Ultimate Guide to Massachusetts Teen Drivers and Auto Insurance 101
Most teens are excited to get behind the wheel. However, for parents, this milestone can be a whirlwind of responsibilities and worries. Whether your teen is just beginning to drive with a learner’s permit or prepared to drive on their own, there’s a lot for both parents and teenagers to learn. Talking to your independent insurance agent is a great way to get an understanding of the requirements, saving money, and staying safe. This guide can help you determine the best insurance policy for teen drivers.
Driving Requirements for Your Teen Driver
Like many states, Massachusetts uses a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program to lead to a full driver’s license. This program is called the Junior Operator’s License program. During the JOL program, teens must complete three major steps.
- Class D Learners Permit: To be eligible, your teen must be 16 years old and complete driver’s education.
- Junior Operator’s License: To obtain a JOL, your teen must have a learner’s permit and maintain a clean driver’s record for at least 6 months. They must also complete 40 hours of supervised driving. Then, pass a final exam. A parent or guardian must also complete 2 hours of driver’s education instruction.
- Unrestricted Class D Driver’s License: When your teen reaches age 18 and has followed all the requirements of the JOL program, they will become a fully licensed driver without any restrictions.
Until your teen has an unrestricted driver’s license, there will be certain restrictions they must follow. Failure to comply with these restrictions could result in a traffic violation that might lead to a suspended license and prevent moving to the next step in the program.
Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Policy for Your Teen
Auto insurance is a requirement for all drivers in Massachusetts. When your teen is ready to get behind the wheel, it’s time to determine how to purchase the coverage they need for each step of the beginning driver’s journey. It’s a common decision to add your teenage driver to your own policy and sometimes may be the only solution. Talking to your insurance agent is the best way to choose the right policy.
Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers with a Learner’s Permit
When your teen gets his learner’s permit, it’s important to discuss the change with your insurance provider. Even though your teenager is likely driving your properly insured vehicle, it’s essential to determine if the policy must be updated to include your child. While state laws may not require you to make changes to your auto insurance policy, adding your permitted teen to your policy early can have benefits. For instance, your child will have an extra layer of protection in the event of an accident. Adding your teen to the policy immediately also adds valuable time to her driving record. Thus, leading to lower costs a few months earlier.
Auto Insurance for Teen Drivers with a Junior License
When your teen gets a junior operator’s license, they must be insured. Certain essential factors will help you determine exactly which policy to purchase and whether your teen driver will be added to the family policy. Your insurance agent will probably discuss these important points when helping you choose a policy.
- Cost: It’s no secret that the cost of insurance for inexperienced drivers isn’t cheap. Comparing multiple insurance companies and making the choice to add your teen to your existing auto insurance policy can help lower the cost.
- Driving habits: If your teen has a long commute to school every day or drives home from work late at night, your agent might suggest additional coverage.
- The car your teen will drive: It’s common for families to have more than one vehicle in the driveway. Considerations for which one your teen will drive may include several factors. Newer cars often have superior crash protection. Family cars like minivans and sedans are considered safer and therefore cheaper to insure than sports cars and SUVs. The car you’re still making payments on likely includes collision and comprehensive coverage.
- Additional coverage: Massachusetts requires a mandatory minimum liability policy which includes bodily injury protection, personal injury protection, and property damage liability. However, you may not find this protection sufficient for an inexperienced driver. Your agent can help you decide to add comprehensive or collision coverage to your teen’s car.
Saving Money on Teen Auto Insurance
New drivers are inexperienced and the cost of their insurance will reflect the potential risks of that inexperience. Since young drivers are at a higher risk for accidents, there’s no way to completely eliminate these higher premiums completely. Still, there are some ways you can save money when purchasing an auto insurance policy for your teen.
- Student Discounts: Some insurance discounts are designed for teen drivers. Common, useful discounts include Good Student Discount, Student Away from Home Discount, Low Mileage Discount, and Multi-Policy Discount.
- Comparison Shopping: Your independent insurance agent can compare prices from a variety of insurance companies to help you find the coverage you need at the best price available.
- Choose the Right Vehicle: The type of vehicle your teen drivers can help save money. For instance, a vehicle with highly rated crash protection can help you get lower premiums. A safe car, like a sedan, will likely net lower premiums than a fast sports car.
- Determine Between a Separate Policy or a Parent’s Policy: Adding a teen driver to a parent’s policy is often the cheapest way to insure a new driver. However, certain insurance companies require a teen to be rated for all vehicles on the policy. Others provide steep discounts for a teen with their own policy. Your insurance agent can help you decide which is best for your family’s personal situation
Learn More About Adding Teen Drivers to Your Auto Insurance
Finding the right insurance policy for your teen driver doesn’t have to be complicated. At LoPriore insurance, our independent insurance agents take the time to learn about your family’s unique lifestyle and help you find the exact coverage you need. Additionally, we work with a variety of companies, allowing us to compare prices so you don’t have to.