Until my twins are 18, I plan on allowing them to drive only if I'm
by their side so that I don't have to pay for them to be on
my auto policy. Would this work to save money on car insurance?
While your idea to allow your teen drivers to only operate your
vehicles if you're by their side may make them safer drivers, it
doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be able to save money on car
insurance. (See "
Do insurers automatically add teens to your
The rules and guidelines of insurance companies vary. Some allow
with just a learner's permit to be covered by your policy without
being added as a driver. Other auto insurance providers require you
list even those with a permit -- and pay for them to be
To find out what your car insurance company mandates, contact
your agent before your children even receive their permits.
This way you can find out when your insurer requires your teenagers
to be added to the policy at the permit or license stage and get an
estimate of the cost. (See "
A parent's guide to insuring a teen driver
If you find that your auto insurer will let you keep your young
drivers off the policy as long as they've only received their
permit, then see if there is any time limit - by either the insurer
or the state.
For instance, if your state requires a novice driver to carry
the permit for only six months but you plan on your teenagers
carrying it for two years, then your insurer may at some point note
that your children have carried a permit for a lengthy period of
time and ask you to add them as drivers to your policy.
And in regards to the state, there is likely an expiration date
for the permit. In some states you just pay a fee to renew a
permit, but in others your
would need to apply all over again for the permit - meaning paying
fees as well as retaking any required tests.
If part of your plan is to let your children continue with the
licensing process, so that they can obtain their intermediate and
then full license, you're definitely going to have to add them to
your policy as they proceed through the graduated licensing system
- even if you plan to continue to be sitting in the passenger seat
as their permanent supervising driver.
All auto insurance companies will require that you add your
teenagers who are licensed and driving your cars. And, as you
apparently understand, this will make your car insurance rates go
up - a lot. (See "What a teen does to your car insurance
The auto insurer may be happy that you'll continue to guide your
children and never let them drive alone until they are 18, but
there is no way for you to prove that to them. Insurance
companies deal with a lot of fraud, so it's not going to be able to
take your word that the teens won't drive alone to cut you a deal
on their premiums.
Unfortunately, there is not yet any discount for having twin
drivers (I sadly say as a parent of twins myself); however, there
are ways to save money when you have teen drivers. See about
getting discounts or lower rates due to:
- Your young drivers getting good grades in school and
obtaining good student discounts. It can be substantial.
- Completing a driver's safety course or accident prevention
- Having a clean driving record. With you driving with
your teen drivers constantly, it should hopefully keep them from
receiving tickets or being in accidents --both things that would
make their rates go even higher.
- Assigning them as secondary drivers to cars if there are more
cars than drivers in the household.
- Signing up for a pay-as-you-drive plan. Your insurer will
monitor the driving of all drivers to determine if you're
eligible for discounts. Also, knowing that you're being watched
has said to improve drivers' skills behind the wheel.
- Picking the right car for them to drive. See our choice
of best used cars for teen drivers.
Also, shop around. Your insurance company may charge more
for teen drivers than other auto insurers in your area. By
shopping around for rates, you may save hundreds, if not thousands,
on your car insurance premiums.
If you truly can't afford the cost of your teen drivers right
now, you may need to have them wait to get licensed until it's
financially viable (such as they work and pay for their own portion
of the policy).