Every month, thousands of teens in California get their driver’s licenses. It is crucial that these young, first-time drivers get suitable car insurance coverage.
Provisional License and Car Insurance in California
All new drivers in California get started with a provisional license. As the name implies, the holder of this license does not yet have complete driving privileges. For instance, provisional drivers in California who are under the age of 18 have these restrictions:
- They cannot drive between 11pm and 5am, unless they’re working.
- They cannot transport passengers who are under 20 years of age, unless they’re accompanied by a fully licensed driver who is 25 or older.
These restrictions are applicable for a period of 12 months.
What Provisional Drivers Need to Remember About Car Insurance
Due to their special, provisional status, provisional drivers in California need to keep the following things in mind regarding auto insurance:
1. They have to maintain the same minimum coverage as regular drivers.
You may not like it, but that’s the law. According to California car insurance law, the minimum coverage is:
- $15,000 in bodily injury per person
- $30,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 in property damage per accident
2. Any provisional driver using your car should be added to your policy.
Even new teen drivers need to be added to the policy of the car owner or excluded from the coverage. The idea is that if someone living in your home is a licensed driver, he or she will probably have access to your car, thereby adding the risk to your car insurance company.
For instance if your provisionally licensed teenage son or daughter has a car accident, the costs incurred by the injured victims will only be covered by your auto insurance if you had listed the driver on your policy.
3. Provisional restriction violation and auto accident are separate things.
The mere instance of a new driver violating his/her provisional restriction does not automatically translate into the driver being responsible or liable for any accident that occurs during the restriction of violation.
For instance, if a provisional driver under the age of 18 is driving during the prohibited hours (11pm - 5 am) and gets into an accident, the provisional driver will not be held responsible for the accident merely by virtue of their provisional violation. As with any auto accident, the incident will be subject to proper investigation to ascertain who is liable for the damages.
4. New drivers can get discounts on their car insurance.
Teen drivers can be eligible for a discount on their auto insurance premium if they complete a driver’s education course. In fact, many auto insurers also offer a concession on their premiums for students who get good grades in school (usually a B average).
5. How auto insurance in California works.
Many first-time drivers don’t know how car insurance works. It’s understandable; they’re just starting to drive. However, it’s imperative to explain to them the workings of auto insurance. If you have a new teen driver in your home, take some time out and talk to them about car insurance. Encourage them to ask any questions they may have.
Driving is fun. Contrary to what many people think, it can be safe, legal and cost-effective as well. It’s best to keep all drivers in your family up to date with the latest relevant auto insurance information.