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Teen DUI Conviction During Prom: A Pricey Proposition

Teens, proms, drinking and car accidents.

The latter two do not, of course, automatically attach to what is the most magical night of the year for many high school students, but they certainly rank high on the list of parental concerns regarding that rite of teen passage

Motor vehicle insurers also have more than a passing interest in the subject, with representatives from various companies readily noting that what might strike a family as a tolerable rate for teen coverage pre-DUI or before a crash can seem almost ruinously expensive following a drunk driving conviction or accident.

A more than moderate jump in premiums is “pretty well guaranteed,” says Bill Martin, Farmers Insurance senior vice president. Martin notes further that, once the insurer learns of a DUI or alcohol-related crash involving a teen driver, the jacked-up insurance premiums will be spread over every vehicle owned by a family, not just the one that the teen primarily drives.

A manager of AAA Insurance Services says that the price hike could double or even triple existing outlays, and that an insurer might even balk at renewal time and simply cancel a policy altogether. With an entry like “drunk driving accident” on a teen’s record, the quote for any new policy with another insurer is going to be prohibitively expensive for most families.

With that in mind (coupled, of course, with the central goal of avoiding accidents and injuries altogether owing to any cause), the strategy for parents obviously focuses on how to best ensure that a teen driver simply will not drink and drive during prom or at any other time.

There is no magic elixir for obtaining that happy result, but research highlighted by Nationwide Insurance indicates that teen driving risks go way down when parents conscientiously pursue an ongoing dialogue with their young driver/s.

“Parents are the leading influence on their child’s decision to drink and drive,” says Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s associate vice president of consumer safety.

Related Resource: Fox Business, “The High Price of Driving Drunk at Prom” April 20, 2011