Car Insurance: Handling Your Teen Driver

The day you hand over your keys to your teen driver can be very symbolic. Not only is your child growing up, by they are learning to take on more responsibility. If all goes well, having another driver in the house is very handy, but allowing your child to take over the wheel can also be costly.

At Bow Valley Insurance, we understand that adding a teen to your car insurance is an additional expense. You want to control your car insurance costs, and you want to control your teen driver!

Support your teen to become a safe driver with the following tips. Remember, as a parent, you set the example, so the first step is to be a safe and responsible driver yourself.

Choose the Right Vehicle

Mid-sized vehicles provide better protection than most others, and newer models have a number of excellent safety features built right in. Features such as air bags, special headrests, padded dashboards, safety glass, collapsing steering-columns, anti-lock brake systems and other safety components make vehicles more secure than ever before. For information on car safety, see the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

If you plan to purchase a vehicle for your teen, be sure to speak with your agent about which vehicles provide the best insurance value. The type of vehicle you purchase may affect your car insurance rates.

Educate Your Teen

Teens often believe serious accidents won’t happen to them. As a result, they can drive recklessly to test their limits. However, you can take steps that change the odds in their (and your!) favour. Accidents resulting in death where teens are involved occur most frequently under the following circumstances:

  • Nighttime driving — darkness presents an extra variable to adjust to, and Calgary’s streets can often be sparsely lit.
  • Driving with friends in the vehicle — friends are distracting and a potential liability.
  • Recreational driving — your teen should gain experience by driving to school and work, not for recreation. Driving should always be associated with a positive activity.
  • When not buckled-up — Always use safety belts!
  • When drowsy — Drivers should pull over and rest until they are fully alert.
  • After drinking — Alcohol causes impaired judgment slows reflexes. Explain that no one who has been drinking should drive — even if it means an uncomfortable phone call home for a ride.
  • When distracted — Using a cell phone, applying makeup, eating, or drinking while driving is dangerous for everyone.

Calgary Car insurance: Safe Driving Courses

Driver education helps teens become better drivers and can be accomplished through a one-time safety class or by sending them to a professional driving school. There are many accredited driver education courses available, and some are even aimed at mature drivers who would like to brush up on their skills to be able to offer good driving advice to their teen. Driver education course can also qualify you for a discount.

Graduated Drivers Licensing

All new drivers in Alberta must go through what is called Graduated Drivers Licensing.

Phase One: Learner’s Licence (Class 7)

Drivers at this stage must be 14 years old, pass a knowledge exam, and have the consent of their parents if under 18 to obtain their Class 7 license.

  • A fully licensed driver, who must be in the passenger seat must accompany them at all times.
  • Class 7 drivers may not drive from midnight to 5 am.
  • Class 7 drivers must have zero alcohol in their body.
  • Class 7 drivers will be suspended at eight demerits.

Phase 2: Probationary Driver (Class 5-GDL)

Drivers at this stage must be 16 years old, have held a Learner’s Permit for more than one year and pass the basic Alberta Class 5 road test.

  • Every new driver in Alberta must spend two years at the probationary level. At this stage they will be suspended at eight demerits and cannot serve as an accompanying driver to a learner. They must also adhere to a zero alcohol level.

Fully Licensed (Class 5)

To become fully licensed drivers must be suspension-free for two years and pass an advanced road test.

Clarify Rules and Consequences

You should always know where your teen driver is going, when he or she will be home and who they will be with. Make sure your teen understands that if their responsibilities are not met, there will be consequences, including losing the car keys.

Get the Best Calgary Car Insurance Rates at Bow Valley Insurance

We’re committed to helping your teen become a safe driver and we offer some of the best prices for car insurance. Please contact us to find out how much you can save, or request one of our online car insurance quotes today!