The first few years that kids grow up and start driving, are perhaps the most anxious moments in their parents’ lives. Not only are new teen drivers restless and impulsive, they also lack the experience and expertise to be on the roads. This makes them prone to higher risk and high auto insurance rates.
Though teenagers aren’t exactly open to easy dialogues, effective communication is the key to keeping your new teen driver out of danger. They have to be made to understand that not only are they responsible for their lives and those of others on the roads but also for your car.
These are some essential points that you should discuss with your new teen driver when you hand them their car keys:
1. While it’s cool to hang out with their friends, distracted driving is a strict no-no; which means no using the cell phone while driving, or applying makeup, or sipping on that steaming hot cappuccino! Distracted driving is one of the worst causes of car accidents! The new sense of independence coupled with overconfidence can actually lead to potentially dangerous and highly avoidable collisions. A new teen driver has to be warned that if he cannot pay attention to the road while driving, he has no business being behind the wheel.

2. Responsible drivers take the law seriously; whether it’s a moving violation or a non-moving one, it gets you a ticket. Speeding, parking at no-parking zones, not carrying valid car papers in their car, etc, can all get them fined and in turn affect their driving record and your auto insurance rates. A new teen driver has to learn not to take the law casually. It can have very far reaching repercussions, both for him and for you.

3. A clean and well maintained car will save money in the long run; both in repairs, and with lower auto insurance rates. It’s a good idea for a new teen driver to know what’s under the hood of the car so that s/he can make minor repairs to the car on his/her own. Since s/he’s probably paying for the gas, s/he already knows how expensive it is to own a car. Good maintenance will give better mileage, the car will run smoother, and last longer.

4. Reduce the risk of theft; leaving keys in the car while running even the quickest of errands makes a car vulnerable to theft. ‘Only new cars are stolen’ is a huge misconception. Older cars are equally prone to theft for their parts. Leaving valuables like laptops, camera and handbags in open sight can draw attention to the car by someone looking to make a quick buck. Installing anti-theft alarms will help keep your car safe. A good auto insurance coverage to add to her/his policy is the comprehensive coverage, as this can be used to claim from the auto insurance company if the car gets stolen. However stuff kept inside the car like gizmos and jackets would typically not be covered by the auto insurance policy. So if a car gets stolen, you lose money!

While your new teen driver is understandably excited about getting independent finally, s/he has to be warned that driving is a privilege and not a right. This privilege can be suspended if s/he does not handle the car well on the road. While s/he might be a stable driver, the same cannot be said for the others on the road and s/he has to be cautious and alert on the road at all times. A drivers’ safety course is a good idea to train your new teen driver in defensive driving. Additionally it might get you some respite on your auto insurance premiums. Handle the matter with sensitivity but be firm about limits and soon you shall have a mature and responsible driver at home.

Author's Bio: 

Christoper Smith is a retired personal finance consultant, interested in adventure living. He loves to explore new places, people and cultures with his wife. He writes regularly during his travels; mostly on the road, from his trailer. His interest lies in the fields of finance and insurance home, life and auto insurance - his favorite subjects from the past.