Can auto insurer make kid surrender license?

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Dear Insurance Adviser,
My son and I are on the same auto insurance, and he has gotten four minor infractions since 2011. The only way the insurance company will keep me as a client is if he surrenders his license. Are they allowed to do that, and how long will that suspend his license? His tickets are for failure to obey and speeding.

— Chris

Dear Chris,
An auto insurance company cannot compel someone to surrender his or her driver’s license.

But it is being unusually generous by giving your son the option of voluntarily giving up his license. Just check auto insurance rates, including coverage for a teenager with four tickets in three years of driving. Your rates will at least double and probably triple.

So no, your insurance company can’t force him to surrender his license. But you probably can.

By the way, voluntarily surrendering a license is quite different from a license suspension.

  • Surrendering is self-imposed. It doesn’t show up on his record.
  • Suspension is imposed by the state and would go on his permanent driving record. It usually will affect rates for five years!

If you’re going to avoid a charge against your car insurance for your son’s driving record, he will probably need to surrender his license until his record has been clear for three years.

Look at it positively. During the time he is not driving, he won’t risk hurting himself or anyone else. Plus, when he eventually goes to reclaim his license, he will have had a chance to mature a little and learn from the consequences of his traffic tickets.

Good luck!

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