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5 Things You Need to Know About California Auto Insurance for New Drivers

    3 minute read

    Thousands of California teens get their drivers’ licenses every month, and it is imperative for these young drivers to have the appropriate auto insurance coverage.

    In California, new drivers start with what is known as a provisional license, which means that although they are legally allowed to drive, they have not yet earned complete driving privileges.

    California Auto Insurance for New Drivers

    For this reason, California provisional drivers under 18 years of age cannot drive between 11pm and 5am (unless they are working) or transport passengers under the age of 20, unless they are accompanied by a licensed driver who is 25 or older. These restrictions remain in place for the first 12 months of a provisional licensee’s life as a driver.

    When it comes to auto insurance for provisional drivers, here are five things to keep in mind.

    1. They are required by law to maintain the same minimum coverage levels as regular drivers. In California, this translates to $15,000 in bodily injury per person, $30,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $5,000 in property damage per accident.

    2. If a provisional driver is using your car, he or she should be added to your policy. It is important to note that all licensed drivers in your home, even new teen drivers, will need to be either added to or excluded on your policy. The concept here is that if there is a licensed driver in the home then they likely have access to vehicles and therefore represent additional risk to your insurance company. If your teen gets into an auto accident, your insurer may not cover the damages to your vehicle, the other vehicle/s, or medical costs incurred by injured victims if you had not added your teen as a listed driver on your policy.

    3. A provisional driving violation and fault. The mere fact that a new driver was violating his or her provisional driving restrictions does not automatically make the teen responsible for an accident that may occur while they are driving. Just as with any auto accident, an investigation of liability will take place and all factors would be considered before making a final liability decision.

    4. A provisional driving violation will not result in “points” being added to a new driver’s record. In California, the penalty for violating provisional driving restrictions is a fine and/or community service. Unlike speeding tickets or other traffic citations, a provisional driving violation does not result in points on a driving record, meaning it will likely not affect the teen’s auto insurance rates.

    5. There are ways to minimize the cost of auto insurance for new drivers. Teen drivers have the option of completing a driver’s education course in order to qualify for a discount on their insurance premiums. Many insurers also offer discounts for earning good grades in school, which usually requires maintaining a B average. Check with your insurance agent or company to see which discounts may apply to the provisional driver in your household.

    It is important to explain to your teen driver how auto insurance works. Many new drivers may not fully understand the consequences of their actions as it relates to auto insurance rates or coverage if driving without it. If you have any questions about coverage for provisional drivers, contact Auto Insurance Specialists.  AIS can also help you find affordable premiums for your California provisional driver.

    This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverage’s in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.