Can I drive my mom’s car without my own insurance?

Although there are exclusions, a parent or guardian’s insurance probably covers you in their car. Below we'll cover details you should know about driving your mom's car.

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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® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 20, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A parent or guardian’s insurance should cover you if you occasionally borrow their car
  • If you live at home and frequently use their car for work or school, you should be added to their policy as a driver
  • Adding a driver to a policy will increase their rates, but it’s better than someone driving their car without coverage

From new teen drivers to spending a week at home on holiday, there are many reasons why someone might need to borrow their mom’s car. Of course, you wouldn’t want to repay her kindness by getting into an accident, but sometimes you can’t avoid them.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, there’s no need to make a panicked phone call to her insurance saying, “I’m in my mom’s car. What do I do?” Your mom’s insurance will probably cover you.

However, there are times when your mom’s car insurance won’t cover you unless you’ve been added to her policy. Read on to learn when you’ll need your own coverage, then compare rates with different companies to find the best price.

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Can I drive my mom’s car without my own insurance?

Whether or not you can drive your mom’s or anyone else’s car without an insurance policy of your own depends on the situation.

Typically speaking, insurance stays with the car, not the driver. That means that if you borrow your parent or guardian’s car every once in a while, their policy will cover you.

However, if you use someone else’s car frequently such as for school or work   you need to be added as a driver to the policy. If you’re not listed as a driver on the policy and the company discovers that you frequently drive the car, they can deny any claim you file.

Every company is different, but a car owner you live with can usually add you to their policy as a designated driver. That includes other family members and even roommates.

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Does my parent’s insurance cover me as a teen driver?

A parent or guardian’s insurance policy can cover teen drivers in certain situations. However, they must notify their insurance company of any changes happening in their household. That includes the addition of a new teen driver.

If you don’t have a car of your own, they can add you to the policy for whichever vehicle you’ll be driving. Listing you as a driver allows you to use your car for school, work, and anywhere else you want to go with the vital protection of insurance.

If you have your own car, they’ll need to add you and your vehicle to their policy. However, many companies offer a multicar discount for having more than one vehicle on a policy.

Should teens have their own insurance?

Although it’s easier to include a teen on a parent or guardian’s insurance, sometimes they need their insurance policy.

Teens will need their own policy if they have a car and have no one else to add them to an existing plan. However, finding insurance as a teen can be tricky. Minors can’t enter binding agreements, so insurance companies typically don’t sell to teens.

Instead, teens will need a parent or guardian’s signature. Until they come of age, the parent or guardian will be held accountable for the policy.

An exception to this rule is emancipated teens. If you’ve been legally emancipated, insurance companies will sell you a policy without the need for an additional signature.

However, teens don’t need a separate insurance policy to drive a parent or guardian’s car. As long as they’ve been added as a driver, there’s no need to buy additional coverage.

In fact, buying a separate insurance policy for a teen driver should be avoided as much as possible. Insurance rates for teens are the highest for any demographic and are often too expensive for young drivers to afford.

How much does teen insurance cost?

Teens pay more for insurance than other age groups because insurance companies consider them a higher risk.

Statistically speaking, teens are more likely to be involved in an incident. While teens are involved in accidents for a variety of reasons, the following are the most common:

  • Lack of skills. Teens haven’t spent enough time on the road to know what to do in tricky situations. Some of the most challenging conditions for teens are low visibility, icy roads, and heavy traffic.
  • Poor risk management. Many teens don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions. From speeding to brake checking, teens are more likely to engage in riskier behavior than adults.
  • Distraction. Teens are more likely to check phones and interact with passengers than more experienced drivers.
  • Inexperience. Teen drivers lack the hours of experience behind the wheel to know when a dangerous situation arises. For example, according to Teen Driver Source, fatigue is a leading cause of teen crashes. They didn’t recognize when it was time to get off the road. 

Insurance companies charge much more for a standalone teen policy with these risk factors in mind. However, some companies are more lenient towards young drivers than others. To get an idea of how much you might be charged for insurance, check out the average monthly prices below.

Car Insurance for Teens
CompanyMale Teen DriverFemale Teen Driver
State Farm$432$356
American Family$450$357
Liberty Mutual$884$540
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As you can see, it’s best to be added to your parent or guardian’s policy whenever possible. If you plan to use a family member’s car, they can simply add you to an existing policy that is more than enough for you to drive.

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Can I drive my mom’s car if I’m visiting?

Teens living at home aren’t the only people who use a parent or guardian’s car. Adult children returning home from college or for the holidays will likely need to borrow a relative’s car from time to time.

A parent or guardian’s insurance will cover you if you use a car a few times while visiting. If you’re involved in an accident, the car’s insurance applies to you even if you’re not listed on the policy.

For lengthy visits of a week or more, the policy owner should consider notifying their company that you’ll be driving the car. Any claim you might have to make won’t be denied because you’ve been using the car too often.

If you’re returning home for an extended time, you should consider a non-owner policy. Non-owner policies cover drivers rather than cars. If you are in an accident while driving someone else’s car, your non-owner insurance will cover you.

However, if you have your own auto insurance on another vehicle, you might be able to make a claim involving their car. Sometimes, your policy will make up the difference if your parent or guardian’s insurance runs out before all the damage is covered. 

Not all policies will step in if you’ve been driving someone else’s car, but it doesn’t hurt to ask a representative ahead of time.

Make Sure You’re Covered on Your Mom’s Insurance

When you get behind the wheel of your mom or any other relative’s car, their insurance will probably cover you. As long as you drive their car sparingly, you should be covered if you’re involved in an accident.

You’ll need to be added to the policy if you plan on using a relative’s car for frequent driving, though. Of course, adding a driver to a policy will increase the price, but the coverage will be worth it if anything happens.

If you need to be added to your mom’s or anyone else’s policy, shopping around for quotes can help save you money. Comparing policies can also help you find the best product for your situation.

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