Things to Think About Before Handing Your Teenager the Keys to the Car

Hey Parents of Teenagers,

How are you hanging in there? It’s been a fun ride, hasn’t it? Watching our kids grow up into independent thinking, witty, wise, and unique teenagers. I, for one, still vividly remember watching my kids in the rear view mirror of my minivan, securely fastened into their car seats, eating their cheerios. It feels like it was just yesterday when we retired the booster seats and then years later, allowed them to move into the front passenger seat, and now…. they want to take the driver’s seat! Yikes!

If your kids are anything like mine, they are already counting down the days until they can get their driver’s license. And as if the thought of my kids driving wasn’t enough to keep me up at night, the fear of what’s going to happen to my auto insurance premiums sure doesn’t help (and no, insurance agents don’t get any special discounts).

There is no doubt that your auto insurance premiums are going to go up – this is unavoidable. Teenagers, even the super responsible, rule following, incredibly awesome ones represent an extremely high level of risk to an insurance carrier. New drivers are not eligible for the California Good Driver’s discount for 3 years and then, only if they have kept their driving record clean of “at fault” accidents and have no more than one minor driving violations on their record.

Given what you cannot control (see above paragraphs), there are some things that you and your teen can do to help keep your rates down:

  • Get good grades – every auto carrier gives a discount to full time students with a 3.0 GPA or better (this is not random, statistically, conscientious students are conscientious drivers). This discount can be as much as 15-20%.

  • Take advantage of multi-policy discounts – carriers will discount both your home and auto policies by 10-20% if you put them both with the same carrier. This is called packaging and teenagers or not, it’s always a good strategy.

  • Don’t buy your teenager a car until you absolutely have to! The insurance rationale behind this is that if you have as many drivers as cars in your household, then every driver is assigned a car and is considered a full time driver. If you have more drivers than cars, your teenager can be considered a part time driver and the rates will be significantly less.

  • All cars are not created/rated equal. If you are shopping for a car for your teen driver, remember that the higher the replacement value of the car, the more expensive it is to insure. For instance, using my son as an example, the difference between insuring him on a 1997 Honda Civic vs a 2017 Audi A4 would be over $2000/year.

  • Lastly, choose your agent wisely (this is my plug). A good agent will not only shop out your insurance for the best products and rates, but will also offer very important guidance on how much coverage you need to protect your assets. Beware of agents that only represent one carrier, options are key and no one carrier has all the answers.

Please call or email me so we can talk about the best insurance strategy for your family. Teenagers keep us busy with all sorts of worries and demands. Transfer the stress of insurance to me and free your mind to think about other pressing issues, like college tuition!

Barbara Madvin
Producer, Gaspar Insurance Services, Inc.

Questions or comments?

Putting Lady Gaga on the Super Bowl’s roof could cost over $100,000 to insure

Golden GAGA

Lady Gaga just wants to dance, but might previous bad romances with insurance providers prove her downfall?

Gaga, who will headline the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 5, reportedly intends to perform on the top of the dome that covers the NRG Stadium in Houston. According to the New York Post, event organizers are trying to figure out how to get her up there safely, while also having heart palpitations about what insuring her stunt might cost. (Gaga’s representative didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the 30-year-old entertainer has teased fans with Instagram posts that show her preparing for the show from a tented dance floor in her backyard.)

Most of the insurance companies would probably say “no way” to covering such a stunt, says Tim Gaspar, owner of Los Angeles-based insurance agency Gaspar Insurance Services. “Insurance companies are not in the business of taking risks, though it seems like they are.”

The upside for daring policy providers is the higher premium they can charge. Gaspar estimates that Gaga’s daredevil impersonation would likely run the show’s producers between $100,000 and $200,000 in insurance fees. Even then, the least risk-averse insurers still won’t cover Gaga if she decides to just get onto a helicopter and jump onto the stadium’s fabric roof.

If Gaga hasn’t decided how exactly the event would be carried out, that would also pose a challenge to insurers. “We usually get information about the show long in advance so we can work with creative,” says Susan McGuirl, head of the North America entertainment division at insurer Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, noting that everyone from weather forecasters to local health and safety authorities “interact to ensure anything like this goes off appropriately.”

Gaga’s audacious move to reportedly sing from the rooftops would be a break from last year’s half-time show, when headliners Coldplay were panned for being too tame. And while Beyoncé’s “Black Lives Matter”-inspired cameo grabbed headlines, it was seen as too political for one of the few mass-televised events left.

One of the problems with Gaga’s potential stunt is that there’s little actuarial history of what happens when an entertainer of Gaga’s repute performs on a rooftop. Gaspar estimates that an insurer for a less risky Super Bowl Halftime show would likely charge about $40,000 for the approximately 30-minute event, with feet-firmly-on-ground headliners costing $12,000 for $1 million in liability. The biggest concerns for insurers are usually cancellations due to the weather or workers’ compensation, all of which insurers have plenty of data on and can price into their policies.

In-air performances and coverage of esoteric items like celebrity body parts are an entirely different story. Only so-called surplus line insurance providers, which operate out-of-state and whose fees aren’t capped by local regulations, are likely to offer such policies. A syndicate of Lloyd’s of London, the insurance marketplace that is known for covering celebrities’ body parts, is a likely candidate to offer a quote for such a policy, industry insiders say. Allianz, which has covered the Super Bowl halftime show in the past, is also a big player. (Lloyd’s wasn’t available for comment.)

Gaspar, whose company insures events, says that daring agencies will require Gaga to follow the same safety regulations that apply to laborers working on skyscrapers. “They will require her to be in a harness and bolted to a structure 100% of the time,” he says. “And they will want to know who made the harness and what it’s bolted to.”

The NFL told Forbes last year that it doesn’t pay acts to perform, but only covers production expenses. It’s unclear if that includes insurance.

Of course, Gaga’s history with other insurers could make it harder for her to gain coverage. In 2010, Navigators Specialty Insurance Co. refused to pay out on Gaga’s $3 million policy when she was involved in a $30 million legal dispute with her pre-fame producer.

Ultimately, insurance companies like covering people with “no history of insurance claims that stay under the radar,” says Gaspar. “”Her history could make a challenging situation a bit more challenging.”

This article is reposted from MarketWatch. Read the original article at

Are You Ready for the Cold Winter Ahead?

In February of 2015, Gaspar Insurance officially opened its New Jersey office. We picked February because Jeff Drozen, our Director of East Coast Operations, wanted to know what “cold” felt like (being he grew up five minutes from the beach in Los Angeles). As it turns out, “cold” is exactly what is expected for New Jersey this winter, with most weather organizations predicting a stormy winter for the upcoming season; including a couple of weeks in January and February that are expected to have severe winter storms. Continue reading

Business Overhead Expense Insurance Explained

If you’re a business owner and you become too sick to work, or disabled for a long period of time, you need a way to keep your business running. You still have employees, vendors, customers – they all rely on your business for something and you need to make sure that your business can keep providing that service or product for them, regardless of your health. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Disability Insurance

People are pretty good about insuring their property; their cars, their home, their boats, and their valuables. Things that  they can actually see, like their heirloom jewelry, get insured while things like their health or income stay at risk. When you are in good health and feel fine, it’s easy to forget that it might not always be that way. It’s hard to imagine a future where you get so sick or seriously injured, that you can’t work for six months. It’s even harder to imagine that one day you might not be able to work ever again. Continue reading

The Basics of Life Insurance Terms

Understanding Life Insurance Terms Like many industries, the world of insurance has its own unique set of vocabulary to describe its products. To help you understand the information included in a life insurance policy, we’ve gathered some basic terminology in this easy-to-reference overview. A Helpful Glossary of Common Policy Types and Terms Continue reading

Your one stop shop for all your insurance needs.