Don't overlook car insurance discounts
If your teen can't get by without wheels, check with your insurer to see what types of discounts might be available.
A study done for Nationwide in 2010 of almost 1,500 parents of teens between the ages of 15 and 19 found auto insurance costs soared an average of $800 a year just by adding a teenager to their policy.
Many auto insurers offer good-student discounts to teens who maintain at least a B average. At Nationwide, that discount reaches 25%, says spokeswoman Elizabeth Stelzer.
Like many other companies, Nationwide also offers discounts if your teen completes a driver's education course, Stelzer says. And bundling multiple insurance policies, like auto, homeowners and life insurance, will also cut costs.
And as with adults, the cleaner the driving record, the lower the insurance costs.
If your teen heads off to college, lives more than 100 miles from home and doesn't have a car on campus, you're also likely to get a break on your auto insurance, Walbert says. That's because the teen isn't a regular operator of the vehicle but still can drive it when he or she comes home on break.
Asserting your parental influence
Several insurance companies offer monitoring devices that keep an eye on your teen's driving behavior. That may mean sending you a notification if your teen does something he or she is not supposed to do, providing the teen with verbal feedback or transmitting video of the driving using a two-way camera.
Depending on the system installed, it might monitor certain specified behaviors, like speeding, seat-belt usage, hard braking and cornering, arrival and departure times, or moving the car when it isn't supposed to be moved.
One deterrent to widespread use of such devices may be their cost, as well as the monthly monitoring fee, Rader says.
With the Teensurance program from Safeco, auto insurance discounts of up to 15% are offered if the Safety Beacon GPS-based system is used.
"We want to create a tool that helps parents and teens having a discussion about what safe practices are," says Shawn Anderson, product innovation architect at Liberty Mutual Insurance, which owns Safeco.
Another option is technology that blocks cellphone calls and text messages when a vehicle is in motion, Rader says.
And Ford has introduced MyKey on some vehicles, which can be programmed to limit a vehicle's top speed or the volume of audio devices, he says.
"A lot of technology exists and will become more widely available in the future," Rader says.
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Marcy, i live near Chicago and im looking to enroll my son to a school this summer. Which school did you take her? Also, would you recommend it?
Great article. I recently enrolled my child in a drivers ed program in Chicago. I have to say she is a great driver. She still has to learn the fundamentals of this tough snow driving and like any teenager they think they know it all.
So far so good. Seems like the instructor gave her descent instruction. As she was adequate to drive by the time i took her on the road. I was told that she does not need to be insured under a instruction permit. I will double check this as this article raised some concerns with me.
In Rogers Park Chicago. Northwestern driving school. I can't give you a comparison against other schools as this is my first child taking drivers ed.
They were courteous and helpful with my questions. So i would recommend them.
I am an insurance agent, and also the father of teenagers. In New York, there is no way to get around listing your teenage driver on your insurance, and they will be automatically added as the driver of the most expensive vehicle to insure, so if you have a Corvette, they will be listed as primarily driving the Corvette! If you have an expensive vehicle, then possibly the best option is to get them their own vehicle & insurance, and exclude them on your policy.
In my case, I was lucky that my son was responsible and avoided tickets for the most part. He was also given a vehicle by his grandparents, which we added to our insurance to save him on insurance. He pays the costs of his being added onto the policy out of his own money. If he had been irresponsible, we would not have done that for him, and would have insisted that he get his own policy!
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