Car Insurance on Your Parents’ Policy

If your car insurance is on your parents' policy, it may increase their rates by up to $291 a month. But it's still cheaper than buying your own policy.

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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: May 20, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Insurance rates are consistently higher for teen drivers than for the typical customer
  • It is cheaper and easier for a teen to be added to an existing policy than it is for him to purchase his own coverage
  • Parents can expect an increase of up to $3,500 a year, or $291 a month, by adding their teen to their insurance policy
  • Companies offer discounts for driving courses and good grades

The need for auto insurance often brings a lot of questions, especially for teen drivers.

If you are a new driver or the parent of a teen who is about to be of driving age, then read on to learn what you need to know about how to provide them with the best, most affordable auto insurance coverage.

Enter your ZIP code today and receive car insurance quotes from several different companies.

Can car insurance be in your parents’ name, or should it be in yours? Consider the facts below as you make this decision.

Insuring Yourself Properly

Driving is an important responsibility. Not only is your life in your hands, but the lives of others on the road and in your vehicle are as well.

Being careless or making a mistake can cause a situation that creates thousands of dollars of damage or even the death of someone.

All accidents that happen are not necessarily due to carelessness

Regardless of the reason an accident occurs, accidents do happen, which is why every state in the U.S. requires all drivers to carry auto insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility.

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Is it cheaper to be put on your parents’ insurance?

The first thing that both parents and teens tend to ask is if it is more beneficial for the teen to have their own insurance policy or if it should be in their parent’s name.

The answer to this question depends on the situation.

You need to understand, as a parent, that insuring a teen on your auto insurance is going to raise your rates. Depending on where you live, your rates could double or even triple in price.

Many parents find that they cannot afford this increase; however, many insurance companies automatically increase an adult’s auto insurance when a child in the home receives their driver’s license.

The assumption is that, at some point in time, the teen is going to be driving the vehicle.

If you allow your child to drive your vehicle, but you do not add them to your policy or they don’t have a policy of their own, it is considered fraud.

While allowing them to drive your vehicle every now and then is not considered fraud, if they are driving it at least once a week then they are considered a regular driver.

They must have car insurance in this case.

Most parents choose to add their children to their car insurance policy.

It is far more expensive for a minor or even a young adult to purchase their own insurance policy than it is for a parent to add their child to their policy.

Even if your child purchases their own vehicle, the vehicle and the child can be added to the parent’s policy.

How much coverage is needed for a teen driver?

How much insurance to purchase is a common question among adults and teens. The first answer to that question is that you must carry your state’s minimums.

Fortunately, there is no way for you to purchase less than what your state requires.

What’s more, with new systems in place from state to state, it has become next to impossible to avoid carrying insurance.

You cannot purchase a vehicle without proof of insurance and you can’t register it without showing proof as well.

In addition, most states have automated systems.

If you cancel your insurance policy, the state is automatically notified and you will receive a notice in the mail requiring that you show proof of your new insurance or your license and registration will be suspended.

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Considerations When Buying Car Insurance for a Teenager

Aside from the state’s minimums, you have other things to consider.

First of all, what type of vehicle is being driven? If the vehicle is an old clunker, then a minimum insurance policy should be sufficient.

If the car is newer, then you should consider collision insurance as well or enough to cover the cost of at least two totaled medium-priced vehicles.

If the vehicle is financed, then you will be required to carry comprehensive insurance as well.

Knowing your teen is important as well. If they are generally inattentive, then a higher policy might be in your best interest; if they are very responsible and careful, then you may be able to afford insuring them with a smaller policy.

You may also want to check and see what the average cost of an auto accident is in the area that you live.

This information can be found online and may help you to decide just how much coverage is necessary to cover a worst-case-scenario situation.

In every state, the highest percentage of accidents is caused by young adults and teens (under 25 years old).

In a majority of states, young adults and teens have the highest percentage of accidents that lead to the death of a person involved in the accident.

These are very important things to keep in mind when purchasing insurance.

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Saving Money on a Teen Car Insurance Policy

Saving money is important for everyone, and it is possible to save money on your auto insurance — even if you are insuring a young adult or a teen.

First of all, consider having your child contribute to the cost of the policy.

Not only will this relieve some of your financial burden, but your child will also understand the costs and responsibility they are taking on as they contribute to paying on the policy. How much you want your child to contribute is up to you.

Next, refuse to allow your child to drive if they don’t make good grades.

This refusal is more than just an incentive to get them to excel in high school or college; most car insurance companies actually offer a discount to drivers who are good students as well.

Most insurance companies consider a good student a high school student who makes all As and Bs or a college student with a 3.5 GPA or better.

Enroll your child in driver’s education classes as well as defensive driving classes.

Not only will these classes help to make him or her a better driver, but they will also provide you with another discount from your auto insurance company.

Many people believe these classes are simply there to avoid getting an insurance bump if they are in an accident or get ticketed.

In reality, taking these courses ensures the insurance company that you are serious about safe driving and they want to reward you for that.

Comparing Car Insurance Rates

Lastly, make sure that you compare rates between auto insurance companies.

If you love the company that you are currently with, try to negotiate a lower rate with them. Many companies will work with you, especially if you are a long-standing customer.

If you don’t mind making a switch, then our free quote tool will allow you to review quotes side-by-side so that you can select the least expensive policy.

Enter your ZIP code below to access quotes from multiple insurance providers.

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Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State