Patrick is a licensed insurance agent at Dolan and Maloney Insurance in Westborough, Massachusetts. This week, we were discussing what he enjoys most about his job, and his answer surprised me. Young drivers. We ended up talking more about what makes him an expert in the area, and I learned a lot about what it means to have a teenage driver in the house. Here is a bit of our Q & A.
What makes you an experienced agent in this area?
Many insurance agents find a part of the business that they find most interesting or fun. My niche is insuring driving instruction schools and young drivers are in a direct line with that type of insurance.
I took the time to study key demographics in our area as a way to compile data to counteract the fear that most insurance companies have surrounding the fear of young drivers. Using this information, I work after business hours to educate parents at the Smart Start Driving School in Shrewsbury and Grafton about how insurance responds to young driver, how to best protect themselves and their family, and how to do so at a reasonable price.
What are some of your main talking points?
At these classes, I answer any questions that people have. I also discuss cost, and how to handle some of the tricky situations that many families with young drivers face.
Why do young drivers cost so much?
Young drivers are an unknown risk and statistically have claims more frequently. There are many adjustments that can be made to a young driver’s policy in order to mitigate their cost but a young/new driver will never be inexpensive.
Time creates knowledge and experience which in turn creates a known risk. Dolan & Maloney Insurance actively utilizes Drive Advisor,a monitoring device you install in your car and allows you (as well as the company) to see all the trips in your car you’ve taken, what was the duration, what speed you were going, how many times you hard braked, where you went, and many other things related to your driving. This device can help parents of young driver know what they are doing behind the wheel.
- Drive Advisor simply plugs into your car and deliver’s the information directly to you creating teaching opportunities.
- The information is 100% privileged which means neither your agent nor the company can access the information. It is your information to do with what you will.
- The device is free with the caviot that when you are done using it you will return it to your agent. The device does not store any accessible information of any kind.
What could I do to help bring down the price of my kid’s policy and keep it down?
Some things that can be done to help reduce the cost of a young driver are:
- If you choose to provide them with a car choose an older car and only apply liability coverage to that car.
- Help/encourage them to do well in school in order to qualify for the good student credit.
- Advanced driver training such as teensmart, incontrol, or skid school crate greater discounts.
- Do not purchase and insure a vehicle in their name if you are interested in saving money because that will prevent them from benefiting from your experience and discounts.
- Take every opportunity possible to help your kids learn how to drive safely.
Should I buy my kid his own car or list him on my policy?
Since a new driver in the household represents an expansion to one’s liability risk while also providing a new amount of freedom for both the new driver and the parents it is in everyone’s best interest to have a conversation with an experienced agent who is knowledgeable about what is available for young drivers. In this area not all agents are the same, some far more experienced with this difficult to place risk than others.
When can I expect my kid’s policy to decrease in price?
The first three years are the most expensive then there is a step down during year three and four followed by a slight step down in price for year five and finally at year six they are truly an experienced driver and will be charged the “adult” rate.
What happens if/when my kid gets in an accident or speeding ticket?
The first thing that happens is fear and anger. You should have a conversation with your kids and your agent about accidents and speeding tickets before they even have them. When setting up your child with the initial policy, is a good idea to set up an appointment with your agent to help your son or daughter know what to do.
A short list of what I inform my customers to do consists of:
- Contact your agent within a few days of the accident and or ticket.
- Do not do this without your child present, you and you young driver should be present as this is more of a teaching/learning opportunity for your child than it is for you. This is not something that they should be sheltered from they must be a participant in order to benefit from the experience.
- Do not admit fault and do not accuse anyone of fault. The accident scene is not the place for that; there are too many variables.
- Take pictures and take detailed notes regarding the specifics of the accident.
- A note about speeding tickets- The best thing to do is be polite and honest when you are pulled over. Honesty is always the best policy, especially so when dealing with the troopers.