July 31, 2014
COLUMBUS – With the excitement and fun of summer in full swing, Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor is urging parents and family members to discuss driving safety with their teen driver(s) and to secure adequate insurance protection.
Tragically, the leading cause of death for teens is car accidents and they are involved in more fatal crashes than all other drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Common deadly factors involve inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, not wearing seat belts, and distracted driving.
“By establishing clear rules and expectations, such as not speeding and seat belt usage, parents and family members can help ensure the safety of their children when driving,” Taylor said. “It is also important to review your insurance coverage and to work with an insurance agent to have the appropriate insurance protections in place.”
Taylor offers these tips to help parents and family members protect their driving teens:
Lay the Ground Rules: Establish driving rules for safe driving. This includes not speeding, seat belt usage, minimal number of passengers, no mobile phone texting, (illegal for teens in Ohio as is talking on the phone for those 17 and under), and the amount and time of day driving is permitted. Details about Ohio’s distracted driving law are available at www.bmv.ohio.gov/texting_ban.stm.
Shop Around: Ohio has a competitive personal auto insurance market but no two insurance companies charge the same rates. Compare costs and coverages between insurers since having a teen driver, who is considered higher risk, in the household does greatly affect the family’s auto insurance premium. Take advantage of discounts that various insurance companies offer, such as good student discounts. Most insurers also offer discounts for having more than one car on a policy, and having both your auto and homeowners insurance with the same company.
Purchasing a Vehicle for your Teen Driver? The difference in the cost of auto insurance for a teen driving a newer, expensive sports car versus a modestly priced economy car with liability coverage only can be significant. If shopping for an additional vehicle for your teen to drive, the cost of insurance should be part of the conversation. Make sure you discuss options with your insurance agent.
Consider Revising Deductibles, Coverage: Whether purchasing an additional car or sharing the family car with your teen driver, you can reduce your auto insurance premium costs by raising the deductibles on physical damage (collision and comprehensive) coverages. Determine if you can afford to absorb a larger portion of your loss in the event of an accident. Also, consider eliminating physical damage coverages on older vehicles — unless a lienholder, such as a bank, requires the coverage to be maintained.
Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 800-686-1526. The Department’s auto insurance consumer guide and young drivers guide to auto insurance are available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can follow the Ohio Department of Insurance on Facebook and Twitter.