Getting a driver’s license used to be a teen’s ticket to freedom.

With social media and the Internet, however, earning a driver’s license at age 16 has become less common. Even so, most teens eventually will get licensed.

It’s important to not only teach your teen to drive and how to stay safe behind the wheel, but ensure that you will be covered should something happen along the way. After all, teens are behind the wheel with only a permit as they learn to drive, and the cost to add them to an insurance policy is significant.

Many insurers generally do not charge insurance premiums for teens with driver’s permits; they wait until they are licensed drivers. But you should still list them on your policy.

Insurance companies will look for a particular date — either your teen’s 16th birthday or the date her learner’s permit expires — to start charging you for an additional driver. If your teen does not get her driver’s license, notify your insurer so that your next bill doesn’t cause sticker shock.

Just be sure to let your insurance agent know when your teen does get her license. There is also an option to exclude your teen from your policy, but that’s definitely something you want to discuss with your agent.

There are ways to help lower your premium while you have a teen on your policy. If she’ll be driving her own vehicle, older cars generally cost less to insure. Consider the type of vehicle, too. For example, a four-door sedan with a good safety rating will almost always be less to insure than a two-door sports car.

Make sure to ask your agent about available discounts for you, too. Having multiple vehicles on one policy and having multiple policies with the same insurance company is a great way to reduce your premium.

Teens can earn discounts as well, such as the good-student discount. Many insurers will offer a discount if a teen completes a behind-the-wheel training course.

In addition, AAA’s Keys2Drive website is a great free resource for parents and teens going through the learning-to drive process. Check it out at online.

Valerie Vinyard is a AAA public affairs specialist. Contact her at or at 258-0518.