My teen just got a driver's license: What now?

May 27, 2015

teen driverLearning how to drive can be a scary experience – not just for your teen, but for you too. As a parent, you have to teach your child how to be responsible on the roads, and then give them the keys and let them go.

Of course, there are more steps – your teen will have to go through Driver’s Ed first – but at the end of the day, they’ll be behind the wheel by themselves.

This begs the question after your teen has his or her driver’s license: Now what?

Stay involved with your teen driver

While your child will have gone through all the steps of Driver’s Ed, this doesn’t mean they know everything there is to know about driving. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.

“Don’t give them the keys and let them go – stay involved.”

This is where you come in. As their parent, you are in the perfect position to instill a few positive driving lessons upon your child. One of the best tips is to put your teen in a hazardous driving situation without the risk. For example, you could take them to an empty parking lot in the winter and let them slip and slide all over the place.

Better yet, you could pitch in for some professional driving lessons. There are often local courses that let drivers try some behavior not exactly welcomed on the road. The more comfortable your teen is with avoiding an accident and driving in dangerous conditions, the safer they’ll be on the road.

Teach them vehicle maintenance

Many vehicle accidents and break-downs occur because of poor vehicle maintenance. An inattentive owner could end up with worn tires, a broken engine or plenty of other risky vehicle conditions.

This brings us to our next point: Teach your teen about vehicle maintenance. You don’t have to be a master mechanic, but show them the basics. Walk them through pumping gas, oil changes and tire changes, plus show them where key components are under the hood, like washer fluid, brake fluid, the oil cap and the battery.

Your teen should be comfortable around their vehicle. Say they get a flat on the highway. You want them to know how to safely and quickly replace it with a spare.

Get the right insurance

insurance for teen driverAbove all else, make sure your teen is protected. While this includes vehicle maintenance and driving skills, it also means insurance. You can save money by adding your teen to your own policy, or you can research rates for individual plans. Either way, get them insured.

While the most cost-effective option is usually to put your teen on your plan, this isn’t always the case. For instance, many states have rules governing whether a teen can own his or her own vehicle and what insurance they need to drive. Typically, they’ll have to have their own plan, but you’ll be partly responsible (through co-signing) for the vehicle itself.

These are all important insurance questions to ask. Learn:

  • Your state’s teen driving and insurance rules
  • If your teen wants to own his or her own vehicle or use yours
  • Whether it is more affordable to buy a separate policy or add them to yours

If you have questions, contact your local DMV for more information on teen driving rules and regulations.

Most importantly, consider how you will insure your teen driver. The type of car and the elements of the plan all come into play – determine how much coverage you are comfortable with and what your teen actually needs. And shop around for affordable insurance rates by comparing insurance prices on compare.com.

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