By Steve Jacobs
Your sweet baby boy or girl is, for all practical purposes, grown up and about to get behind the wheel of two tons of metal. Needless to say, there are many emotions tied up in this, not least of all trepidation.
We’ll help you get through it and make sure you know what you need to do before they even start their first day of drivers ed.
As parents, we need to hope for the best and plan for the worst. It should go without saying that you’ll need to train your teen driver as much as possible. It should go without saying that we don’t want them to be a danger to anyone on the road.
Sean Scaturro, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner and USAA advice director, also suggests a defensive driving course: “The first step should always be trying to promote as much safety behavior as possible.” Making sure they’re driving a safe, damage-free vehicle is important, too.
There are plenty of good lessons to be had. Think of everything that’s ever distracted you in the car and realize you have years of driving experience. That being the case, it’s a good idea to instill rules that eliminate unnecessary distractions like:
• No texting while driving.
• No phone calls while driving.
• A limit on the number of people allowed in the car when they’re driving. If this rule appeals to you, Scaturro suggests you could consider the preventative measure of buying your child a two-seater car.
Take it one step further and have your child pledge to drive distraction-free through the It Can Wait campaign.
It all goes beyond just driving behavior. After all, accidents happen, and when they do, it’s essential to have adequate coverage in place so your teen driver doesn’t disrupt your overall plan. But Scaturro says you should expect some disruption.
“Any time you add an additional driver, no matter their age, there’s a likelihood that it will increase your premium,” Scaturro says. “If that driver is a teen with statistically higher risks, it’s reasonable to expect an increase in your premium. How much it will be is based on a calculation by your provider.”
On top of the basic required insurance for your teen, you’ll want to make sure you have liability coverage in place for injuries to the driver or to others, as well as coverage to protect your vehicle and the expense of covering others’ vehicles.
“A simple accident could rack up a lot of cost,” Scaturro says. “If someone has to go to the hospital, your underlying coverage may be exhausted.”
For complete coverage in case of a disagreement or, worse, a lawsuit, it’s important to have liability protection that covers your total assets plus future earnings.
All potential fears aside, it’s a great thing to realize your days of acting as chauffeur may soon be coming to an end. So, in looking forward to that, try your best to sit back and enjoy the ride.
To get a free quote and see what your auto insurance picture might be like with a teen driver, visit usaa.com
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