Teens: Learn About Automobile Insurance

The most exciting moment in a teen’s life – for most teens anyway – is when the Department of Motor Vehicle employee hands over her first driver’s license. A driver’s license represents maturity and freedom like no other milestone reached at that point in her life. Along with a driver’s license, though, comes the need for automobile insurance. While most parents add their teen to the family’s car insurance policy, teens should understand fully what auto insurance is and how it works – seeing as how they are mature young adults now – before they get a driver’s license. Here’s a quick Q&A on auto insurance coverage for teens:

Q: What is automobile insurance?

A: Automobile insurance protects drivers against financial losses due to an accident or other causes, such as theft, vandalism, etc. If you are legally responsible for an accident, car insurance covers injuries and damages. It also can cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, whether it was damaged in the accident or stolen. Auto insurance coverage varies by policy. Ask your parents what the policy limits are for the car insurance policy under which you are covered. They will be impressed by your interest in the financial responsibilities of your family.

Q: Do I have to have auto insurance coverage?

A: Unless you live in New Hampshire, yes. Every other state requires that you have auto liability insurance to operate a vehicle on public roadways. Depending on the state, you even might be required to bring proof of car insurance with you to your driver’s license exam.

If a police officer catches you driving without automobile insurance, you might have to pay a fine and he could suspend your license and impound your car. It’s just not worth it to drive without auto insurance coverage. Be sure to carry proof of car insurance with you at all times while driving, and if your parents are not paying for your insurance, it is advisable to get a part-time job in order to pay for it yourself.

Q: How can I help myself or my parents save money on car insurance?

A: Don’t get a ticket and don’t get into an accident. Many automobile insurance companies also offer safe driver discounts for teens who complete their teen safety courses online and/or who get good grades in school. Also, if you are one of the lucky teens who will get a car for their 16th birthday, tell your parents you want a hybrid. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers of hybrid or other alternative-fuel automobiles.

Fully understanding what car insurance is and how it works will help you to be a responsible young driver. If you drive safely, you will never need to use the automobile insurance policy to repair or replace the car you drive. What’s more, if that car happens to be your dad or mom’s pride and joy, you don’t want to ever have to report a claim.