Thursday, August 14, 2014

My PSA for you and yours....You're welcome

I have five kids. Guess what they do....guess!! guess!!!!
They grow up. Yes, they do, and inevitably they want to drive. And given that we live in the USA, they need to know how, if they are physicaly and mentally able to do so responsibly.
Kids can apply for a permit at age 15. Then they can learn to drive, ALWAYS with a supervising driver (parent or guardian) in the vehicle with them, and they are covered through the insurance of the supervising adult at no additional charge, should anything go wrong.
However, as I shockingly discovered this week, not all insurance companies will allow a permitted driver to be covered under the supervising guardian. My company was one of those. They have their underwriter put in the policies that once a teen has a permit for six months and reaches the age of 16, you must either pay a premium on your highest rated vehicle (for the maximum insurance payment) or exclude them so that nothing is covered. And according to their policy, it makes no difference that the teen has no license. I was floored. You expect me to pay to cover a supervised permitted teen who doesn't have a driver's license and hasn't even finished driver's ed???Are you insane???
Apparently the answer was a resounding YES- WE DO EXPECT THAT...or we can exclude him and you have no coverage should anything happen.
Now, I am generally pretty logical and calm (relatively speaking), but this angered me to the point I was shaking and sick to my stomach and got a migraine. I am not exaggerating. So I did my research and contacted DMV, state insurance licensing board, and spoke to many people with teen drivers. Everyone thinks my company is nuts---except for my company.
I spoke to them about my research and explained my position that we should not have to pay for coverage for a permitted driver without a license (especially not on the vehicle he will likely NOT be driving). I explained that we expect our kids to work and pay for their own insurance, because we will not pay it for them, and he needed to finish driver's ed. They didn't want to hear it because they made their policy this way on purpose. My guess is so that at the earliest possible moment they can receive the highest possible payments from consumers. I didn't like or appreciate that AT ALL. In my little world I call it extortion, but maybe I am just being extreme.  I could not, and would not, abide by their policy. I did what I thought was best-- switched companies.
For auto insurance, I cannot say enough good things about State Farm, my new carrier. Rates are excellent and they insure licensed drivers. Permitted drivers are covered under guardians policy at no charge. And they don't care how long you have the permit. Only licensed drivers are required to pay. insurance company is not my company anymore. Not for auto insurance. Or life insurance (way too high on premiums for terrible coverage--dropped them years ago). And I wholeheartedly cannot ever recommend that any family use them for auto or life insurance. Because if you have kids, they will eventually learn to drive, and they need insurance when they earn that license.
My old company can keep my homeowner's policy. It is reasonably priced and has good coverage and rates and service.
If you are curious who this old company is, I will tell you privately, but not here. The initials are FB...It is a large company like Allstate or State Farm or MetLife, so you can guess.

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