Insurance Insight: Tips for teen drivers and college students |

Insurance Insight: Tips for teen drivers and college students

Susan Nichols-Alvis


The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and school has been back in session for a while now.

We are so proud of our niece who just started at Colorado Mesa University, her sister who is now a high school freshman and their cousin who has enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Semper Fi, Kyle! This reminds us of how quickly children grow up. What do you mean you are making homecoming plans? It seems like just yesterday you were toddling around our yard, gathering Easter eggs.

Speaking of children, it’s never too early to discuss insurance with them. The most frequent question I am asked is how much will it cost to add my child to my auto insurance policy? The good news is there are numerous discounts that will help keep the additional premium as low as possible.

A good student discount can be applied with a B average or better with most insurance companies.

A driver improvement or safety course discount also is available with a lot of companies. Make sure your child doesn’t rely solely on driver’s education, however. Teach them about the possible various locations of an emergency brake, for instance.

The vehicle choice also will help the premium. I advise my clients to shop for a sturdy four-door sedan for their children. Not the most fashionable, true, but they generally tend to be safer than a lot of other models. I think the most noteworthy vehicle we’ve insured for a teenager is an old school Ford Galaxy, which fit the daughter’s personality perfectly.

Because of the terrain we live in, I personally would encourage my child to keep at least the basic emergency and safety supplies in their vehicle. Flares, a flattened cardboard box and kitty litter for wintery sticky spots, an extra blanket, a few bottles of water and a flashlight or two is a good start.

And, by all means, warn them about the dangers of texting and driving. Search texting and driving videos on YouTube and you’ll understand what I mean.

Speaking of college, if your son or daughter is away at school, be sure to discuss their personal belongings coverage with your insurance professional. Coverage can be extended from your homeowners insurance, or placed on a separate renters insurance policy. Old comfortable sweatshirts may not be of monetary value, but that new laptop, printer and latest iPhone are.

Be sure and check out your different health insurance options. As an alternative to keeping them on your health insurance plan, many colleges offer student coverage, and most qualify for the Affordable Care Act. Check out for more information.

And lastly, now is the time to look into life insurance policy for your child if you haven’t already. Term life policies are inexpensive, and can help pay for funeral or other expenses.

As always, check with your insurance professional. Ask them if they have a teen driver safety packet or brochures you can share with your child.

Susan Nichols-Alvis is the owner of Nichols Insurance Agency in Rifle. You can reach her at 970-625-0411 or visit


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