Read our complete Car Insurance Guide for Teen Drivers that are Learning to drive. For teen’s, this is an exciting time but often a nerve-wracking experience for adults. While getting all the proper documents and training in order for your child to get a learner’s permit, it can be easy to overlook the details of your insurance policy. When your child has a learning permit, they’re required to have a supervising driver in the car. Does this mean you don’t have to change your insurance policy? Not necessarily. The decisions you make regarding your insurance policy may vary by provider and your personal choices.
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Teen Driver’s Learning Permit in Massachusetts
Massachusetts operates on a graduated driving system. This means that your teen must go through a series of restricted license periods before receiving full driving privileges. While most states operate on a graduated system, the laws vary from state to state. For example, some states allow teens to begin driving at age 15 with a learner’s permit, while a driver must be 16 in Massachusetts. It’s important for new Massachusetts residents with teen drivers to learn the driving restrictions immediately. The laws may be more strict than the state where you previously resided. If your 16-year-old recently received her permit, she’ll have to drive under these restrictions in Massachusetts.
- Parents or guardians must complete two hours of driver’s education designed to teach proper supervision of new drivers.
- Teen drivers with a learning permit can only operate a passenger vehicle.
- Teen drivers with a learning permit must always be accompanied by a supervising driver who is over the age of 21 and has a valid license for at least 1 year. The supervising driver must ride in the passenger seat.
- Drivers must log 40 hours of supervised practice before applying for a junior operator’s license.
- All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
- Teen drivers must hold a learner’s permit for 6 months without any driving infractions before applying for a junior operator’s license.
Insurance for Teen Drivers with a Learner’s Permit
No driver in Massachusetts can legally operate a vehicle without proper insurance. The minimum insurance requirement in Massachusetts is a liability policy that includes:
- Bodily injury protection of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection of $8,000 per person
- Property damage liability of at least $5,000
As an adult driver in Massachusetts, you likely already have this coverage on any vehicles owned by the members of your household. If your teen will be driving a car you already own, this coverage might not need to change. Teen drivers with a permit in Massachusetts aren’t required to get automobile insurance. However, you should never assume this means your child is automatically covered by your policy. When your teen gets his permit, it’s important to notify your insurance agent and discuss any potential changes you would like to consider for your policy. You may be required to list your teen as a driver of your vehicle, or she might need full coverage if she’s the titleholder for her own vehicle.
Insurance Changes to Consider When Your Teen Begins Driving
Experience behind the wheel is the best way to improve any driver’s ability. However, this takes time, which is one reason so many teens are involved in auto accidents. In 2016, 292,742 teenagers in the United States were treated for injuries that occurred in motor vehicle accidents.
Navigating your insurance needs while your family is growing can be difficult, which is why you need an insurance agent you can trust. An experienced insurance agent can help guide you through the process, and provide insurance coverage tailored to your needs. At LoPriore, our motto is insurance that fits your lifestyle. Get in touch for advice about your teen and an instant quote to help you start saving today.
While the state might not require you to make changes to your policy, there are a few changes you may want to consider when your teen gets his learner’s permit.
Adding Additional Coverage
Many teens don’t have their own vehicle when they get their learner’s permit. If you already have multiple cars in your driveway with proper insurance coverage, you may not have considered designating a specific vehicle for your teen. Allowing your teen to drive whatever vehicle is available might seem convenient, but it’s not always the best idea.
Minimum automobile coverage in Massachusetts requires your car to be covered by a liability policy. However, if you’re making payments on a vehicle, you may also be required to have a policy that includes comprehensive or collision insurance. Assigning the car with additional coverage to your teen would mean better coverage in the event of an accident. If you only carry the minimum coverage on all of your vehicles, you may want to choose one car for your teen to drive, and place additional coverage on that specific vehicle.
Adding Your Teen as a Driver on Your Policy
While state law doesn’t require you to add your teen to your policy, there are reasons why you might choose to do so. Insurance companies don’t all operate by the same rules. There might also be certain factors that require your permitted teen to have insurance.
Some insurance companies may require you to list your teen on your insurance as a precaution. Insurers may also have cheaper options for teens with a permit. This would allow your child to gain experience at a cheaper rate.
If your child owns his car, you might be required to list him as the primary driver of his automobile. This means your teen would have the same insurance requirements as a licensed driver. While you could wait to allow your teen to drive his own car, gaining experience under your supervision will allow him to get used to the car before driving alone.
While this option is more expensive, to begin with, it also offers your teen a chance to gain more experience. Insuring a teen driver is always potentially expensive. As she gains experience, her rates will go down. Listing your child on your policy immediately when he begins driving means his rates will drop sooner than a driver who waits to get coverage until acquiring a junior operator’s license.
Insuring your teen driver doesn’t depend entirely on the state requirements. If you have a teen driver who has recently started driving in Massachusetts, contact LoPriore Insurance Agency to learn more about your options for auto insurance coverage. Whether your teen has a learner’s permit or junior operator’s license, you may be interested in changing your coverage for better results.
Learning to Drive with a Parent vs. Driving School
Driver’s education courses are provided by public high schools and by professional driving schools licensed by RMV. Driver’s education programs include 30 hours of classroom time and 18 hours of training in a vehicle. Another option for driver’s education is parent-taught driver’s education courses available online. Both programs accomplish the same thing, but they provide different options for families.
Pros and Cons of Learning to Drive with a Parent
- The convenience that allows students to learn at their own pace and at a convenient time
- Some students may be more comfortable learning with parents
- Likely to be less expensive than taking public courses for students not enrolled in public high school
- Not all parents are responsible and some children may learn less
- Classes can be delayed as needed, leading to students getting a license later
Advantages and Disadvantages of Learning to Drive with Driver’s Ed
- All licensed teachers have the same requirements
- Students learn at the same rate as their peers
- Classes can be convenient when provided at the school your child already attends
- Students may take the course more seriously when learning from a teacher
- Classes are often scheduled after school and can interfere with other activities
- Students may be anxious about learning to drive with a stranger
- Students may not ask for the extra help they need in a class which could lead to failing the course
What’s the Difference Between Driver’s Education and a Defensive Driver’s Course?
Driver’s ed is the class you think of when it’s time for teens to learn how to drive. It provides important facts about how to operate a vehicle, laws of the road, and safe driving practices. Defensive driving is a course designed to help students drive defensively and not break the law. Defensive driving courses are sometimes required by court order or used to help drivers avoid accumulating points on the driving record after receiving a ticket.
The Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Driving with a Learner’s Permit
When can my child get a learner’s permit?
In the state of Massachusetts, teen drivers must be 16 to get a learner’s permit. This often causes confusion when families with teens move from another state to Massachusetts. Even if your teen had a full driver’s license in another state, they’ll have to begin with a permit at age 16 in Massachusetts.
What’s the difference between a learning permit and a junior operator’s license?
A learning permit requires teen drivers to be accompanied by an adult over 21 who rides in the passenger seat. A JOL allows teens to drive unsupervised between the hours of 5:30 am and 12;30 am. Junior operators are not allowed to have passengers under the age of 18 in the car while driving unless an adult is present or minors are siblings.
Does my child have to complete all 40 hours of supervised driving with a parent?
No, any adult (or combination of adults) over the age of 21 who has had a driver’s license for over one year can be a supervising driver for a teen with a learner’s permit. It’s essential to remember to pair your teen with a responsible driver whose habits you trust if you can’t complete the supervised hours yourself.
Does my child need car insurance to drive with a learner’s permit?
While your child may be technically covered by your insurance policy during the period of supervised driving with a learner’s permit, it’s a good idea to talk to your insurance agent to determine your options. Getting coverage immediately will ensure you have no gaps in coverage and begin your child’s driving record immediately.
What do you need to apply for a learner’s permit?
To apply for a learner’s permit in Massachusetts, you’ll need the following items.
- Proof of full name and date of birth (birth certificate)
- Social security card
- $30 to cover the cost of the written test
- A parent or guardian’s signature
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