New drivers pose a risk on the road. Inexperience often increases the chances of an accident or vehicle breakdown. This means means insurance companies are more likely to need to step in and cover incidents involving new drivers.
If someone is learning to drive in your home, it's important to give this careful consideration. Otherwise, you could see a spike in your premiums, and potentially in vehicle repair costs as well. It's your obligation to ensure that the new driver in your household can hit the road in the safest manner possible.
What is a New Driver?
A new driver doesn't just have to be a teenage driver. It could be an older individual who has never had a reason to learn to drive. Therefore, it is not safe to assume that a driver will take the same steps to get acclimated with driving at age 16 as they might at age 40. There are many different steps that these drivers will have to take before they're street legal.
New drivers come from a variety of different walks of life. Therefore, it's important to take an individualized approach to both the legal scenarios for obtaining a license and the process for obtaining the right insurance coverage.
It's Time to Learn to Drive, What Can You Do?
If someone in your household is learning to drive, it's critical that they look into the resources available to them. Drivers usually have to pass a drivers education course, get behind-the-wheel experience, and take a driving test before they can get a license.
Each state structures its drivers education requirements differently. And each locality offers its own resources to new drivers. Many schools will offer free drivers education courses to their enrolled students. Certain towns, cities and states will also offer courses for free, or for a nominal fee. There are also a variety of private driving schools. These schools must meet all state drivers education requirements in order to enroll students.
New drivers should enroll in an accredited drivers education course located in your area. That way course instructors will have an obligation to ensure that the driver meets at least the minimum state driving requirements.
Will Auto Insurance Cover Driving Practice?
An important part of drivers education is behind-the-wheel experience. Most drivers want to practice their driving as they learn proper procedures. And most jurisdictions require drivers to have a certain number of hours behind the wheel before applying for a license.
This begs the question, will auto insurance cover unlicensed drivers? It depends. Drivers who use an instructors' vehicle as part of a class almost always have coverage.
However, many drivers need more practice than what's offered in the time they spend with a driving instructor. Often, these new drivers will use a private vehicle to practice outside of class. So, what happens if an unlicensed driver has an accident while using a private vehicle? Will that policy cover them?
This answer can vary, depending on the policy the driver — or their parent or guardian — carries. Some auto insurance policies will not cover unlicensed drivers at all. Policies might require the policyholder to include all potential drivers — even unlicensed drivers — as extra drivers their policy. This can help extend a degree of coverage to anyone who gets behind the wheel, regardless of whether they've passed the licensing test or not.
Other policies may require the policyholder to accompany the unlicensed driver. This is the case because many jurisdictions forbid unlicensed drivers on public roads. In other areas, it might even be illegal for unlicensed drivers to use public streets when they're not accompanied driving course teacher.
Therefore, it's likely best if new drivers in private vehicles only practice in areas such as empty parking lots. And it's essential that these drivers have a licensed, insured driver accompanying them.
Before an insured driver allows an unlicensed driver to use his or her vehicle, they should contact their insurance company. The driver can potentially add the unlicensed person to your policy. Never attempt to hide from an insurance company that a new driver might drive your vehicle. If you do, this might be grounds to deny a claim.
Getting Your License
Every state has different licensing requirements for new drivers. Therefore, these drivers should only get a license in their state of residence, and they should pass all requirements of that state. Applicants may have to take written, vision and operational tests to get a license.
Some states require new drivers to carry a designated learner's permit for a period of time. A learner's permit is essentially a provisional license. It allows a new driver to operate legally on the road, but with restrictions. Learners might only be able to drive with a licensed driver in the vehicle, or they might face curfews.
New drivers may also have to prove they can operate the vehicle competently. If a driver faces disabilities that might limit their ability to drive, most states offer accommodations to help with the licensing process. That said, drivers with certain handicaps — such as vision, hearing or physical disabilities — may face license restrictions. These may be simple restrictions, such as the requirement to wear glasses while driving.
While getting a license, a new driver has to begin the process of obtaining the proper auto insurance. A new driver will face unique insurance risks, and therefore the right policy can go a long way to saving money and protecting them.
We've got you covered. Call Auto Insurance Discounters at (866) 288-6545 for an instant car insurance quote.