a teen driving a car after being added to their parents MA auto insurance policy

Parents can get a bit of a shock when it comes time to add a teenage driver to their policy. New, young drivers are the most expensive to insure.

However, following a few procedures and working with your Massachusetts independent insurance agent can help minimize your costs.

When Must You Insure a Teen Driver?

In Massachusetts, a teen driving with a learner’s permit typically does not need their own auto insurance policy. However, review your policy with your insurance agent to ensure they’re covered under your existing policy.

Once your teen starts driving independently, you’ll probably need to buy additional coverage. Buying a separate auto insurance policy for your teen can be expensive so many parents add them to their own policy instead, but be prepared for a premium increase.

Understand the Rules

As part of Massachusetts’ initiative to reduce teen accidents and deaths, the state requires young drivers to obtain a Junior Operator License. The most beneficial way to do this is through a Driver’s Ed course.

Drivers learn road safety and receive their MA junior operator’s license upon completion. This may qualify them for an insurance discount, too. While your teenager uses this license, they must follow certain restrictions.

Teens can’t carry passengers under 18 during the first 6 months, unless they’re siblings. They can’t drive late at night (12:30 am to 5:00 am) unless they’re with a parent or guardian. Drivers under 18 can’t use their cellphone while driving, unless it is to report an emergency.

Parents should review these rules with their teenager so they understand their limitations. It reduces risk of accidents and injuries. Some parents create a contract outlining restrictions, privileges, rules, and consequences and have their teen sign it.

Ride Along

Even after your teen passes their Class D license test, it doesn’t mean they’re totally prepared for driving. The first year of driving independently is the riskiest for them.

Parents should ride along with their teen and coach them. Your driver experience can help them recognize potential risks so they can avoid them. The National Safety Council’s Drive It Home program suggests you schedule 30 minutes of practice every week, before and after they get their license.

Choose the Right Vehicle

Buying a new vehicle for your teen driver can drive up your insurance costs significantly. If you want to buy new, make it a family car with specific rules for your teen. Alternatively, choose a less expensive used car to minimize your insurance costs.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides a list of safe used vehicles in the $2,000 to $20,000 range. Choices include cars with moderate horsepower, substantial size and weight, as well as Electronic stability control (ESC), and the highest possible safety ratings.

Discuss your potential purchase with your insurance agent before you buy as insurance costs can vary dramatically between vehicles.

Seek Advice

Insuring your vehicles and protecting your teen is a much simpler process when you rely on the professional advice of an independent insurance agent.

You may qualify for a discount if you bundle your vehicles, or your second vehicle may qualify for an occasional driver rate. Many insurers offer discounts if your teenager maintains good grades too.

Your agent can also examine whether increasing your deductible is a suitable course of action for you. A higher deductible leads to lower premiums, but it doesn’t suit all households.

One option your agent may suggest is usage-based insurance. The insurance company provides a device you install in your vehicle. It monitors your teens driving habits and rewards you through lower premiums when they perform well. Parents can use the data to review their teen’s habits and suggest ways they can improve.

Let Phil Richard Insurance tailor a Massachusetts auto insurance policy to suit your needs. We provide expert, unbiased advice and high-quality insurance products to protect you, your teen, and your property well.