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

If you live with your parents, you need to be listed as a driver on the policy. If you're an adult child who lives outside of the home, you may be covered to drive your mom's car.

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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: Jul 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You’re covered to drive other vehicles that you don’t own under your existing insurance in most scenarios
  • If you don’t have your own insurance, be sure to verify that you’re covered to drive under the primary policy
  • If you live in the household with the vehicle owner, you need to be listed as a driver on the policy to be covered
  • If you’re an adult child who lives outside of the home, you may be covered to drive your mom’s car occasionally
  • If you are excluded under the policy because of your driving record or a prior claim, you won’t be covered under the policy

If you live at your parents’ house or you’re visiting home for the holidays, it’s important to check and see if you’re covered to drive their car before you jump in and take it for a ride.

The last thing you want to do is turn your short ride to the store to pick up milk into a stressful disaster.

You don’t always have to be named as a driver on your mom or dad’s insurance to be extended coverage. In some cases, the company will be willing to pay as if you were a driver on the declarations page even when you don’t have coverage on your own.

It’s your job to verify how the primary policy works and what could jeopardize coverage for your parents before you take a spin.

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Can I drive my mom’s car if I’m not on her insurance?

Insurance is all about structure. You need to structure your policy right by adding your vehicles, the drivers in your home, and the coverage that you feel is necessary and adequate.

Anyone who buys insurance and doesn’t take the time to verify that it’s structured right is at risk of being offered low settlements or having your claims denied altogether.

If you want to borrow your mom’s car and you live with her, there’s a good chance there’s a provision in your policy that will say that you’re only covered to drive if you’re listed as a driver.

In most policies, insurance companies require policyholders to list all of their family members and friends who live in the home and who have access to the car.

If you’re not listed and you’re a household resident, coverage won’t extend.

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Does my parents’ car insurance cover me?

As a licensed teen or an adult child who lives in the home and who doesn’t have their own insurance, you need to be a rated driver.

A rated driver is someone who has access to the cars, is a resident in the home, and isn’t covered by liability insurance anywhere else. Since these drivers do affect risk, they can affect the policyholder’s rates.

Several different factors are used to rate a driver once they are added to the policy.

Some experienced drivers who have good records won’t have much of an impact on the rates.

Other drivers can significantly impact the rates if they fall into a high-risk class.

Here are factors that are considered:

  • Your age
  • How long you’ve had a license
  • Which car you’re assigned to
  • If you’re a primary driver or occasional driver
  • Tickets on your record
  • Accidents in the last 3 years

Are there exceptions that you should know about?

If you live in the household and you’re still a teen, you may not need to be a rated driver to be covered under your mom or dad’s policy. You do need to be added for coverage once licensed.

The only time there’s an exception to the household member rule is when you are a teen driver, you live in the home, and you only have a provisional permit.

If you are about to get your permit to drive under adult supervision, you should always have your parents call their insurer and let the company know.

In most cases, they will give you the go-ahead to drive without having to make any changes to the contract.

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What happens if you’re away at college?

If you are still a student but you’re studying for college away from home, tell your mom not to rush to delete you from the policy.

When you’re away at school without a car, you can be rated as such on the policy for a discount.

In the event that you borrow a car or come home to visit, you’ll be covered without any complications.

Are you covered to drive if you are visiting your parents?

If you’re an adult and you’ve already moved out of the home, you may have coverage automatically without being rated.

When you move out, you no longer fit the household resident classification so the requirement doesn’t exist.

This means that the coverage currently on the policy should extend to you as a permissive user.

Under the permissive user provision of a standard auto insurance policy, it says that the policyholder is free to let their friends or family occasionally drive the auto without listing them.

There are still very rigid restrictions that you should be aware of.

Some of these permissive user restrictions include:

  • You can’t live in the same household
  • You can’t have regular access to the car
  • You can’t have serious moving violations
  • You must have a valid and active US license
  • You must be at least 25 years old

Check to See If You’re Excluded From the Policy

None of these rules matter if you’ve already been excluded from the policy. A driver exclusion is a form that’s filled out to state that you won’t allow a specific driver to operate your car.

The company can deny any claims when the named driver is driving the car and there’s a loss, and if this is on file, you have no coverage.

Having your own insurance does help if you’re borrowing cars often. If you don’t have a vehicle in your name you can buy a nonowner’s policy as an alternative.

These policies will include liability coverage to cover you while you’re renting or borrowing cars that you don’t own.

Get instant online quotes now to price the cost of nonowner’s insurance and then secure a product that will safeguard you whenever you drive.

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