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It's a rite of passage. Your son or daughter is approaching 16 and finds it hard to think about anything except getting a license. You imagine the day when you hand over the keys. You check out driver ed programs and the rules for junior operators. And you wonder how much it will cost in insure this newest family member to get behind the wheel.
Mostly, you worry about safety. You've seen the shocking statistics on teen accidents. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens. New drivers are four times more likely to be killed and 14 times more likely to be injured than any other group. And you wonder if there's anything you can do to improve the odds that your teen won't be among those statistics.
Here's the good news. There's a great deal you can do. The basic driver ed program now contains sessions for parents. Then there are programs such as the Skid School offered through the Massachusetts Safety Council and In Control's crash prevention training course sponsored by the Safe Roads Alliance. You can find valuable tips by visiting the website of the Registry of Motor Vehicles at www.mass.gov/rmv and clicking on Teens and Parents.
And never underestimate the power of example. Even teens who seem to tune out their parents' advice tend to follow their lead. If you use your seat belt consistently, they're more likely to buckle up. On the other hand, if you use your cell phone, fiddle with your GPS unit, or text while you're driving, they're more likely to ignore the Safe Driver Law that prohibits the use of mobile devices by drivers under the age of 18.
When it comes to insurance, I'm sure you have many questions. Here are a few that I'm often asked: "How much will it cost to add our new driver to our policies?" "Should we increase our liability limits?" "Raise or lower the deductible?" "Is it true that there are discounts for good grades?" And even this one: "What are the pros and cons of buying a car for our son or daughter?"
Because there's no 'one size fits all' answer to those questions, I invite you to talk with one of our Mid-State advisors who will help you put together a coverage plan that's right for you and your teen.