Do I have to insure my teenage driver? That's a common question among parents of new drivers. It all depends on your state's laws and your insurance company's requirements. If your teen will be a regular driver of the car, the answer is most commonly, "Yes." It can also be cheaper to do so, points out Time magazine's NextAdvisor website.
As a teenager, one of the most exciting points of life is getting a driver's license. Of course, getting behind the wheel means they have to have at least basic insurance. Even though an insurance policy covers the use of a vehicle, rather than individual drivers, many parents opt to add their teen drivers to their insurance policy, but you don't always have to do this. Reviewing your policy to find out when to add teenagers to car insurance policies will help you remain better safe than sorry.
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Check Your State's Regulations
Regulations about adding a teenager to your auto insurance vary by state. In some states – North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Maryland – you must add your teen driver to your policy when they get their permit.
Check with your insurance company to see if this is true in your state – if so, get your insurance before your child gets his permit, advises Debt.org. In other states, you may wait until your teen has his driver's license, or you may opt not to add him at all, letting him have a separate policy. It's mandatory if you give your child title to a car.
The Amount of Driving Matters
Many auto insurance policies extend at least a limited amount of your coverage to those to whom you lend your vehicle, because the insurance follows your vehicle, not the driver. If your teen isn't going to drive your vehicle much, you may be better off relying on the lending clause, as adding your teen formally may raise your premiums.
However, if your teen is going to be driving frequently, the insurance company will see that your insurable interest in your son is clear and likely will want you to add him.
Getting Him His Own Policy
An alternative to putting your teen on your own insurance policy is to help them get an insurance policy of their own. This sometimes requires your teen to have a car of their own. This way, if your teen gets in an accident, the accident has no chance of raising your own insurance premiums.
Ideally, your teen should pay for their policy on their own so he learns auto responsibility, but if your teen can't swing the premiums alone, you can give him what he needs to pay for the policy. You can help your teen save money on the premiums by getting him an older vehicle that isn't a sports model. In general, it's cheaper to add your teen driver to your existing policy than it is to pay premiums for an additional policy.
To help determine whether to add your teen to your insurance policy, should contact the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Insurance for your state. Your insurance agent also can answer the question, "Can I add my son to my car insurance policy?" and advise you on when adding your teen is a good idea, given your insurance company's specific regulations. If possible, get your answer in writing or via an email. This might protect you if you got bad advice and have to deal with an accident later.