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.
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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
Top 10 FAQs Teen Drivers and Auto Insurance
Should my teen driver have his/her own insurance policy?
Not necessarily. It’s often more cost-effective and sometimes necessary to add your teen driver to your own insurance policy. As your teen gains experience on the road and works through the JOL program, rates will decrease. Even when your teen becomes a fully licensed driver at age 18, they can remain on your policy while living at the same residence.
Does my teen have to get insurance while driving with a learner’s permit?
Massachusetts state law doesn’t require permitted teens to have auto insurance. However, adding your teen to your policy can help you avoid gaps in coverage, and start your teen’s driving record early. Additionally, your insurer might have certain rules regarding permitted teens and insurance like personal vehicle ownership. If your child owns a vehicle, he will likely have the same insurance requirements as a licensed driver.
Can my 18-year-old get a driver’s license without having a permit?
No, in Massachusetts, all drivers must graduate from a permit to an unrestricted driver’s license. However, your 18-year-old can apply for a driver’s license immediately after obtaining a permit without logging supervised hours or taking a class.
Can my 16-year-old get an unrestricted driver’s license if they were fully licensed in another state?
No, teen drivers in Massachusetts must be 18 and follow all the requirements of the JOL program before obtaining an unrestricted license.
Are parents always required to take driver’s education courses to supervise teen drivers?
Two hours of instruction of the driver’s education course is a requirement for your teen to get his/her license. However, if you have more than one teen in your home, you don’t have to take the course multiple years in a row. If you’ve completed the course within the last five years, you can skip this requirement.
Does Massachusetts provide extended driving hours to teen drivers with a job?
No. Drivers younger than 18 cannot drive between the hours of 12:00 am and 5:00 am without the presence of a parent or guardian.
Are there discounts for teen drivers to help lower the cost of insurance?
Yes! Discounts that apply to your teen’s auto insurance policy may include good student discount, student away from home discount, low mileage discount, and multi-policy discount. Other ways to help control insurance costs include adding your teen to your policy and choosing a car with highly rated crash protection for your teen to drive.
Will my insurance cover my teen if he or she is working as a delivery driver?
Probably not. If your teen is delivering any type of commercial goods, a personal auto insurance policy won’t cover an accident while your teen is working. If your teen is not insured through their workplace, it’s important to talk to your independent insurance agent about a commercial policy to help avoid gaps in coverage.
Can my teen drive siblings to school with a junior operator’s license?
Yes, while there are passenger restrictions preventing teens from transporting passengers, these restrictions exclude family members. Your teen with a junior operator’s license may transport siblings without supervision.
Am I responsible if my teen is involved in a car accident?
You could be. Parental liability laws hold parents responsible for the actions of their minor child in some cases when insurance isn’t sufficient to cover the damages. If your child causes an accident while driving a car that you own, you may be held responsible. Additionally, if you know your child is prone to reckless behavior, and you allow them to drive, you may also be held responsible for damages in an accident caused by your child.
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.
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