The Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Your Teen Driver

Happy teenage in car holding car keys.In the United States, learning to drive and owning your first car is more than just a rite of passage; it’s also the point in a teen’s life where they start to gain independence and the ability to help themselves. As a parent, helping your teen driver is part of your parental responsibilities, but it’s important to understand what you should and shouldn’t do and the impacts it can have on the relationship with your child, their safety, and financial security.

Letting Your Teen Driver Use Your Car

As you know, a car is a big investment. For teen driving, this can be a double-edged sword, especially if you’re a single-car household. To learn to drive and to put their hard-earned skills to use, your teen will need a car and most likely can’t afford one themselves. Letting your children use your car can be a good compromise, but it’s important to establish both expectations and ground rules early on. Asking you before using the car, having the car back by certain days, and having you with them while driving – especially early on – are all good starting points.

Adding Your Teen Driver to Your Auto Insurance

Beyond making sure your teen has a car to train on and use, they must be covered at the bare minimum by car insurance that is mandatory in your state. You can look at getting stand-alone insurance for your children, especially if they have their own car. Alternatively, you can look at adding them to an existing car insurance policy. Note that generally speaking, insurance for teens is more expensive than for anyone else. While things like driver’s education, good grades, and safer cars can all help reduce this cost, expect an increase in premiums, especially early on.

Learn more in our blog, Car Insurance Basics for New Drivers.

What to Do While Your Teen is on a Learner’s Permit

One of the most nerve-wracking parts of teen driving is the learner’s permit stage, for both the child and parent. In Massachusetts, the passenger (Class D) learner’s permit is the first step to getting a license. Depending on the age of the teenager, after this, they can apply for a full license or the Junior Operator License. As a parent, you can help by:

  • Being Available: Under a learner’s permit, teens need a passenger in the car over the age of 21 with a full license. Make sure you or another family member are available.
  • Brushing Up on Motor Safety: It might be a good time to review the driver’s manual for your state and practice more defensive driving to pass onto your child.
  • Enrolling Them in Driver’s Ed: Either through their school or with a private tutor, think about getting a professional to help. This also frees up your car for your own use.

Helping your teen driver can be an exciting experience, but it can also be a stressful one. You don’t have to do it alone. Here at the TJ Woods Insurance Agency, we can assist you with all your insurance needs. Contact us today to get your teen on an insurance plan or for more information.