Getting a driver's license is a thrilling rite of passage for your teen—and for you (no more chauffeuring your kiddo to soccer practice and dance class). Your household's newly licensed driver may be eager to hit the streets—but first, they need coverage. So read on to learn about auto insurance for new drivers.
When a new driver gets a driver’s license, how are they covered?
New drivers, including teens, need to have auto coverage. At a minimum, they need liability coverage. If they cause an accident, this coverage pays for the other driver’s auto repairs and injuries. Before buying a policy, check your state’s coverage requirements, whether you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Utah, or Wyoming.
You can usually save on car insurance for teens by adding them to a parent or guardian's policy, which is cheaper than purchasing a separate policy. Your teen can join your policy if they drive a family car—not their own—and they live under your roof.
If your teen owns his or her car, however, they'll need their own policy. While buying a separate policy is pricier than simply hopping onto your own, there are often discounts available, so talk to your agent.
For extra protection, add optional coverage like personal injury protection (required in Utah). If your teen has an accident, this coverage will help pay expenses like medical bills for your teen and any passengers. And if you worry about your kid getting sideswiped by another driver who doesn’t have insurance, ease your mind by adding uninsured property damage coverage. This helps pay for damages if your teen gets hit by a driver who doesn’t have coverage—or doesn’t have enough.
Tips on Teen Driver Safety
While having the right auto insurance coverage can provide you peace of mind, you can't always be in the car with your teen. Here are ways to help them stay safe on the road.
- Ride along with your teen for 30 to 50 hours—while it’s raining, in heavy traffic, at different times of day—so they can log some supervised driving experience before striking out on their own.
- Limit your teen's nighttime driving. Make sure they’re off the road by 9 or 10 p.m. at least for the first six months.
- Require seat belts at all times.
- Prohibit driving under the influence. Share stories about teens who’ve lost their lives while driving impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Dialing a phone while driving ups your teen’s chance of having an accident sixfold, and texting while driving increases the risk of crashing by 23 times.
- Talk to your teen about other driving distractions, like eating or putting on makeup. Taking their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, can cost a life.
- Have your teen sign a driving agreement that lays out your rules in writing.
- Be a good role model. Drive safely to set an example.
- Put the brakes on buying your teen a new car. Kids are more likely to speed in their own car than while driving the family car, according to research by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
What driving discounts and programs does AAA offer teens and other new drivers?
Newbie drivers don't have much behind-the-wheel experience, so they tend to have more accidents. And teen drivers aren't just new drivers, they're also young. That translates to greater risk and pricier auto insurance. (Check out a few things to consider for your 16- to 18-year-old driver.)
But fear not: AAA offers some special discounts on auto insurance for teens that can add up to big savings.
- Teens can get up to a 24% safe driver discount when they complete the AAA teenSMART program (available in Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming). This safe driving program doesn’t just shave down your premium, it’s also proven to help kids avoid accidents.
- High schoolers and college students who hit the books can get a good student discount if they have a verifiable GPA of 3.0 or higher. Get savings of up to 14.5% depending on where you live.
- Students living away from home, such as college students, can use AAA’s distant student discount to save up to 30% on auto coverage in Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. To qualify, students must attend and live at a school more than 100 miles from home and not have a car at school.
Of course, when your teen becomes a AAA Member, they enjoy all the perks that come with membership, including the legendary AAA roadside assistance program. So if your teen gets stranded, you can rest easy knowing that expert help is on the way. Plus, you can add your teen to your own AAA Membership at a discounted rate.