Detailed answers:

1. Teens and college-aged drivers are not automatically covered by their parent or guardian’s policy. They must either be set up on their own policy or be added to their parent’s policy. When adding newer drivers to a parent’s policy, younger motorists are often eligible for the same discounts parents have earned over the years.

2. Families have several options-to bundle children into family auto insurance policies or to purchase separate policies for individual drivers. Ezine

Andy Gillin counsels families to carefully consider whether to add teenage drivers to a policy that covers parents in good standing. Some families have built impeccable driving records, and accidents by younger motorists are often strikes against the entire family.

On the other hand, more important than considering future strikes against the family is making certain the teenage driver is covered. Andy advises parents to learn of all options from insurance brokers because different insurance carriers handle these situations differently.

The first priority should be adequate coverage for new drivers.

3. Parents should expect premiums to increase for teens, regardless of gender. Teenage boys are seen as a greater risk by insurance companies so increased policy rates usually apply more to younger males than females.

4. Parents are strongly encouraged to raise liability limits when they add teen drivers to auto insurance. One accident liability judgment against a teenage driver can destroy parents’ earned discounts and safe driving records. Families are encouraged to initiate policies against accident liability for all drivers written into the insurance.

Andy Gillin finds that at least 50 percent of his clients at Gillin Jacobson Ellis & Larsen do not have adequate liability insurance. All motorists are encouraged to err on the side of over-insuring rather than underinsuring. Not only is this an issue when adding teenage drivers, it is an issue that should always be top of mind with families at all times.

5. Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage. Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements. Minimum liability requirements vary state by state.

In California, according to the California Insurance Code §11580.1b, minimum is $15,000 for injury/death to one person, and $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person. Property damage minimum is $5,000.

In Ohio, liability requirements have not changed since 1970 levels, creating a gap in coverage and repair costs. Its minimum requirement for liability coverage for autos is $12,500 for bodily injury to one person and $25,000 for all people injured in an auto accident. Ohio ranks the second lowest in the nation. For property damage, the minimum is $7,500.

Florida is the lowest in the nation with $10,000 minimum liability requirement for a single injury/death and $20,000 for two people.

Andy Gillin advises families to discuss raising liability limits with insurance brokers to ensure adequate coverage is available in the event of fatality, injury, repairs, or property damage.

6. Teenagers with a valid driver’s license should have some form of auto insurance. People who do not own a car may purchase non-owners insurance, which covers auto leasing, rentals, or borrowing friends’ vehicles. Purchasing non-owners insurance allows teenagers to build positive insurance history, which benefits when the time comes to purchase a standard independent policy.

In addition, parents of new teen drivers should notify their insurance company immediately when a teenager begins driving. The rates may differ depending on whether the teen has frequent, infrequent or no use of the family car. It is dangerous to assume teenagers never drive the family car; circumstances may require them to drive.

7. In most cases, if the family policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, all family members on the parents’ plan or who drive a vehicle on a parents’ policy are covered in the event of an accident.

If uninsured motorist coverage is not part of the parent’s policy, Andy Gillin highly recommends adding it. A significant part of the population is uninsured and this is the only way to recover when an uninsured person is at fault in an accident leading to injuries. Better Business Bureau Silicon Valley

8. Getting good grades can reduce a teen’s insurance rates from 10 percent to 25 percent. Driver’s education courses are also a good way to save 5 percent to 15 percent on teen auto insurance.

9. If a teen driver is found guilty in an auto accident or caught for committing a hit-and-run, the family policy covers the claim as long as the teen is listed on the policy. However, the teen faces more serious repercussions for leaving the scene of an accident.

10. College students who remain on parents’ auto insurance policy and who drive a family vehicle to school out of state are covered. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to inform the insurance company of the location of the vehicle and whether it will remain out of state for an extended period.

The trend lately is for recent graduates to return home to live awhile with parents. Andy Gillin recommends policyholders speak with insurance agents to discuss specifics for family members who need interim auto insurance.

11. Auto insurance is written to cover a vehicle, a driver, or both. Passengers are covered if the insured purchases medical payments coverage or personal injury protection on their policy. This applies to all motorists, regardless of age. For new teen drivers, there are laws and guidelines about the number of unaccompanied minors permitted in a vehicle at one time.

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Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.