Insurance for a Learning Driver

Adding a teen driver to your plan will raise premiums, but there are things you can do to help reduce them.

Question: My son is about to get his learner’s permit. Do I need to let my insurance company know now, or should I wait until he has his full license? -S.R., Tampa

Answer: Contact your car insurance company as soon as your son gets his learner’s permit to make sure he’s covered, even though your premiums may not increase until he has his full license. But start thinking of ways to reduce the premiums when he does get his license. He can help by keeping his grades up to at least a B average and taking a driver’s education course. You can also designate him as a driver of an older car with only liability coverage, says Jeffrey Collignon, of USAA. Meanwhile, consider raising the policy’s liability limits, increasing deductibles if the car has comprehensive and collision coverage, and adding an umbrella policy to protect your assets in case he injures somebody or damages another car.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.