Affordable Auto Insurance: A Guide for New Teen Drivers

Affordable Auto Insurance: A Guide for New Teen Drivers

Navigating the world of auto insurance can be daunting—especially when it comes to ensuring coverage for new teenage drivers. Finding the right teenage driver insurance that balances both protection and affordability is crucial; as parents, the safety of your teen driver is paramount, but so is finding a policy that won’t break the bank. Here are a few things to consider along the way.

Understanding the Basics of Teenage Driver Insurance 

Teenage driver insurance is a specific type of auto insurance designed to meet the needs of young drivers, typically ranging from 16 to 19 years old. In North Carolina, as in most states, it’s a legal requirement for drivers to have a minimum level of auto insurance coverage, not simply because teenage drivers statistically face a higher risk of accidents due to their inexperience behind the wheel. The foundation of teenage driver insurance in North Carolina includes liability coverage, which pays for damages or injuries your teen may cause to others in an accident, however, given the elevated risk, it’s often recommended to consider additional coverage options.

Comprehensive and collision coverage are two such options that can be particularly beneficial. Comprehensive coverage protects against damage from non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters, while collision coverage covers damages to your teen’s vehicle in the event of an accident, regardless of fault.

Another aspect to consider is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is especially important where, despite laws requiring auto insurance, some drivers may not carry adequate coverage. This type of insurance protects your teen if they’re involved in an accident with a driver who lacks sufficient insurance to cover the damages.

It’s also pertinent to understand that the cost of insuring a teenage driver can vary significantly based on factors such as the teen’s driving record, the type of vehicle they drive, and the specific coverage options you choose. While premiums for teenage driver insurance tend to be higher due to the perceived risk, there are ways to manage these costs.

Strategies for Lowering Insurance Costs for Teen Drivers

One effective approach to reducing the financial burden of your teen’s auto insurance in North Carolina is taking advantage of discounts offered by insurance companies. A notable discount is the good student discount, which rewards teenage drivers for achieving and maintaining a “B” average or higher in their academic endeavors. This incentive not only encourages educational excellence (yay, mom!) but also results in more affordable premiums.

Enrollment in a certified driver’s education course is another strategy worth considering. These courses provide young drivers with the knowledge and skills necessary for safe driving, which, in turn, can lead to decreased insurance rates. Because insurance providers recognize the value of such programs, they often offer discounts to participants, acknowledging their reduced risk profile.

Adding your teenager to your existing auto insurance policy, rather than securing a separate policy for them, can also lead to significant savings. This method leverages multi-car discounts that many insurers provide, making it a cost-effective solution for families. Additionally, the type of vehicle your teen drives plays a critical role in insurance costs. Opting for a car that is deemed safe by insurance standards and not listed among those with high insurance costs can markedly lower premium rates.

Lastly, exploring options for higher deductibles may reduce the monthly premium costs. While this means paying more out of pocket in the event of a claim, it can make the regular costs of insuring a teen driver more manageable. 

The Importance of Open Communication with Your Teenage Driver

More important than your coverage levels, however, is communication. Maintaining a dialogue with your teenage driver about safe driving practices is a cornerstone of responsible vehicle use and can significantly impact both their safety and auto insurance premiums. Conversations should extend beyond the basics of road rules to include the real-life implications of driving behaviors. Highlight the potential for traffic violations and accidents to not only endanger their safety but also lead to increased insurance costs, emphasizing the direct link between their actions behind the wheel and the financial aspects of driving.

Initiating discussions around scenarios they might encounter on the road, and how to handle them, can prepare your teen for unexpected situations. It’s also beneficial to talk about the value of defensive driving and being aware of other drivers’ actions. These conversations can make teens more conscious of their driving environment, potentially reducing their risk of being involved in accidents.

Encourage your teenager to share their driving experiences and any concerns they might have. Creating a non-judgmental space for them to express their feelings about driving can foster a sense of trust and support. This open line of communication can lead to your teen being more receptive to advice and guidance.

But remember, mom and dad—It’s equally important to lead by example. Demonstrating safe driving habits yourself reinforces the behaviors you want your teen to emulate. Show them that you take road safety seriously, and they are more likely to do the same.

Finding the right auto insurance for teenage drivers in North Carolina doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. In fact, with the right partner in place, it can be relatively easy. At Penny Insurance, we’re happy to work with you to find the best options for you.  Remember, the goal is to protect your most valuable asset and gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re adequately covered.

4 Ways to Teach Your Teen Safe Driving

4 Ways to Teach Your Teen Safe Driving

Few things scare a parent more than having a teen driver. The learning curve is sharp – both for
your teen driver and for yourself as you strive to become an effective and poised teacher.

When your teen is driving, it can be difficult to determine which driving tendencies demand
correction and which ones are okay to overlook. To avoid nitpicking their every move, it’s
better to encourage safe driving habits that will make them a better and safer driver overall. In
this blog, we’re going to cover four skills to teach your teen driver.

Mind your speed.

Speeding is not only a major cause of teen car accidents, but it’s also a factor that worsens the
effects of an accident.

If your teen has a lead foot, explain to them the risks of driving over the speed limit. Many
teens assume that as long as they avoid a speeding ticket, they’re not hurting anyone. But a
speeding ticket is minor compared to being liable for causing an accident and injuring someone
due to driving too fast.

Drive free of food and drinks.

Parents are quick to tell their teens to never drink and drive. But what about driving and

Eating at the wheel really is distracting, and for a teen who’s inexperienced to begin with, it is
often the cause of fender benders and other accidents.

The piece you may not want to hear is that your teens are watching you drive and learning from
your habits, good or bad. If you’re dressing a salad while trying to watch the road, or driving
with the steering wheel between your knees while eating a chicken sandwich, they’re likely to
feel confident in doing the same.

Set a good example for your teen drivers. They may not want to listen to your lectures in the
car, but leading by example goes a long way.

Manage the social scene.

Food is certainly not the only distraction teen drivers face. Passengers, loud music, and phones
are all common, and often, unmonitored distractions.

The best way to manage social distractions is to, again, set a good example. Put your phone in
the back seat when you get behind the wheel. Ask a passenger to respond to urgent text
messages for you instead of attempting to text while driving. Better yet, put your phone in
driving mode. (Honestly, even if you don’t have a teen driver, these are excellent habits to

While helpful for sending text messages, passengers can be a major distraction for teen drivers.
It’s best to limit the number of friends your teen is allowed to have in the car while driving. Give
them time to acclimate to the road before their car turns into a social hub.

Arrive at Your Destination Before Dark.

Because teen drivers are inexperienced, nighttime driving presents a common risk. Not only are
things more difficult to see in the dark, but chances are, your teen is going to be more tired at
night, and so will other drivers.

If your teen is driving at night, help them take note of areas that require their utmost attention
such as…

  • Busy roads
  • Historically dangerous intersections
  • Construction zones
  • Pedestrian-heavy areas

The more alert your teen is while driving, the safer they will be.

Will you have a teen driving soon? Contact Penny Insurance about adding your new driver to
your auto insurance policy.

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

While it may be frightening to unleash your freshly-licensed teen onto the roads, there are many proactive ways to ensure their safety and your peace of mind. At Penny Insurance Agency, we consider our clients family, and we want to look out for yours. Share these tips with your teen driver as they venture out onto the roads this fall, especially with increased holiday traffic over the next couple of months.

Slow Down

In serious car accidents caused by teen drivers, 21% were caused by speeding.1 Research shows that teens are much more likely to speed and spin a vehicle out of control than adults are. Speed dramatically increases the risks of causing accidents, which can also be a liability disaster. Teens driving 40 mph in a 30 mph zone may think they’re “only” going 10 mph over the posted speed limit. But that “small” increase in speed translates to a 78 percent increase in collision energy – that’s nearly double.”2 It’s just not worth it. 

Seatbelts Save Lives 

The saying “click it or ticket” is a catchy way to remember to always wear a seatbelt. At least 46% of teen drivers and passengers who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.”3 Given the most current research, wearing a seatbelt is the easiest way to decrease fatal car accidents. Remind your teen that wearing their seatbelt can cut injuries or death risks in half. 

Don’t Drive Distracted

Texting, music, and extra passengers can all result in distracted driving– the fifth leading cause of teen car accidents.4 Encourage your teen to put their phone in the backseat before starting the car to limit the temptation to check their phone, text, or play music from their device. Limit the number of passengers your teen can drive with to keep the peer pressure and distraction to a minimum. Small distractions may seem insignificant, but the smallest distraction can result in significant damage in a split second. 

Encourage a Driving Course 

Research shows that inexperience is the leading cause of teen car accidents.5 Driver training courses teach teens critical skills and improve reaction times. Many training courses are fun for teens, allowing them to really learn the ins and outs of vehicle mechanics and allowing them to practice key skills. Skills learned in driving courses are much more in-depth than what is learned during the state-officiated driving test. These courses can even help you receive better rates on insurance policies. “Research suggests that more comprehensive GDL systems are associated with 26% to 41% reductions in fatal crashes and 16% to 22% reductions in overall crashes among 16-year-old drivers. Parents can help their teen be safer by knowing and following their state’s GDL laws.”6

Share these tips with your teen driver for easy ways to prevent car accidents– the leading cause of death for U.S. teens– and for ways to be proactive as the roads become busier with holiday traffic. As always, if you are looking for the best insurance policies out there contact us or call us directly today.


  1. ps://
Coming Out of Lay-up: Before the First Voyage

Coming Out of Lay-up: Before the First Voyage

If you’ve been following along on our blog, you know we’ve kicked off the summer with a series on the various steps you need to take to get your boat prepped and ready for the water. We’ve partnered with Chubb Insurance to bring you the tips you need for the best first voyage of your watercraft. Here is the third and final installment in our Coming Out of Lay-up series to help you get your boat in ship shape:

Once the boat is on her mooring or in her slip, check everything before you depart on your first cruise. Start on the foredeck and work your way aft before going below.

Anchors and Mooring Lines
Be sure the anchor and rode are secured properly and ready to use. The “bitter end” of the anchor line must be attached to a strong point inside the boat. All shackle pins must be secured with seizing wire. Replace any mooring lines, fenders and life ring lines that are suffering from chafe or sunlight damage.

If you see cracks in vinyl wire covers, or rust or cracks at end fittings, replace the wire. Be sure pulpits, stanchions and ladders are secure and in good repair, and all setscrews are tight.

Rig Deck Canvas and Check for Leaks
Set up and inspect all of the canvas. Make sure all windows, portlights and hatches are secured, and give the boat a thorough washing. As soon as you’re done, go below and look for leaks.

Don’t forget to look at chainplates on sailboats and make a note of any leaks you find so that they may be repaired.

Check Your Shore Power
Before you plug into shore power, inspect the ends of the cord and the receptacle that’s mounted on the boat for any signs of heat damage.

Plug the boat in, turn on the battery charger and be sure the voltage rises in the batteries. Be sure battery water levels are correct. After dark, make sure the running and anchor lights work.

Engines and Generator Check
Start engines and generators, warm them up thoroughly and change the oil and filters.

While you’re warming up the engines, check the battery voltage. If alternators are working properly, a 12-volt system will charge at close to 14 volts. Also, while engines are running, inspect fuel, cooling and exhaust systems for leaks and correct any leaks you find, no matter how minor.

Check engine mounts and make sure all locknuts are tight. Since you checked the prop and shaft condition prior to launch, any vibration you notice while under way may mean an engine needs aligning. Alignment can’t be checked when the boat is hauled out; the hull will change shape slightly when it’s in the water. It takes experience and special tools to move engines into proper alignment, so this may be a job for your mechanic.

Water Tanks and Heater
If the domestic water and waste systems were winterized, they will need draining and flushing, and any fittings that were disconnected will need to be secured. When the tanks are full, and the system is pressurized, check all the fittings for leaks.

If you have a propane system, open the valve on the tank, turn on the remote solenoid switch if there is one, and light a burner on the stove. Note the reading on the pressure gauge and close the valve on the tank. Wait 10 minutes and look at the gauge again. If there’s any change in the reading, there’s a leak somewhere. Use soapy water to find the leak; never use a flame.

A summer spent out on the water is a summer well spent! We hope this series on boating helps you to navigate the ins and outs of marine craft preparation so that you can enjoy the rest of your summer on your vessel. Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options. Be safe out on the water and enjoy the waves!

Coming Out of Lay-Up—During the Launch

Coming Out of Lay-Up—During the Launch

As we welcome summer, it is time to continue preparing your vessel for the water. We
partnered with Chubb Insurance to ensure your boat is in tip-top shape for a successful launch
so that you can experience a safe and enjoyable boating season. Below you will find the second
section of our three-part series on how to properly prep your boat during the launch.
Warmer weather leads to very busy boatyards, often launching several boats an hour. Yard
employees may not take the time to properly check for leaks after the boat goes in the water.
You, or someone else who knows the boat, should be there when she is launched to ensure the
following prep occurs:

Check for Leaks

As soon as the boat is in the water, get below with a bright light and check for leaks. Remember
to check prop shaft and rudder stuffing boxes.

For Sailboats

If your sailboat’s mast was removed for winter storage, the yard will usually step it when the
boat is in the water. It’s easy to get the rig ready for sailing if you remembered to measure the
turnbuckles and to inspect all the standing and running rigging last fall. Be sure all turnbuckles
are secured with cotter pins once the rig has been tuned.

Start the Engine

Before you start an engine, be sure the seawater intake seacock is open. As soon as the engine
is running, check for exhaust water flow.
As you move the boat to her mooring, watch the temperature gauge to make sure the engine’s
cooling system is working properly. If an engine won’t start right away, don’t crank it for very
long; water can collect in the muffler and drown the engine.
Now that you’ve done your boat-keeping chores, you can spend a relaxing season enjoying your
boat. Keeping a few tips in mind can help throughout the season and as you prepare for lay-up
later in the year.

• Check the lifejackets, flares and first aid kit to make sure you and your boating companions
will be safe while onboard your vessel. Be sure the horn, running lights, anchor light and
searchlight work properly.

• Check the fire extinguishers and have them serviced or replaced as needed and change the
batteries in the smoke and CO detectors and EPIRB if you have one.

• Make certain the boat’s registration or documentation is current and that all the required
papers are onboard.

• Start a “punch list” of things that will need attention before the end of the season.

• Inventory all equipment, personal items and outfitting onboard and update it during the

• Replace anything that’s missing, damaged or out of date.

We want you to have fun on the water, just as much as we want you and your co-captains to be
safe this summer! Be sure to complete this thorough checklist during the launch of your boat so
that you and those aboard your boat are safe while truly enjoying your time out on the water.
Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options
and be on the lookout for the final addition to our three-part boating series.

Have a great summer of safe boating!

Coming Out of Lay-Up–Before the Launch

Coming Out of Lay-Up–Before the Launch

Important Recommendations for Boating Season

Summer is upon us which means it’s time to prepare for boating season! If your boat was in lay-up over the winter, you’ll need to take care of a few things before it’s ready to go. Penny Insurance Agency partnered with Chubb Recreational Marine Insurance, to help you make sure your vessel is ready for a successful launch and you can enjoy a safe and relaxing season. Check out the first section of our three-part series below!

As a boat owner, you’re responsible for knowing the condition of your boat and its equipment.

Bringing a vessel out of lay-up gives you a great opportunity to perform a thorough inspection before boating season begins. Before you launch your boat, be sure to review manuals, instruction sheets and other documents for details about the vessel and onboard systems, proper operation and maintenance, as well as contact information for manufacturers and suppliers in case you have questions or need parts.

Before the Launch

Outside the Boat

Rule number one: While working on the hull, always let the yard employees move stands and blocking. If you’re using a ladder to get onboard, don’t forget to secure the top of the ladder to a stanchion, or a cleat on deck.

Inspect the Bottom

  • Check all through-hull fittings and scrape inside their openings.
  • Be sure all seawater intakes are clear of obstructions.

Through-Hulls and Zincs

  • Check all the through-hulls above the waterline.
  • Replace any questionable through-hulls with marine-grade bronze or fiber-reinforced plastic.
  • Remove any sacrificial zinc anodes prior to painting.
  • Install fresh zinc anodes if the old ones are half depleted.

Transducers and Running Gear

  • Inspect underwater transducers for depth sounders, fish finders and knot meters.
  • Clean and free the faces of depth transducers of marine growth.
  • Check propellers for damage and straightness.
  • Put a light coat of waterproof grease on the shaft taper and key when installing the serviced prop.
  • Check shaft bearings for wear.
  • Check the rudders by trying to move the bottom of the rudder from side to side, and up and down.
  • Inspect swim step supports, trim tabs, thruster grates and boarding ladders.
  • Be sure the ladder deploys properly if it telescopes and is mounted under the swim step

Outdrive Hints

  • Inspect the outdrives’ flexible rubber bellows carefully.
  • Run your finger along the edge of the skeg at the very bottom of the drive and if you find any oil, a seal may need to be replaced.
  • Change the oil in the drive.

Inside the Boat

  • Make sure all seacocks operate smoothly and their handles are in good condition.
  • Clean and brighten the through-hulls and bonding wire connections.
  • Check the bonding connection to the sacrificial zinc.
  • Inspect seawater intake strainers on engines, generators, air conditioner pumps and any other equipment that requires them.
  • Make certain drain plugs are secure and that gaskets and washers are in good shape.
  • Inspect the seawater intake systems’ vented loop.

Hoses and Clamps

  • Inspect the hose clamps and the hoses attached to all the seacocks and through-hulls.
  • Examine all stuffing box hoses, exhaust hoses and fill hoses from the decks to the tanks.
  • Replace any soft hoses that show signs of bulging, cracking or damage.

Engines and Generators

  • Check and replace your engine and generators’ sacrificial zinc anodes, if necessary.
  • Check all the V-belts on the engines.
  • Pull out the knotmeter transducer and inspect the O-rings.
  • Apply a light coat of waterproof grease to the O-rings and be sure the transducer tube is clean before re-inserting the transducer.
  • Put the water-lift exhaust muffler on a generate or sailboat engine’s drain plug back in place.
  • Inspect all mufflers for signs of rust or peeling paint.

Steering Gear

  • Operate the steering gear lock-to-lock.


  • Clean your batteries’ terminals and cable clamps before you connect them.

Completing this thorough check list before launching your boat for the summer will give you and those aboard peace of mind and allow you to truly enjoy your time out on the water. Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options.