Helpful Tips for Any Young Driver

Did you know that statistics show that every young driver has an accident before he or she is 19 years old? For those who don't have an accident, others have two or three. Wouldn't it be great if you were one of those who didn't have the accident. These are tips that will help you stay in this category. Also included is some basic information that even your parents might find helpful.

Never allow more than one passenger in your vehicle. In one two-week period, three separate teenage drivers had accidents that totaled over $1 million in injuries and property damage. All three of the vehicles (driven by our clients) were filled with teenage friends. When your car is filled with friends, the radio could be blaring and an approaching siren might not be heard. The conversations are flowing, things are being passed from the back seat to the front seat, and cell phones are ringing. A young inexperienced driver can't possibly focus on driving safely with all of these distractions.

Slow down. Most folks know that the insurance rates for male teenage drivers are higher than the rates for female teenage drivers. This must mean that young females are better drivers than young males. Right? Wrong. Both males and females have the same amount of accidents. Young males, however, are usually driving at a faster speed when the accident occurs. This is the reason for the higher premiums. If you are one of the unlucky ones (and have an accident) a slower speed will almost always translate to a lower payout.

Your accident will probably have a witness. There is usually a witness to most accidents. If the witness claims that you were weaving in and out of traffic prior to rear-ending someone, the police officer won't treat you lightly. This will be embarrassing, and will only increase the amount of the accident payout - due to "gross negligence" on your part.

Once the insurance company has exhausted the limit of coverage on your policy, you could be responsible for anything above and beyond that limit. Your auto insurance policy will show a limit that reflects the most that the insurance company will pay for your accident. For example, if your policy shows a $100,000 per person bodily injury limit, but this isn't enough to cover the person you have injured, you may have some serious troubles. Your personal assets (and the garnishment of future wages) could be at stake if the accident payout exceeds your insurance amount.

Don't loan your car to a friend. Every vehicle has unique features that take some time to figure out. These might include how quickly the car brakes, how much play is in the steering wheel, how quickly the vehicle accelerates, etc. A friend driving your vehicle might figure these things out, but it might be after they have wrecked your vehicle. An accident surcharge follows the vehicle. Your rates will increase if someone causes an accident driving your vehicle. A recent customer loaned their vehicle to a friend visiting from Florida. The friend hit a parked road grader in a construction zone and totaled the vehicle. The customer had a $1,000 deductible to pay, the insurance company's book value assessment of the vehicle was less than the client owed the bank (because the client had put no money down when he purchased the vehicle), and the customer had a 30% accident surcharge for three years. This cost the customer more than $4,000. When it comes to loaning your vehicle to a friend, nice guys usually finish last!

If an animal (like a deer) runs in front of your vehicle and you don't have time to safely stop, hit the animal! If you have full coverage on your vehicle and collide with an animal, the claim is covered under Comprehensive. This won't affect your future premiums. If you swerve to miss the animal and end up in the ditch, the claim would be covered under Collision. This would be treated as an at-fault accident and you would most likely see an insurance increase.

Don't leave personal property (like a case of CDs) in your vehicle. Auto insurance doesn't cover personal contents (like coats, purses, cameras, etc.) that are stolen from your vehicle. These things might be covered under homeowners insurance, but a different (and probably higher) deductible would apply. Also, if you do maintain full coverage on your vehicle, fancy stereo systems aren't covered unless you pay an extra premium (and the rates are very high). The company will only pay for a factory equivalent system. An expensive stereo system is attractive to thieves and you might think twice about installing one.

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