How your child’s new driver’s permit will change your auto policy.
By Stacey Schloop
High school brings a lot of changes to a child’s life. New school, new friends, new activities and new skills – like driving.
When your teenager gets his or her driver’s permit, the first phone call you should make is to your insurance agent. Don’t worry – adding your child to your policy at this stage likely won’t cost you any extra. Ask to have them added as a “non-rated” driver – this lists them as having a permit but prevents extra charges until they actually pass their road test.
Once they pass the road test, there are a few things your insurance company can do to help get you extra discounts.
Discounts for New Drivers:
- Good Student Discount: If your child has a B+ average or better in school, many companies will apply a “Good Student Discount” to your auto policy.
- Driver’s Training Discount: If your child was enrolled in a driver training program through their school, this may also qualify them for a discount. Note that enrollment in any driving school or program will not automatically qualify you for this discount – the program must have been offered through your child’s high school or regular academic institution.
- Defensive Driving: Just like you can make yourself eligible for a discount by taking a defensive driving course, so can your child do the same. This discount will only apply if the child listed as a primary driver, though – it will not apply if they are simply an occasional operator. Be sure to talk to an agent or consultant about this discount. Oftentimes, having your child listed as an occasional operator without a defensive driving discount is less expensive than having them listed as a primary driver with a defensive driving discount.
What you need to know before giving your child a car of their own:
If you are thinking of giving your child a car of his or her own, talk to a professional insurance agent about your options. If there are three vehicles on the policy and you add your child as a third driver, your child must become a primary driver on one of the cars. Consider carefully which of the cars you want to list them as a primary driver of, though. The cheapest policy option will not always be on the cheapest car. The cost of listing your child as a car’s primary driver will be influenced by the car’s safety features, age and symbol codes (how well the car performed during crash testing). There are a lot of behind-the-scenes factors insurance agents can help you consider when determining which vehicle you want to list your child as primary for.