View Full Version : Teenager driving question...

10-24-2014, 07:36 AM
Got a question really aimed more at the legal beagle/insurance crowd...

Getting ready for that phase where teenagers are driving (yikes). Doing some reading on insurance and liability and all that rot, and have seen some varying opinions on different ways to handle the situation, and I'm officially confused. I'd be interested in some opinions particularly as issues might relate to Oklahoma law...

* I've read some posts/articles/discussions (whatever you want to call them) that suggest cars driven by teenagers should be titled exclusively to the teenager and separately insured, protecting the parent(s) assets in the event of a liability issue. Others have said that doesn't do any good if the teenager isn't on their own and truly self-sufficient. Still others say it depends on the state.

* Some have suggested that in addition to regular liability insurance, parents and/or kids should carry an umbrella policy that kicks in beyond the limits of the vehicle insurance. I was surprised to find out that $1M in umbrella insurance isn't terribly expensive.

* Still others have said that anyone in a household is covered automatically, and that some states forbid insurance companies from explicitly requiring teenagers to be added "separately" although they make it sound like you have to. That all sounded very dodgy to me.

* Another suggestion is not to let them drive/have a car. That, I'm afraid, isn't going to be an option logistically with work and school transportation requirements I can foresee :)

* I don't have millions of dollars of assets to protect - home, rainy day savings, etc, stuff like that, so I'm not looking to overinsure myself. Just looking for ideas on what constitutes the smartest/most reasonable path going forward.

Jim Kyle
10-24-2014, 10:19 AM
I'm no legal beagle but my wife was an insurance adjuster for some 30 years and we have three sons who all went through the teen-driver stage, not to mention five grandchildren who also did so -- so we have a bit of experience with the situation.

When my sons approached driving age, I remembered my own younger self and simply expected each of them to bend some metal while developing appropriate reflexes. My expectations were fulfilled; each of them did some serious metal-bending not long after starting to drive on their own. However none of it involved damage to other people's property, or injury to anyone but themselves, so we didn't run into liability problems.

Because my wife was handling insurance claims every day, we were quite aware of the way liability was going up, and consequently we kept increasing our policy limits. The premiums went up quite significantly when the oldest began to drive, but did not increase for the other two -- one young driver was treated the same as three. Our auto policies did cover the entire household automatically, and even covered non-members if they drove one of our vehicles by permission.

All three of our sons took Driver's Ed in school; it was still being offered in the 70s, and that gave us a good discount on the premiums. Actually, the oldest had learned to drive much earlier on a friend's farm, where he could practice on private land. Ironically, he did the most metal-bending -- but most of his accidents were caused by other people, including two head-on collisions when he was being quite careful but the other guy -- one was drunk -- crossed the centerline and rammed him.

Shop around and ask insurance agents your specific questions. Some companies are quite easy to deal with while others are extremely difficult. Those of us actually in the industry know which are which, and choose accordingly -- but I won't make any specific recommendations in public other than to say "Don't believe ANY of the TV commercials you see." Ask for personal experience and be guided by that!

10-24-2014, 10:26 AM
This is, perhaps, the most rational topic under discussion that I've seen in here for quite a while. =)
Even if I'm far past the point of being concerned with teen-age drivers.
(Except, of course, for those who think they can multi-task by texting in traffic.)

Thank you, Sirs.

10-24-2014, 03:52 PM
I feel for you SoonerDave, that's all the advice I can give.

10-24-2014, 05:12 PM
In Oklahoma, you have to add them as "covered drivers" on the policy. This would mean they can drive any vehicle that is insured under that policy and will be covered in the event of an accident. I wouldn't say you would need to go as far as adding an umbrella rider, but if you're worried they could cause damage to the property of others, then it probably wouldn't hurt if you can afford the premium. It might be just as well to just increase your policy limits to something like 50k/100k/50k and would likely cost about the same as adding the umbrella.

Regarding the titling of the vehicle, it wouldn't matter too much if you titled it under your name or the kids. With minors, the legal guardian would be responsible under either scenario. It would probably be a good idea to keep the vehicle they would regularly operate in both your name and the minor's name. (Doing this is especially a good idea if you're financing the vehicle and payments will be made, because on a side note, it will help them establish a little credit history before they turn 18.)

I'm an accountant and regularly deal with liability insurance policies, but if my information needs clarified, let me know or feel free to chime in!

10-25-2014, 10:49 AM
I had a minor accident in my father's vehicle (that I was driving at the time). Since it was titled in his name he has also been named in the lawsuit.

10-25-2014, 03:47 PM
Even if I'm far past the point of being concerned with teen-age drivers.
(Except, of course, for those who think they can multi-task by texting in traffic.).
In all fairness most of the people I see texting and driving are 30-50 years old.

10-25-2014, 07:34 PM
In all fairness most of the people I see texting and driving are 30-50 years old.

Of course the reason for that could be that the majority of drivers are probably in that age range.

10-26-2014, 09:07 AM
In all fairness most of the people I see texting and driving are 30-50 years old.

Seriously? Most 50 yr olds I know barely text while sitting in their easy chair. This age warfare on this site is stupid.

I nearly got hit by a very young woman who totally ran a red light while texting and going about 50 through the intersection....and gave me the finger when I honked to warn her. Guess I should conclude this is the way of all younger drivers.