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Parental Guidance, teen driver discounts

If my child has taken driver's ed in high school, should he/she still take the six-hour defensive driving classroom course that offers the 10-percent discount on car insurance?

Let's answer this two ways.

First, addressing the 10-percent discount: If your child took driver's ed in high school, he will already have earned the possibility of a discount.

Most insurance companies won't give an additional 10 percent for adding the defensive driving course, which is taken after a child passes the road test, says Barbara Ward, traffic safety specialist in AAA NY's office in Garden City. Some may give both, but check with your company.

(If the child took lessons through a private company, then taking the defensive driving course would provide a discount, Ward says.)

Incidentally, many companies also offer an additional "good student" discount for teens with a B average or higher, Ward says.

If you are only adding your teen driver to your policy -- and not getting him his own separate policy -- he may not get any discount, Ward says.

Now, for the second way of looking at the question.

"I would recommend they take it anyway," Ward says. "I think it's a smart move." While the teen could take the course online, she recommends kids take it in the classroom setting so they can ask questions. Complete disclosure: AAA NY is one of the companies that offers the course, charging $39 for members and $49 for nonmembers.

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