Keep Your Teen Driver Safe: An Injury Lawyer’s College Checklist

It is back to school time; although COVID-19 has changed the educational landscape in terms of where (and how) students attend class, one guarantee for Georgia parents is that your teen and college-age drivers will be on the road increasingly more. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. As a parent of a new driver, that fact can be alarming. Fear not, there are actions you can take to ensure your teen and college driver is safe and prepared going back to school.

Teen and college driver shown safely behind steering wheel.

Teen drivers aged 16-19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal car crash than older drivers, according to CDC.

Review Your Auto Insurance Policy

1. Add your teen’s vehicle to your auto insurance policy.

Most insurance companies allow you to view your insurance policy through their mobile app. If you do not have a paper copy of your policy, download the app to check that your teen’s vehicle is listed. A simple call to your insurance company will confirm coverage if you are unsure.

2. Ask your insurance company if your teen is an “excluded driver”.

If your teen is labeled an “excluded driver” on your policy, the insurance company will deny coverage for any damages incurred where your teen was the driver. This is true whether your teen had your permission to drive the vehicle or not.

3. Do you have enough Bodily Injury insurance if your child causes a wreck?

Georgia’s minimum required limits of $25,000 often is not enough to cover the medical bills in many wrecks. Protect your teen (and your family) from being liable for a larger judgement beyond what insurance will cover. A call to your insurance company can increase your Bodily Injury limit.

4. Towing/roadside assistance insurance is cheap and can help if teens get a flat or a breakdown.

Teen car on tow truck shows importance of roadside assistance coverage.

US News reports that two-thirds of teens do not have basic auto repair skills. Roadside assistance will help them stay safe.

5. Do you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage?

Uninsured Motorist coverage will protect your teen if the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance. Our firm recommends that your UM coverage be specified as “Add On” coverage; this means that the limits of your UM policy will be “added onto” the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy. This will maximize the amount of compensation you are able to recover. Additionally, MedPay coverage is an elective benefit that pays your medical bills even before your health insurance activates.

6. Do you really need collision/comprehensive insurance?

If your teen is driving an older car and you do not have a loan on the car, you may not need expensive collision/comprehensive insurance. You might consider removing collision/comprehensive coverage and replace it with the above-mentioned.

7. Enroll your teen in Driver Education courses

Drivers Education courses provide new drivers with defensive driving skills. Defensive driving will ensure your teen and college driver is safe and prepared when encountering aggressive drivers. Some insurance companies provide a premium discount for teens enrolling in Drivers Education.

Purchase Safety Equipment For The Car

  • Rear-view cameras will help newer drivers to safely back in and out of parking spaces.
  • If you are buying your new teen driver a car, purchase one with an anti-lock brake system.
  • Download an app to monitor teen driving statistics and location, such as Life360, RoadReady, and an app like AT&T Drive Mode that silences incoming text message and phone calls.
  • Your teen’s car should have all necessary tools to change a flat tire, including: a properly inflated spare tire, a jack, and a wrench.
  • Emergency car kit should consist of at minimum a flashlight and jumper cables. A tire pump isn’t a bad idea, either. Emergency kits sell online or at local auto part stores for $50 or less.

 

If your teen or college-age driver has been in an accident, call us. We’re here for you: 404-260-6330.

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