My son loves his cars. I’m not sure who’s responsible — my husband’s car freak genes or me his over-indulging mother who started his appetite for anything with wheels from Matchbox cars to an entire entourage of Disney Lightning McQueen and friends, and for ignoring my better instincts when I toss in more boxes of Hot Wheels miniature sports cars for him when I’m supposed to be buying eggs and juice at Woolies. Speaking of food, he can’t have a meal unless he was rolling one of his cars on the table with his free hand. We never leave home without one in my handbag. Heck, there’s one stashed in the car dashboard, a couple in the backseat, boot, and one even in my wallet’s coin compartment.

At breakfast time he climbs up his booster seat and he’ll be flipping through car brochures while spooning mouthfuls of cold Cheerios with white milk dribbling down his little man’s chin. As I wipe off his milk moustache, he’ll suddenly stop dead with his tiny finger frozen on a spot featuring a glossy picture of a sleek SUV, not unlike the ones he’s seen his daddy climb in and out of, and with his childlike shriek, “Look mummyyy! Yike-yaddy’s-carr”! I always feign my surprise with a wide-eyed look no matter how many times we do this routine. Complete with the same bewildered smile and encouraging nod. “Ohh Yes sweetie! (gasp) Daddy’s car!”

Red Car with P Plate

Read the fine print

You may think I’m going on a bit about my son but you see, a responsible parent thinks ahead, even while their kids are still in nappies. I know that I can’t wait till he’s old enough to get his licence and first car before I start worrying about that dreaded rite-of-passage Schoolies Week. Not when the RACQ website continually reports fatal statistics such as younger drivers aged 17-25 being at least 50% more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than other motorists. P1 provisional licence holders are also most at risk throughout their first year of initiation on the roads, at an estimated risk of crashing 3 times more in their first year.

My imagination starts to go on a joyride: the nightmarish prospect of any one of my kids in a vehicle with other teen friends. Wild kids blaring horns, riotously waving and screaming their lungs out at passers-by and other cars while screeching rubber at illegal speeds. We adults call it ‘hooning’ but this is how exactly our Schoolies today proclaim the lust of their youth as they vroom into the dusty sunset on sweaty summer nights with their mates. Statistics will reflect further evidence on why it is a very bad idea for such barely-over-legal-driving-aged drivers to be carrying other than themselves, another or more passengers, especially while driving at night fall. The lethal combination of these factors significantly increases the risks of fatal accidents. I’ve not begun to mention what if the one behind the wheel had anything remotely above 0.00 blood alcohol concentration, and carries a Learner or Provisional License.

‘Nuff said. So it’s the time when our Year 12s are out in full force again after the nation’s mass high school graduation exercise and we’re all aware of what that means. A painful curve in the cycle of parenthood? That too, but also a good time to take the necessary precautions we can on our own and our children’s road safety, and not forgetting to be up to date and well-informed on the different types of car insurance and their corresponding excess charges..

Do be aware that the types of excess coverage may vary depending on which state you live in and some policies charge variable rates for young or inexperienced drivers, often known as Age/Inexperienced Driver Excess. There is also Glass/Windscreen Excess, and at different premiums you could be covered for the replacement of a ‘free windscreen’.

Even if you don’t have a wild teen at the helm of your steering wheel, let’s pray you don’t collide with one at what is considered to be a time of higher risks on our roads. Some insurers do waive the upfront excess payment if the traffic accident was deemed not to be your fault and some others might reimburse you for an upfront excess payment after repairs are complete and for any replacement needed.

If you should worry about your inexperienced P1 driver’s mates taking your prized vehicle for a spin, there’re further options such as ‘unlisted driver excess’, for which you can pay a higher or differing excess to make a claim involving a driver who is not nominated on your insurance policy. If the thought of comparing insurance policies seems complicated, there are many sites like Rate City that can help you get a clearer picture of what each policy covers. Better yet, why not contact a 360 car loan consultant who can help point you in the right direction.

There is a whole gamut of potential variables that will influence the amount of excess payments you’ll need to pay. Some of these are dependent on the specific policy you hold, the insurer, your vehicle type, the number of drivers, driver(s)’s age(s), even the state you live in and the driver’s record become potential factors in deciding your respective excess amounts which could vary quite significantly across different insurers and policies. Don’t forget other types of insurance like travel insurance in the case of your ‘schoolie’ going away for end of year festivities—in which case, I salute you for not living with your heart in your mouth, and do plan not to scrimp on the type of cover you’re buying as all the fine print is, well—fine print; Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).

As for my car-crazy toddler, he is the reason his daddy got us a certain globally popular Swedish SUV with European styling famous for centuries for its rather unbeatable road safety record. It boasts a specially formulated automatic braking system that brakes at up to 50km/hour in the event of an imminent collision. It’s good bye to low-speed rear-ending accidents and expensive insurance premiums, woot! When my son is old enough and if, say the wretched Schoolies have not yet been abolished by then, I know I’ll be enticing him to a trip with his old man and me on the Bahamas. Why make skid marks with his peers when he could be snorkeling in one of the world’s clearest, glistening turquoise waters beneath endless azure skies? He could be leaving skid marks of foam with a jet ski instead. Darned. Which reminds me I have to find out about jet ski insurance!

For more information on how we can help you with your vehicle’s insurance needs, save more on your vehicle insurance, or your young driver’s insurance premiums, call 360 Finance now to speak to one of our experienced consultants today.