Fact: Your Teen Will Be Driving Sooner Than You Think!

It’s as inevitable as the tide… if you are the parent of a teenager, one day soon your children will be old enough to climb behind the wheel of the family car and begin that rite of passage known as learning to drive! Just thinking about that day, whether it’s right around the corner or still a few years off, can cause the most stalwart of parents to quiver a bit at the knees. To add insult to injury, once your young charge passes his or her driver’s test, the next step is finding (and paying for) insurance coverage to protect them, and you, from financial disaster. Gasp!

Not to worry. While insuring your young driver can indeed put a huge dent in your family budget, it doesn’t necessarily need to be that way. There are tips and tricks you can use to staunch the flow of cash from your bank account, and bring the cost of insuring the newest driver in the family down to a manageable level. All you need to do is follow a few simple tips.

First, and before your son or daughter reaches driving age, find out what driver’s education options are available to them. Most likely their high school will offer a course, but it’s important to sign up early. In some school districts, a year in advance isn’t too soon. Some schools give preference to juniors and seniors. The best way to get all the details is to call the high school office. Someone there will be able to direct you.

Why is this so important? Simple… most car insurance companies offer a substantial discount for young drivers who have successfully completed driver’s education. If your school doesn’t offer a course, or the course is unavailable for some reason, don’t despair. Contact your local AAA office and ask if they have courses available. You may need to join the local chapter, but that’s a small price to pay for an ongoing insurance discount that could amount to several hundred dollars. If all else fails, you could also pay for private lessons. This is by far the most expensive choice, but still worth it if you have no place else to go. On the plus side, private lessons normally do the best job of preparing your child for everything they will face on the road.

Next, as soon as your young driver gets his or her learner’s permit, contact the company or agent where you have your auto policy. Tell them about the new driver, and ask for their lowest quote. It pays to think through some things before making this call, so you will be prepared for the questions they will be asking you.

What car will your son or daughter be driving, and how much will they be driving it? Your agent will want a rough idea of how many miles a week your child will be putting on the vehicle, so they can calculate a rate. It may pay you to limit your teen’s mileage for the first few months, and may also provide a safety buffer of time for them to get acclimated behind the wheel before they become a “full-time” driver.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but it may also save you some money to put your child behind the wheel of a newer vehicle, rather than an older car with fewer safety features. Air bags, anti-lock breaks, and daytime running lights all help keep rates down. Not only that, but you’ll definitely feel much better about them if they are driving your family’s newest, safest vehicle.

Finally, once your company has quoted you your new rate, including your young driver, take the time to get several competitive quotes from multiple local agents and national insurance companies. Many times you will find that you can get the same, or better coverage, for less, just by doing a little shopping around. Keep in mind, though, that you may lose any discounts you get for having all your coverage (home, life, auto) with one company. Compare carefully before you switch.

Rather than calling all over town to get your quotes, take advantage of the time-saving feature of the internet and use one of the websites that lets you obtain and compare car insurance quotes all in one place. If you get 7 or more quotes, you can be reasonably certain you have gotten the lowest rate available to you, and the whole process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete.

Now that you have armed yourself with these ideas, the thought of your teenager climbing behind the wheel shouldn’t be quite as frightening. Of course, you still need to teach them HOW to drive, but that’s a topic for another article. Let me know about your experience in the comments section below!

Tom Dunn is the owner and publisher of a series of Car Insurance websites offering money saving quotes, as well as tips, hints, and ideas on how to save money on automobile insurance. You can find more information at Auto Insurance Quotes or, if you are a Spanish speaking resident of the US, visit Seguro del Automóvil.

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