Got Teen Boys? It’s Gonna Cost You!
The Effect of Teen Boys (and a Couple of Accidents) on Auto Insurance Rates
Our two oldest kids are teen boys. They’re great kids – healthy, happy and respectful (most of the time.) Sure, they eat a lot and their soccer bags smell like a couple of skunks died in them, but overall, we’re pretty lucky. We’ve been cruising along with reasonable increases in expenses as the kids have gotten older. You know, stuff like food, sports teams, school fees, etc. But one year ago, both boys got their drivers’ licenses. And we were woefully unprepared for exactly how much this was going to cost us.
Adding the boys to the policy
Last September, we added both boys to our auto insurance policy. The additional yearly premium was $759 for each kid. This rate included a discount because each boy had completed a driver’s education course consisting of classwork and on-road instruction. My husband’s car was a 2004 Nissan Pathfinder and my car is a 2011 Honda Odyssey. Notice I said was for my husband’s car and is for my car, but more on that later. My oldest son had been working in retail to save up enough money to buy a car. After several weeks of searching for a reliable used car with no success, my husband had a brilliant idea. He would sell his Pathfinder to our son for $2500 and my husband would get a new car.
Increase in Yearly Insurance Premium – $1518 to add both boys, $1618 to add husband’s new vehicle
Accident # 1
Unfortunately, within the first 2 weeks of buying the Pathfinder, my son rear-ended another vehicle. No one was hurt and the other driver was very nice about the incident. We debated whether to file this claim with the insurance or pay for the damage to both vehicles out-of-pocket. If we reported the wreck to our insurance company, we would have to pay the $500 deductible and risk having our rates increase dramatically since our oldest son was a new driver and a teenager. A bigger worry was that if he was involved in another at-fault accident anytime soon, he may be deemed uninsurable. We elected to pay for the repairs for both cars and did not report the accident. Fortunately, the other driver understood completely and agreed on the plan.
Cost of Accident # 1 – Our son’s car – $474. Let’s just say we didn’t fully repair the car to its original glory. The radiator was replaced and the hood was stapled back together. No joke – huge black staples. It looked so bad, we named the car Frankenstein. Cost to repair other car damaged in the wreck – $2487
Accident Number # 2
Back in July, my oldest son and I drove my Honda Odyssey to visit my mom in Georgia. On the evening before we were scheduled to return to Canada, my son had another wreck. Yes, this was the same kid! No one was hurt and the other driver was very nice about the incident. My son was charged with making an illegal U-turn. However, since his driver’s license was from Canada, the policeman could not enter the charge into his system and no ticket was issued. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was a huge break for us. It took 9 weeks to get the Honda repaired, during which there was a lot of back-and-forth with the insurance. Warning – don’t ever have a wreck in another country – what a hassle!
Cost of Accident # 2 – $500 deductible, insurance rate increase – $360 per year
Accident # 3
As we were returning to Canada (from Accident # 2,) I received a call that my other son had been in a car accident. My son had rear-ended another vehicle in the 2004 Pathfinder. No one was hurt but the other driver was NOT very nice about the incident. My son was issued a ticket for Careless Driving. As the policeman handed the $480 ticket to my husband, he said “I am required to charge him with Careless Driving, but you can plead down the charge with the Prosecutor.” The Pathfinder was a total loss. That poor car had made it through a tree falling on it during a hurricane in South Florida, a tornado and massive hail damage in Alabama, but it could not survive my teen boys. With the loss settlement of $5491 (less the $500 deductible,) we purchased a 2006 Nissan Altima to replace the Pathfinder.
Our insurance premium increase? It’s yet to be determined. We are meeting with a Prosecutor in mid-December. The plan is to ask the Prosecutor to downgrade the charge to Failure to Make a Left-Hand Turn to Avoid an Accident – yes, it’s really that specific. This charge carries a penalty of 2 points and costs $180. That’s much better than the 6-point, $480 charge for Careless Driving.
Cost of Accident # 3 – $500 deductible, ticket – $180 to $480, insurance rate increase – undetermined, but most likely $360
And that brings you up to date. In the past year, we’ve shelled out $7457 to add the boys to the policy, add a car to the policy, pay deductibles in 2 wrecks and pay for an unreported accident. This doesn’t include whatever damage Accident # 3 is going to cost us. But like I said in the beginning of the story, we’re lucky to have 2 healthy, happy teen boys (most of the time.)