By Michelle Steele, CIC
Being a new driver is as exhilarating as it is financially concerning.
If you live in north-central Pennsylvania, you accept the fact that if you don’t live in one of the region’s larger towns that there is plenty of dirt, woods and road between places. Travel is an essential way of life.
Travel is not cheap. Vehicles are expensive these days. We all know that fuel prices are ever-growing. What about insurance for a teen driver?
Michelle Steele, a certified insurance counselor at Sarvey Insurance, states, “I empathize with customers who are looking for insurance solutions for their teen drivers.”
Steele continues, “I went through the experience with my children when they each were in the process of earning their Pennsylvania driver’s license.”
Steele offers some good advice for those who are wrestling with how to help their teen driver’s stay safe on the road and how to manage the often-significant costs associated with insuring a new driver.
The Learning Stage – Acquiring a Pennsylvania driver’s license is a six-step process for new drivers (visit Get a Driver’s License at dmv.pa.gov for details).
As part of the learning process, the Commonwealth requires 65 hours of adult-supervised skill building. This requires time behind the wheel and on the road. The road can be a dangerous place.
Steele suggests, “It is always a good idea to reach out to your insurance agent prior to your teen getting their learner’s permit; every insurance company knows that it is important to protect your young driver and will help you determine the best course of action.”
Some insurance companies may suggest a separate auto policy for your teen, while others may recommend adding the teen driver to your policy.
“This is also a good stage to impress driver safety upon your teen, as well as how it can impact the cost associated with their insurance,” Steele states.
I’m Legal! Stage – When a young driver earns their Pennsylvania driver’s license, many families struggle with the financial decision of whether it is better to help their teen purchase their own insurance policy or whether to keep them on their parent’s policy.
Steele comments, “Insuring a young driver can be expensive, but there are ways to help – discounts are one tangible way to help keep costs under control.”
Many auto insurance companies offer discounted rates for multiple vehicles or drivers on a policy, as well as for safety features inherent to the vehicle being operated by a young driver.
Steele adds, “Some of the insurance carriers that we work with at Sarvey Insurance provide a discount for being a good student; so, it’s always a good idea to inquire about how your son or daughter’s good grades can help.”
A formal defensive driving class may also help impact your young driver’s insurance rates.
Steele adds, “The best insurance strategy for reducing the cost of insurance for your young driver is reminding them that all accidents, even little fender-benders, matter.”
Insuring a new driver can present a challenge; however, it is important to keep in mind that, like many worthwhile pursuits in life, it requires a bit of planning.
“Six out of every 10 teen crashes involve drivers who are distracted;” Steele states, “we owe it to the next generation of drivers to set a solid example – the best means of managing insurance costs – period – is by keeping ourselves safe when behind the wheel.”
Common sense, mindfulness and being attentive to those around you are habits that contribute to better driving – and with better driving comes better insurance rates for all.