With the school year well underway, many Michigan families are also sending their teens for driver training. But having a new driver in your home also means making sure you understand the basic laws of legal liability and car insurance. Grand Rapids auto accident attorney Tom Sinas shares the specifics of young driver insurance, as well as owner liability and insurance considerations for parents.
Michigan law requires teens to go through the graduated driver’s license system before they can apply for a license. This process consists of two driver training segments and three licensing levels. Once a teenager reaches the age of fourteen, eight months, they can begin the first segment of the licensing process.
The first segment includes:
- 24 hours of classroom instruction
- Six hours of instruction behind the wheel
- Four hours of observation in a training vehicle.
After completing the first segment, teens can apply for a level one driver’s license at a branch of the Secretary of State. A Level 1 driver’s license allows a teen to drive with a parent or other adult 21 or older.
Teenagers can start the second segment of driver education after having had a level one license for at least three months. During these three months, your teenager must log 30 hours of driving.
The second segment of driver training includes:
- Six hours of classroom instruction
- Record of at least 50 hours of supervised driving.
Once a teen completes the second segment, they can receive a certificate of completion. Once the teenager has received this certificate and has been driving for at least six months, they can apply to take the driving test. Passing the driving test grants them their level two intermediate driving licence. After having had a level two license for at least six months, the teenager may be eligible for their full level three license. They must be at least 17 years old and have driven 12 consecutive months without obtaining a movement violation, accident, suspected license or violation of graduated license restrictions.
In addition to a teen knowing how to drive, educating a parent on how and when to notify their insurance company of their teen’s use of the family vehicle is equally important. More often than not, parents add a teenage driver to the family car insurance policy. However, due to the changing dynamics of the modern family – such as multiple households, blended families, custodial parent obligations – it is important to speak with the insurance company early in the process about when and how to add a child to the family automobile insurance policy. .
Most Michigan no-fault insurance policies generally do not require additional insurance for teenage drivers who do not yet have a license. However, the vehicle the teenager uses to accumulate the required “driving” hours must have no-fault insurance coverage properly purchased.
Once your teen has completed the required “behind the wheel” hours and passed their driving test, a parent’s insurance obligations may change. Therefore, once a teen driver reaches this point, parents should notify their insurer and confirm if additional no-fault insurance is required. In situations where your teen owns their own vehicle, insurance companies may require that separate no-fault auto insurance be purchased for that vehicle.
Finally, do not hide any information from the insurance company about the teen driver in any way to get cheaper insurance rates. If insurance coverage is purchased for new drivers without disclosing all of the information requested by the insurance company, the insurance company can legally cancel your insurance policy, even after the car accident has occurred. product.
Not telling your insurer that your teenager will be driving the family car or their own vehicle can have dramatic consequences. If you don’t tell your auto insurance company about your new driver and they cause or are involved in a serious car accident while driving, your insurer may not cover your teen’s medical expenses. Also, your teen may not be able to sue an at-fault driver who caused the car accident, even if your teen was completely innocent and suffered serious injuries as a result.
By keeping an open and honest line of communication with the insurance company, parents can ensure they won’t be paying monthly premiums for insurance benefits you’ll never receive.
If the teen has been involved in an accident, it’s best to contact an attorney experienced in no-fault law and all the nuances surrounding teen driver insurance.
To learn more, call Sinas Dramis Law Firm at (616)-301-3333 or visit sinasdramis.com.
Know the Law is sponsored by Sinas Dramis Law Firm. The information is provided by the law firm Sinas Dramis.