving.

• Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle.

• Make sure you are familiar with our current Graduated Drivers License laws (current laws & regs can be viewed at