It's not too uncommon for teenage drivers to get into an accident. The first few years of driving are the most dangerous, statistically speaking, and the occasional fender bender is almost inevitable. When a teen gets into an auto accident, it's important to make him or her file a car insurance claim detailing the incident. Having teens do this themselves helps them to understand the costs and inner workings of car insurance policies. They're unlikely to take insurance for granted after spending time filing a claim. However, parents should be there to guide teens, as a bit of extra assistance can help them avoid making some key-and costly- mistakes.
First, have your teenager call the car insurance company and go through the basics of filing the claim. Make sure that they don't make simple mistakes, and suggest a few questions that your teen should ask that can help them in the future. For instance, have them ask the insurance agent regarding the next steps in the process and how an accident will affect future car insurance quotes. If the accident was significant, the insurance agent might ask for pictures. Be sure to look at the pictures that your teen takes of the damaged vehicle. Make sure that they properly reflect the damage that the vehicle sustained. If they underestimate the damage, the insurance payout could be too low. If the damage is exaggerated, the car might end up totaled, so accuracy is certainly important.
Make sure that your teenager understands various terms associated with car insurance coverage. They should know what a deductible is as well as what limits are. It's up to you to decide whether to have your teenager pay the deductible for the car insurance claim, but if your deductible was set fairly low, perhaps consider it. There's no better way to get a teenager's attention than to make them literally pay for the damage they've caused. It's also a good idea to have your teenager take a defensive driving course in order to keep their car insurance premium as low as possible.
After any accident, it's a good idea to talk to your teenager about car insurance in general. Show them different car insurance quotes and explain that the accident will be on their record for several years. Don't get too angry if the accident was minor. Remember, accidents happen to everybody, even good drivers. Listen to their side of the story, but remember that the emphasis should be on the real costs of the accident. This way, they'll drive more carefully in the future.