The day your teen starts to drive is both a blessing and a curse. You’ve been toting him or her around with their friends for years. You’re ready for your teen to spread their wings and fly. What you’re not ready for, however, is the anxiety and fear that comes with your son or daughter being on the road on their own. While you’ll be spending months teaching them the basics of driving, this is a time of learning for both your teen and you.
This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when your teenager starts to drive, but a conversation needs to happen with your insurance agent. Adjusting your insurance to cover the new risk is crucial. Discuss the effects of having a new, inexperienced driver on your policy. Having this conversation will inform you about all the risks and responsibilities that come with your teenager becoming a licensed driver. Because your teenager is a minor, you are still financially responsible for them. You are obligated to sign for this responsibility at the time your teenager gets his/her permit or license.
What exactly does being financially responsible for your teenager mean? This puts all of your assets at risk–your home, car, savings, etc. This is because if your teen has an accident that exceeds your liability limits, the other party can hire a lawyer to get proper compensation for injuries and damage. If necessary, the judge will garnish your wages. A conversation with your agent is so important–they will help you decide whether you need higher limits to help protect your assets.
Yet another financial responsibility you’ll face is if your teenager gets a speeding ticket. This will increase your insurance rates substantially. It’s possible that with just a few speeding tickets your insurance premium could increase by up to thousands of dollars–and not just for the first year, but for up to three to five years following, potentially leading to policy cancellation.
Your knowledge of what’s at stake is one thing. You must also make sure your teenager knows what kind of risks you’re facing as a family. To help reduce the risks, it’s a good idea to only allow your teen certain privileges–enforce a curfew and do not allow passengers until your son or daughter is more experienced. Set boundaries and rules to help teach your teen, and allow them more privileges when you feel they are ready.
Don’t go into this blind–know your risks and be prepared to help prevent unfavorable circumstances.