Insuring a New (Teen) Driver

by Michael on Nov 12, 2012 · 3 comments

Photo of a Car Along the Roadside After an Accident

Our oldest son turned 15 about a month ago and is on the cusp of getting his driver’s permit.

While he’s still a year from getting his driver’s license, this milestone has gotten me to thinking about car insurance.

So… I decided to call and get some details. For background, we have our car insurance (as well as our homeowners insurance policy) through State Farm Insurance so this is based on a discussion with our local agent.

What follows is a rundown of what I learned.

Note that at least some of this is (probably) state specific. Thus, you should verify things yourself. But this should at least give you some ideas of things to ask about.

Insuring a teen driver

First, I was wondering about whether or not we’ll need to add him to our insurance once he gets his permit. As it turns out, we won’t.

Rather, he’ll be covered under our policy while he’s learning to drive. I guess this makes sense since he won’t be allowed to drive on his own.

Once he gets his driver’s license, however, he’ll need proper insurance coverage. At that point, we’ll add him to our policy. And once that happens, our insurance rates will go up. And probably not just a little.

So what can we do to minimize the impact on our premiums?

Proper training

For starters, we’ll get a discount if he completes six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Around here, you can get away with an online (or classroom) driver’s education course with no behind-the-wheel training.

In other words, as long as you can pass the road test, you’re good to go.

This seems like an astonishingly bad idea idea to me, but it is what it is. The good news is that people are incentivized by the insurance companies to go the extra mile and get actual behind-the-wheel training.

Other discounts

He can also take an approved “defensive driving” course for an additional discount. In fact, my wife and I can do this (and qualify for a discount), too. The course, which we can take through a local hospital, costs $30/person. He’ll definitely take it, and my wife and I are thinking about joining him.

In addition to the above, State Farm offers their own safe driver program called “Steer Clear” that qualifies for yet another discount. This program is targeted at new drivers, and those under age 25. There’s a video to watch and then he’ll have to log his experiences (including written self-assessments) as he learns to drive.

And finally, as many of you are aware, young drivers can typically qualify for a “good student” discount as long as they maintain a B average or better. He’s a good student, so this one is a no-brainer (so to speak).

Looking ahead

Given everything that I’ve listed above, it almost sounds like they’ll be paying us once all is said and done. But that, of course, won’t be the case.

I have no idea how much our premiums will go up once we add a teen driver to our policy (it’s still too early to project), but I’m sure that these discounts will barely take the edge off the price increase. That being said…

I’m all for doing whatever we can to help him learn to be a safe driver.


1 Daisy @ Add Vodka November 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

My mom had me taking formal driving lessons when I was about to get my license and that really helped. In Canada we can’t cover kids under parent’s insurance unless they are driving the same car.

2 Jacob @ iheartbudgets November 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Dude! Super relevant post, as I’m trying to find cheap insurance for my brother (just turned 18 and got a job). I’ll check out the State Farm option and ask around about the “defensive driving” course.

3 Edward Antrobus November 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

In NJ, the driving age is 17 and you can only get your permit at 16 if you take a behind-the-wheel course. And of course, it’s now a “graduated license” meaning you can’t drive at night or with non-family members in the car until you are 18.

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