Car Insurance for a Child if You Are Divorced

Both parents may be responsible for car insurance for a child of divorce if they have joint custody. Save up to 20% on your rates with discounts for good grades and driver's ed.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Adding a teenager to your car insurance can nearly double your premium
  • Parents with joint custody may both be required to carry insurance since the child will have access to both of their cars
  • If one parent has primary custody, then the child will typically be insured with that parent

Divorced parents are faced with countless questions, including who will cover the car insurance for teenage children.

With the cost of insurance for teen drivers on the rise, this is a valid concern that should be considered as part of any custody agreement.

The great news is that there are ways to keep the cost down for parents while ensuring that the child is adequately covered.

Compare car insurance quotes with the aid of our comparison tool NOW!

The Rising Cost of Insuring Teen Drivers

The cost of insuring teen drivers is high because they pose the greatest risk on the roads. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 19.

It’s estimated that adding a single teen driver to a married couple’s policy will send the rates up by about 79 percent. The biggest increases are for 16-year-old boys with an average increase of 92 percent.

Girls have slightly lower rates, but you can still expect a hike of about 67 percent for your teenage daughter.

Where you live also makes a difference. While Ohio may have some of the lowest rates in the nation, this is not the case for teen drivers. The average rate increase in the Buckeye state is 93 percent, and New Hampshire has the largest increase for teen drivers at 111 percent.

The good news is that auto rates should drop with each year that a teen is behind the wheel, assuming that the driver maintains a clean record. The average for 19-year-olds is a more modest 58 percent increase.

Whether your child is getting a license right away or waiting a few years, you can save on the premiums by shopping around and looking at different companies.

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Primary Custodial Parent Carries Coverage

Unlike health coverage that can be provided by either parent, car insurance is a little different.

Typically, the parent who has primary custody will be expected to add the new driver to his or her policy — largely because the insurance company needs to know where the car will be most of the time, and they will base the rates on that address.

When the parents share custody, they may both be required to list the driver on their policies because the child will have relatively equal access to cars at both addresses.

When adding the child to your plan, be upfront with your agent about the days that you have custody and what cars the teen will be able to drive.

Discounts are Still an Option

It’s possible to obtain lower rates by shopping around with different companies. If you’re adding a car for your child to drive, then you may also qualify for multi-car discounts.

There are some other discounts that teen drivers can qualify for, including:

  • Maintaining a B average in school
  • Attending a college that’s at least 100 miles away without their car
  • Completing a driver training course

The Importance of a Shared Philosophy

There are so many issues where you and your spouse may not see eye to eye. However, unlike bed times and standards for grades, a driving teen presents an entirely new set of challenges. It’s not just about getting the new driver to better appreciate his or her responsibilities.

It’s not just about getting the new driver to better appreciate his or her responsibilities.

There is also a range of new expenses that come along with a car, which is why parents are urged to sit down with the teenager and discuss the following:

  • How gas, insurance, and vehicle maintenance will be addressed
  • If the child will have his or her own car
  • If the teen will be allowed to borrow the parents’ cars
  • The cost of driving schools or special classes

This discussion time is great for parents and their teen to get on the same page regarding the rules. One option is to outline a written driving agreement that clearly states the rules and makes them consistent between households.

You must stress to the child that the rules are in place to keep him or her safe on the road.

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Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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A Parent’s Liability

It’s important to remember that your child is not an autonomous adult just yet. You can be held responsible for your teenagers behind the wheel through “vicarious liability.”

Depending on your state, your liability can come into play when:

  • Your teenager gets his or her license
  • Your teenager causes an accident
  • Both when your teen becomes licensed and at the moment that he or she causes an accident

These rules apply to parents who have any form of custody over a teenager. If you’re in a position to control or supervise the teen’s driving habits at any point, then you can be held responsible for any accidents that they cause before their 18th birthday.

If you’re in a position to control or supervise the teen’s driving habits at any point, then you can be held responsible for any accidents that they cause before their 18th birthday.

A Warning About Exclusions

Some parents may decide to save by adding a named exclusion to the policy. This endorsement basically tells your company that you will not allow your teen driver to handle any of your cars at any time.

While a named exclusion can be an easy way to save, you should keep in mind that it’s not without risk.

If you have a named exclusion and your child gets behind the wheel of the car, with or without your permission, there can be serious consequences for you if the teen causes an accident.

Since you have the exclusion in writing, the company would be well within their rights to refuse the claim.

Safe Driving is Key

Driving safely is the key to bringing those rates down, and that can be easier said than done when it comes to impulsive teenagers. Even kids with great grades can forget their manners when they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle.

However, you can reinforce good habits by:

  • Insisting that kids buckle up every time they get behind the wheel, even if they’re just going around the block
  • Reminding your kids to slow down at night and in bad weather, and modeling that behavior for them
  • Making sure they understand that driving tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Limit passengers initially so that your child will stay focused on the road

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An Investment in Smart Apps

A typical kid never leaves home without their phone, and you can put that habit to work for you. Special apps are available to help your child stay safe behind the wheel.

Use these features to better monitor what your kids are doing and help them stay safe.

Examples include apps that:

  • Disable texting and emailing when the car is going faster than five miles per hour
  • Track the location and driving practices of teens
  • Are offered by your insurance company to help teens learn better skills

When shopping around for a better plan, check to see if a company you’re considering offers any type of safe driving or tracking app. You may be able to use the information gathered on the app to keep rates down.

If the app finds that your child is driving recklessly, then you can address those habits before there’s an accident.

Your child’s driving years are bound to be stressful. As a parent, it’s natural for you to worry about what your child is doing on the road and whether they’re making smart choices.

There are also countless other expenses to deal with, including gas, registrations, classes, and insurance.

However, you can follow these tips to keep your child and bring your bill down. Take the time to shop around for better rates and see if you can save money during those early years.

Remember to look into discounts, and don’t be afraid to add specially designed apps to your child’s smartphone.

With these proactive steps, you can reduce the risk of accidents and keep a little more money in the bank.

To find insurance coverage for your teen at the right price, just enter your zip code below!

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