Ohio Teenage Driving Information And Tips

by Edward Harris on October 16, 2012

Your teenager will be driving soon. I’m sure you can’t wait. Think of all of the positives. Higher Ohio car insurance rates. Sleepless nights. Keys locked in the car. “How do you put gas in the car”  and “I think my car was towed” comments.  Are you ready?

I should know. We have a teenage daughter who is driving and another teenage son who will be driving in a few months. How could this have happened so quickly? Just yesterday, I was coaching her 6th grade basketball team and taking him to nearby ponds to skip stones. They grow up fast. Too fast. I suggested that they wait until their 40th birthday before getting licensed. That was not a popular suggestion.

Fortunately, we live in Springboro, which is just North of Kings Island. Not too much Ohio Interstate driving and better than average drivers on the roads. Also, we don’t get a lot of snow in the colder months, so that is comforting when you have new drivers in the household. Of course, the Farmers Almanac says we’ll have 50 feet of snow this winter. It certainly has been a rainy summer if that means anything.

When To Add Your Teen To Your Policy

Ohio Teenage Driver Coverage

But back to the auto insurance. Typically, regardless of which company you are insured with, you do NOT have to officially start paying for your child on your policy until they receive their license (But they may want to document some basic information). Not the temporary license. The real license.

However, you still should call your insurer and let them know about the change you will soon be making. You can also learn in advance the impact on your premium. You’ll want to know  which vehicle should be assigned to your teenager and what is the least expensive way to rate them. Often, you can chose the vehicle that they are assigned.

Regardless which car (or truck) they are assigned to, they will still be covered on all vehicles in the household. Every time a vehicle is added or subtracted, you’ll want to review how they are going to be re-rated. The addition of a newer car and deletion of an older car will require some juggling to keep your rate within reason.

Price Variation In Cities

Auto insurance rates in Cincinnati are different than prices in Toledo, Westerville or any other city. So, if you do move, it’s highly possible that premiums for your existing carrier may be suddenly uncompetitive. Of course, a move to many other counties could result in a generous decrease. If you relocate to another state, more than likely, your premium will increase, since the Buckeye state features some of the most competitive rates in the US.

Among the largest cities in the state, Canton, Dayton, Lorain, Parma, and Akron offer the most competitive pricing. Cleveland and Toledo have some of the highest rates, although suburban areas outside theses cities are not as expensive. This phenomena can also be found in most other states. Your carrier will use either a zip code or county rating system. It’s always a good idea to verify that you are being rated correctly.

Get The Student Discount

All companies offer a “good student” discount. Some carriers have larger savings…sometimes as much as 25%. However, usually it’s closer to 10%. So if your child does not have a “B” average, it’s a big money saver of they hit the books and get their average up. This reduction applies to high-school, college, graduate school, trade schools and community colleges. Usually, regardless of how many classes you are taking, by age 25, most carriers discontinue the discount. Part-timers generally don’t qualify.

You will be asked to show proof of your child’s GPA a few times per year, so it’s vital that their grades remain above  3.0. If you forget to provide proof of good grades, you could (and probably will) lose a discount. However, if you miss a grading period, a retroactive credit is often provided. The “accumulative” GPA is most often considered, and not the most recent grading period GPA. The exception, of course, would be the first grading period of high school or college.

Typically, you can fax in the most recent grade report and that should be sufficient proof. Also keep in mind that the savings does not stop in high school. The same discount will apply when they go to college and/or graduate school. Once they’re on their own, the discount ceases. Of course, you will not have to carry them on your policy any more which will result in a major decrease in your rate.

Practice Makes Perfect…Almost

Practicing driving with your youngster is important. I know it’s a trite saying, but practice does indeed make perfect…or close to it. Admittedly, I was holding on for my life (OK…Perhaps I’m exaggerating)  the first time I was a passenger with my daughter. I nervously watched the speedometer, other vehicles on the road, traffic lights, pedestrians and every other imaginable thing I could think of. I’m thankful she kept her eyes on the road and didn’t look to her right!

Cheap Car Insurance For Young Drivers In Ohio

When Teen Drivers Slow Down - You Save Money

But I must admit that all of the experience she received, made her a better driver. We didn’t attempt to rush her to get on the road. Instead, we made sure she had a lot of practice hours under different conditions with both myself and my wife. Before getting her license, our daughter drove on different types of roads and highways during the day and the evening.

So obviously, she was very well prepared when she took (and passed) her Ohio license exam. Merging, turning, and passing are things we take for granted. Our kids aren’t fortunate enough to have this experience in their earlier years. Also, driving in bad weather is a situation that is difficult to teach.

And when your child does get their license, they must familiarize themselves with the car or truck they are driving. Sometimes we take things for granted, such as knowing how to adjust the mirror, how to quickly turn on or off the windshield wipers or simply knowing how to turn the lights on. Sometimes we assume that our teenager is familiar with every button, knob and lever. Since we aren’t, it’s likely they won’t be either.

We know that teens know more about the radio/satellite radio than any other part of the vehicle. Before you can spell  “preset,” they’ll have 20 stations already memorized. However, if you ask them what turns on the fog lights, you’ll get a blank stare!  TIP: Make sure they know where the emergency hazard button is located. Often, it’s not well-marked, and of course, is seldom used.

Legislation And Its Impact

Finally, there is pending legislation (House Bill 204), sponsored by State Representative Rick Perales  that will change the graduated license program. Among the changes he proposes are setting an earlier curfew for teen drivers and reducing the allowed number of non-family passengers. The incidence of death among the youngest drivers has been increasing, and thus, changing nighttime hours that they drive, and changing penalties and fines for violators of the law may help.

This legislation, if passed, would create a 10:00 pm curfew for drivers 17 and under (work and school exceptions would be considered) and  allow only one adult passenger (exceptions for family members and guardians). Also, any moving violation would require a parent or guardian to accompany the teenager for six months. Although we don’t believe this legislation will ever be passed, other recent changes have helped.

For instance, effective July 1, 2015, for persons under age 18, no driving is permitted between midnight and 6 am, unless a parent or guardian is in the vehicle. School or work exceptions, if valid, are available. Also, a maximum of one non-family member is allowed in the vehicle, and  no usage of electronic devices while driving. The Ohio Department of Public Safety was largely responsible for these changes.

Safety

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to keep some common safety products in the trunk or back of the vehicle. Although rarely used (you hope), they are “must haves” when needed, and can turn a risky situation around very quickly. Some of the items to keep in the vehicle include a car emergency kit, tire gauge, air pump (that can be plugged into the dashboard), of course, a spare tire, phone charger, and water. A GPS on the dashboard or in the glove compartment is also recommended.

UPDATES

November 2013 – National Teen Driving Safety Week ended on October 26th. Car accidents are still the leading cause of death among teenagers. Here in Ohio, it is no longer legal for any driver under the age of 18 to be talking on the phone while operating their vehicle. If you do, it will result in a $150 fine and a license suspension. More details about the law can be found here.

September 2014 – Ride-sharing in the state remains a fairly-controversial issue. The Department of Insurance is currently discussing (with other states) the possible need for regulation of the industry, since liability coverage is often by commercial companies instead of the drivers themselves. Lyft and Uber are two of the largest ride-sharing companies in the US.

August 2015 – Ohio widows often pay higher rates for their auto insurance coverage than married persons. The variance typically ranges between 5% and 20%. Rep. Michael Stinziano has requested that the DOI research the practice and make possible recommendations. However, statistically, married persons typically have fewer at-fault accidents, so there may be justification in charging a higher premium.

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