25% of teenagers use their cell phones to send text messages and answer calls while they are driving, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
In the same report, according to auto insurance expert Phil Mulkins, 25% of these same teenagers also eat and drink while they drive. The two main factors attributed to this are inexperience and the lack of maturity – both contributing to high teenage crash rates.
The institute, according to Mulkins, has several recommendations in choosing a safer car which not only offers crash protection but is also relatively easy to drive. High performance vehicles should be avoided since teenagers have a tendency of encouraging reckless driving and speeding. Vehicles which are prone to rollovers, other than small cars, are sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks.
Parents are urged to discuss with their teens the consequences of not considering the cost of accidents vis-à-vis the cost of insurance. The awareness gained of the consequence of being the initiator of an accident can translate into costlier insurance expenses.
Since car insurance providers provide various price policies for younger drivers, it would be cheaper to insure young drivers on the policy of their parents or guardian which would enable them to have a policy of their own. In addition, due to the car owned by the teenager, the parent would be qualified to avail of a multiple vehicle discount.
Moreover, it is advised that teens avail of the least valuable car among the fleet provided by the dealer. It would be wise for the teenage son (or owner) to use only that car which he or she is assigned to. In the event of an accident involving a ‘good’ car, which isn’t covered by his or her insurance, the penalties and the premium are sure to be much more costly.
Apparently, minimum liability state insurance might not be commensurate enough to protect any would-be driver from lawsuits. For any concerned parent, the event of a teenager being found negligent in an accident is lamentable. The accidental damages caused by a teen, which may exceed the minimum limit, could cause the parent or guardian to be held financially liable and sued in any district court for any amount outside policy coverage. To prevent such a scenario, it is advisable to avail of minimum insurance beyond the “25-50-25” limit of most US states.
Umbrella policies, which are inclusive of both home and auto insurance, are also an option worth looking into. Spending as low as $150 to $300 annually can avail of a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy.