The divorce rate in America is on an increase. While some have estimated the ratio as high as 50%, the CDC has stated that the divorce rate is 3.2 percent per 1000 population. With this in mind, as well as with the fact that a majority of divorced homes involve at least one child, consideration should be given to insurance for teen drivers with divorced parents.
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Standard policies may not apply
For most insurance companies, when a teenager starts driving, the person is added to the parent’s policy. However, with divorced parents, this may not be available. Primarily, the difference will lay in where the teenager’s prime residency is located. If you are the primary parent or if you have sole custody of the teenager, then most policies will allow you to list the teenage driver under your current automotive insurance.
However, if the custody is shared and you are not considered the primary caregiver/parent, then you might have to gain consent from either the courts or from the primary parent to add the teenager to your policy.
Do you need one or more policy?
According to Forbes, divorced parents must have their own insurance. They can no longer share the policy. As such, if a teenager is on the policy prior to the divorce, you will need to determine if you will need one or multiple policies in order to have the best coverage for your child.
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Depending upon the provider, the coverage may only extend to the primary’s vehicles, meaning that any vehicle of your ex which is operated by your son or daughter would not be covered, requiring an additional policy from the ex’s insurance company to fully cover your teen.
What if my teen has his or her own vehicle?
This is where the coverage gets a bit tricky. Some insurance companies will let you insure the teenager under his or her own policy. Keep in mind that this is substantially higher and that the policy will need to be signed (in most instances) by both parents with one acting as the responsible party for deductibles and such. Even in instances where a single policy is chosen, it is a good idea to have coverage on your insurance as well.
Teen driver rates are higher than that of the adult policies available. That being stated, it is unwise for any parent to assume that his or her child is covered by a policy without talking to the insurance agent.
Lowering the cost of your teen’s policy
Communication between the divorced parents is essential to the safety and well-being of the teen driver. To help with the communication and attention that the teen receives from both the main caregiver and the ex, most insurance companies offer premium discounts for drivers who take driver training, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and attend college. Some insurance companies, such as Progressive, can monitor your child’s driving and provide discounts based on the driving history.
Before you purchase insurance for your teen
Regardless of which home the child spends the majority of his or her time, there should be a definitive plan in place when it comes to the driving and the insurance on the vehicles being driven by your teen.
Additionally, rules and safety should be standardized in both homes. Specifically, both homes should agree that cell phone use is prohibited in the vehicle, that driving at certain times is restricted, and the number of people that can be in the car with him/her. Some states have these rules and regulations in place (for example it is illegal in every state to text and drive), but it is still a good idea to set the boundaries before your child get’s behind the wheel.
Who pays if there is an accident?
Depending upon the type of policy, this can vary. Yet, nine times out of ten, the payment of the deductible and the liability will fall upon the parent whose plan the child is under when the collision occurs.
Keep in mind that this does not cover the additional insurance and policies which may be in place, such as medical insurance, but only the auto insurance. If the teen has his or her own vehicle and there is a wreck, then the party who signed as the primary caregiver will be responsible for the deductible and damages, unless prior documentation has been filed with the insurance company as to who will pay.
Make an appointment
Every state varies in how it addresses teen drivers of divorced parents, and in those states, every insurance agency has its own set of policies and procedures. It is strongly advised that you schedule a meeting with your insurance company to see the plans and the policies available for your teen driver.