Last week, my son took and passed his driver’s license test at the DMV. My husband and I were ecstatic and very proud of him. But as soon as the idea of him driving around by himself sunk in, we both turned to each other and wondered what we might need to do to safeguard what we have built together in case he causes an accident.
In 2016, young people ages 15-19 accounted for over $13 billion in total costs of motor vehicle injuries, according to the CDC. There is good reason for this statistic. It’s not because these kids lacked training. Most states, including California, require pretty extensive training before a young person can apply to take their driving test.
Our son got lessons from AAA in Encinitas and we think is was well worth the money. Brian Kerr was his instructor and we highly recommend him. He was patient but firm with our son. The real reason for the statistic above is that new drivers just need time to mature and gain the experience they need to be good safe drivers.
When your child is a minor and driving, you are legally responsible for their actions and can be sued. And if they are over 18, a lot of parents still own the vehicle that their children are driving around. You may want to transfer the vehicle to their name once they are 18 and set them up on their own liability insurance policy.
Whether they are under 18 or over 18 and on your policy (or you own their car), you may want to consider doing what we did. Our son is listed on our USAA policy for all of our vehicles and we carry $1MM of coverage. We also purchased a $5MM umbrella policy through USAA. We were surprised at the low cost of adding this additional umbrella insurance and we can pay the policy premium monthly.Also, once your teen turns 18, you should consider getting them set up with the right legal documents to ensure that you can continue to legally help them should they ever have an injury or illness. We provide our clients with a package called the College Protection Plan that has the right power of attorney documents and health care documents to ensure their children are protected. If you need help protecting a young adult after they have turned 18, reach out to our office at (760) 448-2220.