Ohio Teenage Driving Information And Tips

by Edward Harris on January 7, 2022

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. There is minimal  Ohio Interstate driving and mostly experienced 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, although that may not impact the expected snowfall total. All-weather tires help, but there’s no substitute for years of experience driving in adverse weather conditions.

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. But the real license that is awarded after all required written and driving tests are passed. A new driver’s age typically will not substantially impact the cost of coverage.

Your new driver will be listed on the policy, although the carrier will want to know which vehicle they drive most. Your son or daughter will be able to drive all vehicles listed on the policy, although many carriers will designate them as a “principal operator” of one of the vehicles. If there are multiple newer vehicles in the household, the rate will be higher since there is always the possibility that any of the vehicles could be driven. Many carriers, however, may rate all drivers on all vehicles, eliminating the principal and occasional designations.

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 to, although with some carriers, the rate is not impacted.

Regardless which car (or truck) they are assigned to, they will still be covered on all vehicles in the household. When 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 from substantially increasing.  High-performance and sports cars will result in the largest price increases. Ultra-expensive cars or trucks, will of course generate the higher costs. Often, vehicles that are about five years old with under 60,000 miles will provide a combination of reliability and affordable insurance prices. Extended warranties may be offered although it’s important to understand the limits and out-of-pocket expenses.


Ohio Teenage Driving Laws

Any applicant that has reached age 15 1/2 may apply for a temporary driving permit. The process begins with taking vision screening and knowledge tests at an approved driver exam station. The knowledge exam is 40 questions and 30 answers must be correct to pass. Documentation must be provided to verify social security number, date of birth, Ohio residency, and legal name. An Ohio ID card must no longer be used when the TIPIC (Temporary Instruction Permanent Identification Card) is issued.

Before a driver’s license is issued, the TIPIC must be active for six months (or longer). 50 hours of driving, including 10 hours of night-driving must be completed with a parent, custodian, or guardian, and a driver education class must be completed (8 hours of driving and 24 hours classroom attendance).  Understanding traffic signs and directions (in English) is also required.

If a knowledge test is not passed, applicants can wait 24 hours and request to take another exam. Once license, generally, driving can not occur between midnight and 6 a.m.  More than one non-family member is not permitted in the vehicle unless a parent or guardian is present. And of course, seat belts must be worn by the driver and all passengers, and mobile devices must not be used by the driver. Special accommodations can be provided by the local driving exam station.


Price Variation In Cities

Auto insurance rates in Cincinnati are different than prices in Toledo, Westerville, Springfield, Elyria,  or any other city. So, if you do move, it’s highly possible that premiums for your existing carrier may be suddenly noncompetitive. 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. Nearby New Jersey and New York feature some of the nation’s most expensive rates.

Among the largest cities in the state, Canton, Dayton, Lorain, Parma, West Chester, Springboro, and Beachwood 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. Your carrier should be notified if there is a change in household drivers or if any of the vehicles are parked at a new location.


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. Persons who quit school are eligible for the discount again if they re-enroll.

Typically, you can fax or email the most recent grade report and that should be sufficient proof. Also, 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. You will not need to include them on your policy which will result in a major decrease in your rate. However, they will still be covered for damages they cause while driving your vehicles. Once a child purchases and registers their own vehicle, a separate policy should be written.


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. The gas cap and hood levers are often placed in the same location, so a quick review of the dashboard area is highly recommended.


Legislation And Its Impact

Previously, there was pending legislation (House Bill 204), sponsored by State Representative Rick Perales  that would have change the graduated license program. Among the changes he proposed were 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 have created 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 five years ago, 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.



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.


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.

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.

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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