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Getting their first drivers license is a rite of passage for most teenagers.  While teenagers may rejoice at their new-found freedom, having their child go solo behind the wheel may have parents quivering with fear.  That fear isn’t without reason.  According to CDC statistics, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than any other age group.  Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 only make up 14% of the U.S population but they account for as much as 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.  The combination of immaturity and inexperience make teen drivers more likely to be involved in collisions and more expensive to insure.

So what’s a parent to do? Safety should be a high priority for any driver, but it’s particularly important to emphasize for new teenage drivers.  One of the most important steps is simply putting your teen in a safe car.  Don’t choose a flashy sports car or a vehicle with a high rollover rate like an SUV.  The best car for a teenage driver is a basic, reliable used car with a good safety rating. 

Texas requires driver education programs for teenagers to get a license, so whether you teach your child yourself or enroll him or her in a private or school-related program make sure that your child completes the state requirements.  Be sure you set a good example behind the wheel as well.  If your child sees you engaging in risky behaviors behind the wheel, your child is likely to do as you do and not as you say.  If you don’t want your teen texting behind the wheel, make sure you aren’t driving while distracted either.  It’s also important to make sure your teen understands both the dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of being fully alert and attentive behind the wheel.

You should also talk to your teen about the cost of insurance and how having an accident can impact costs and premiums.  Privilege comes with responsibility, and teenagers need to understand that auto insurance costs have to be factored into driving costs right along with car payments and gasoline.  If your insurer offers good grade discounts you might want to make sure your teen knows that too.  To save money on your policy, it’s usually best to add your teen to your auto insurance policy rather than getting a separate policy for your teen.  If possible, talk to your insurer about adding your teen as a driver on the least expensive car you own.  You might also want to consider lowering your deductible or raising your liability coverage when you add a teen driver. 

If you are adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy, there’s no better time to evaluate your coverage.  Contact us to make sure your auto insurance fully covers your needs.