Teenage Driver


 Teenagers: In One Ear, Out the Other:

Have you ever tried to get a square peg into a round hole?  It can seem impossible.  That is how it can feel when trying to get your teenager to listen to you, especially when it is something important.

The truth is that though teens can appear tough to teach, it doesn't always mean that they do not hear you.  Studies show that teenagers do actually listen to their parents, teachers and other role models.  They just don't like to admit it.

The Most Important Things You Have To Do:

As the saying goes, little kids have little problems while big kids have big problems.  This is evident as you watch your child progress from playing with a toy car to driving an actual one.  As they continue to progresses from a kid to a tween, you become the necessary taxi service.  When they are eventually a teenager they can make their own plans and means of getting around.  Though this can be a relief for you, it does come with risks.  To ensure your teenager is safe, you both need to be on the same page with understanding the expectations and limits of your teen driving on their own.  Here is the reason:

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, but they are preventable!

Scary But True Teen Driving Facts:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for US teenagers, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.
  • In 2009, eight teenagers ranging from 16 to 19 years-old, died every day from motor vehicle injuries.  This is approximately 3,000 for the year.
  • Per mile driven, teen drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.
  • in 2006, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and their passengers age 15 to 19 was almost twice that of female drivers.

New Hampshire Teen Driving Restrictions:

Though NH does not issue driving permits to young drivers, it is required that all drivers under the age of 18 attend driver's education.

New Hampshire is also one of the many states to enact GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing).

The purpose of GDL is to gradually allow the full privileges of a driver's license more slowly time, once the young driver has more experience.  In New Hampshire some of the driving restrictions include:

  • a night-time driving restriction between 1:00 am and 4:00 am until driver is 17 years and one month old.
  • a newly licensed operator can not have more than one passenger under the age of 25 in the vehicle for the first six months
  • no texting (applicable to all licensed operators in New Hampshire.)

These requirements do vary by state, so it is important that you are aware of the applicable laws in any state where your teenager will be driving.  This will avoid having to pay for a ticket in that state, as well as the very costly increase that would be seen on your NH car insurance policy.

New Hampshire Fraud Laws and Auto Insurance

Most people are well aware that an inexperienced or young driver is much more expensive to insure than a driver that has years of experience under their belt.  This thought alone can scare a parent into "forgetting" to add their new driver to their NH auto policy.  Please note however that we strongly discourage this practice.

The State of New Hampshire has certain fraud laws in this area that will allow an insurance company to deny a claim in the event the driver is an undisclosed household operator. In addition, the Attorney General has the ability to fine the policy holder in the range of thousands of dollars.

Insurance-Friendly Cars For Teens

Your teenager has shown that they are a responsible driver and can handle their own car.  You are going to buy a car, but first there are a few issues that need to be decided before you actually do it.

Who will legally own the car, you or your child?  There are benefits and drawbacks to both options:

Owned by parent:

The benefit would be that the vehicle would be on the policy with other cars so there would be a multi-vehicle credit.  If your auto policy is also with the same company that insures your home, the new car would also get a multi-policy credit.  Given that adults also have established credit, the additional car would also get that credit as well.

The drawback is that if you own the car and put it on your policy, it is all your liability.  If your teen has an accident it would also most likely impact the entire policy, not just that vehicle.

Owned by teen:

The drawback is that it would most likely be more expensive as your teen would not get a multi-car, homeowner or other credits you have on your policy.

The benefit is that there is a higher degree of responsibility if your teen owns the vehicle.  They may be less likely to speed if they know they have to pay for not only the ticket, but also the increase in premium they would see.  If your teen is 18 or older, there may also be a benefit to furthering your own liability and assets from a youthful operator.

Regardless of who owns the vehicle, if you buy a car that is a little older, and does not require comprehensive or collision (a lower value vehicle) the premium will be considerably less than a newer one which will require full coverage.  That said you will still want to be sure that the car has critical safety features like airbags and anti-lock breaks.

Because HPM Insurance is an independent insurance agency, we are kept informed about the the many different insurance companies and who is a match for a youthful driver.  Contact us today, and we would be happy to give you specific advice that will fit your and your teenager needs.  Stay safe!.