Increasing Car Insurance Coverage (New Child or Teenage Driver)

Increased coverage for your family is sure to raise your car insurance rates, but combining discounts for safe driving, good grades, and family policies can save you up to 60%.

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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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New parents have a long to-do list after having a baby, which is why it’s quite easy to forget about your car insurance. Who can think of car insurance when your priorities shift to making that adorable little human happy?

But, part of keeping your baby safe and happy is protecting them from the consequences of an unfortunate car accident in the future. It always helps to be prepared by covering yourself and your family for any contingencies.

Since we know that it’s really hard to take out time from your busy schedule to research car insurance, we are writing this exhaustive guide to cover every aspect of how to manage your car insurance policy after having a baby.

When your children are old enough to drive, you have to think again about car insurance coverage because you need to add them to your policy if they’re driving your car. Apart from the restlessness of witnessing your babies’ drive for the first time, parents have to bear the massive increase in car insurance premiums as well.

In this article, we will cover both these stages for parents — from increasing coverage after a new baby to adding teenagers to their policy.

So get on this ride and have some fun with us. Enter your ZIP code above to compare insurance quotes for your child.

Should you change coverage because of a new baby?

There’s one thing that almost always changes when you’re blessed with a baby — you switch to a bigger or more sensible car that would comfortably fit your baby and everything that a baby needs.

You not only think about the current need for more space in a car but look into the future where your kids will need to be transported to their ballet classes or birthday parties. And, when you buy a new, big car, it does mean higher car insurance premiums. Because it’s more expensive to repair or replace new car models.

The type of your car influences your car insurance cost a lot, with some models and colors, leading to a significant rise in premiums.

Car Safety Features That You May Need

Motorists who drive with their children tend to be more responsible on the road usually. That’s why insurance companies may not increase your rates as new parents are safer drivers. Also, new parents have less time to drive for leisure, which again reduces the probability of accidents and thereby the chances of filing claims.

In addition to safe driving habits, new parents make sure that their car has all the latest safety features to protect their family. Most auto insurance companies offer extra discounts if car owners invest in high-tech safety features.

Before we start talking about car safety features, you should watch this video about how to install a car seat the right way — because that’s the first step towards your child’s safety.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZLpdvic6Fo

Let’s get to know a few car safety features that will offer you some peace of mind once your baby comes on board.

  • Emergency Response Systems – In most of the states, you’re allowed to make phone calls in the event of an emergency, but if there’s a breakdown or accident, you might lose your ability to make any calls. Emergency response systems allow people to make hands-free calls and assist you in connecting with the right emergency personnel. Emergency response systems like OnStar can be installed in any car for protection during such situations.
  • Rear-view Cameras – Though many cars these days have rear-view cameras, it’s recommended to get one if your car doesn’t have a camera to see what’s behind your car. Distractions are way too common while driving with a baby, and you would be really thankful for the ability to just look at the screen in front of you for backing up.
  • Blind Spot Detection – Another helpful feature when you’re driving with an infant in your car, this technology will assist you in changing lanes by warning you with blinking lights on side-view mirrors if there’s a car on your blind spot.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking Systems – AEBs are fast becoming a sought after safety features in cars. These systems automatically sense any forward-facing collisions to take preventative measures like braking or slowing down your vehicle.

Since you’re going to invest in a new car, most likely, you can look for a model that already comes with those features so that you don’t have to look for these systems after buying your car.

Other safety features that can help you in getting discounts are anti-theft devices, daytime running lights, antilock brakes, and airbags.

Revising Your Coverage Limits and Deductibles

Apart from the fact that there’s another person in the car with you who may need medical expense coverage in the event of an accident, you may have to revise other elements of your car insurance policy.

Changing your coverage limits may not be immediately necessary, however, in the future, you will have to take a bunch of your kid’s friends to movie nights or a night under the stars. For those days, you’re responsible for everyone’s safety, and it would help if you have enough coverage for everyone.

Don’t forget to look at your deductibles as well since your financial situation would likely change, which might make you choose a higher deductible and lower premium,s or lower deductible and high premiums.

You might even consider adding the following types of coverage to your policy after having a baby.

Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)

This may or may not be mandatory in your state, depending on the laws, but if you haven’t bought UM/UIM coverage by now, you should think about adding this to your policy. If you’re hit by a motorist who’s uninsured or underinsured, having the right coverage can help you and your family pay off any expenses as a result of the accident.

Despite mandatory laws, you would be surprised that 13 percent of motorists were uninsured in the year 2015.

Here’s a look at the number of uninsured motorists by each state in 2015 as per data from the Insurance Information Institute.

RankStateUninsured Motorists
1Florida26.70%
2Mississippi23.70%
3New Mexico20.80%
4Michigan20.30%
5Tennessee20%
6Alabama18.40%
7Washington17.40%
8Indiana16.70%
9Arkansas16.60%
10D.C.15.60%
11Alaska15.40%
12California15.20%
13Rhode Island15.20%
14New Jersey14.90%
15Wisconsin14.30%
16Texas14.10%
17Missouri14%
18Illinois13.70%
19Colorado13.30%
20Louisiana13%
21Oregon12.70%
22Ohio12.40%
23Maryland12.40%
24Arizona12%
25Georgia12%
26Kentucky11.50%
27Minnesota11.50%
28Delaware11.40%
29Nevada10.60%
30Hawaii10.60%
31Oklahoma10.50%
32West Virginia10.10%
33Montana9.90%
34Virginia9.90%
35New Hampshire9.90%
36Connecticut9.40%
37South Carolina9.40%
38Iowa8.70%
39Utah8.20%
40Idaho8.20%
41Wyoming7.80%
42South Dakota7.70%
43Pennsylvania7.60%
44Kansas7.20%
45North Dakota6.80%
46Nebraska6.80%
47Vermont6.80%
48North Carolina6.50%
49Massachusetts6.20%
50New York6.10%
51Maine4.50%
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The graphic below shows which states have the highest numbers of uninsured drivers.

map of Uninsured Drivers by state

Florida has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers. If you live in this state, make sure to have UM/UIM coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage

You might have medical coverage from your health insurance, however, it may or may not be applicable for injuries in accidents. Even if you have coverage from your health insurance, it always helps if you assess your current coverage requirements to add a cushion for better protection.

Medical Payments, which is also known as MedPay, helps in covering you and your family’s personal injury costs in the event of an accident irrespective of fault.

infograph of Medpay coverage Situations

One of the salient features of MedPay is that it follows the insured, so even if you’re a passenger in someone’s car or a pedestrian, this coverage will still pay for your injury expenses.

If you are worried about losing your ability to earn as a result of an accident in the future, you can even think of buying Personal Injury Protection or PIP, which covers your earning for a specific period of time along with your medical expenses. PIP will make more sense if you want coverage for both medical expenses and your wages.

Emergency Roadside Service

Breakdowns in the middle of nowhere are never fun for anyone, and it becomes incredibly difficult when you have a baby with you. That’s why as new parents buying an emergency roadside service with your auto coverage should take priority for you. Especially if you have an old car, it’s recommended to always buy this additional rider to drive peacefully.

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How to Insure a Teen Driver

Just like a new baby, it’s exciting for parents to see their children take on the wheels for the first time. And though you couldn’t be more proud of your little babies, young drivers also make a lot of parents anxious.

In addition, you have to think about getting the right insurance coverage to protect your children. So, what should you do — buy them a new policy or add them to your own policy?

Let’s get to understand how should you handle auto insurance coverage for your children.

Adding a Teen Driver to Your Auto Insurance Policy

Car insurance can be expensive depending on what type of coverage you have — but when you add a teenager to your policy, you will feel the impact of a significant rise in your premiums.

Because of lack of experience, teenagers or young drivers are considered much riskier than older drivers. And, there’s evidence to support that claim.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile accidents are the major cause of death among teenagers in the US. Also, teens between the age group of 16 and 19 are the highest risk group for motor vehicle crashes. These reasons make insurance companies charge higher rates for insuring young drivers.

But, there are some ways to include a teenage driver to your policy that will not break your monthly budget.

  • When your children become eligible for driving, start a conversation with your insurance company about how much it would cost to add them to your policy.
  • Weigh the financial cost of adding a teenager to your policy vs. getting their separate policy. Although in most circumstances, adding them to your policy will be much cheaper, you should always compare the quotes.
  • Try enrolling your child as the primary driver of the oldest or cheapest car in your household; this will ensure that the premiums remain low.
  • Even if your insurance company promises great deals for adding a teenager, shop around for better quotes in the market. Also, don’t forget to get as many discounts as possible.

When to Add a Teen Driver to Your Insurance Policy

If you were to buy a separate insurance policy for your teenage children, it would cost much more than having them on your policy. Also, parents are still responsible for the action of their children until they’re minors. When kids get involved in a major accident, parents might have to foot the bills to pay for the damages.

Some people might choose a separate policy with lower coverage limits for their kids to reduce their auto insurance premiums, however, any major accident can cause a financial strain on your family.

It’s all about weighing the consequences of a low premium separate policy vs. a massive rise in premiums when you add a teenager to your policy. Also, you can try getting as many discounts as possible for your children to keep your premiums low.

Can teen drivers stay on their parents’ car insurance if they move?

Legally, children can continue on their parents’ policy for as long as they want, unlike health insurance coverage where there’s an age limit. As long as you live with your parents, you can stay on your parent’s car insurance policy. And, many people choose to do that considering how expensive premiums are for young people.

But, car insurance companies might require you to get your own policy if you own a car or aren’t dependent on your parents. It completely varies from insurer to insurer — some will not have a problem if you stay a little longer while others will force you to get your own policy.

If you have moved out of your parents’ house, you will most definitely be required to get your own policy. Because one of the factors that determine your insurance rate is where your car is garaged.

Can young drivers stay on their parents’ car insurance after getting married?

As we have established in the previous point that you can’t stay on your parents’ policy if you have moved out, the next question is whether married children can stay on their parents’ insurance. That’s only possible if you live with your parents as you’re part of one household in that case.

Usually, children move out of their parents’ house after getting married, which means they have to get their own insurance policy to drive in most of the states that require insurance legally.

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The Cost of Adding a Teen Driver to Your Car Insurance Policy

When it comes to adding a teenage driver to your policy, it almost always leads to an exponential rise in your auto premiums. Because teen drivers pose a much higher risk than experienced drivers.

With new distractions getting added to the list of teenage drivers leading to more crashes, insurance companies are charging as much as possible to cover for any claims in the future.

Why Car Insurance Rates are Higher for Teenage Drivers

As per the CDC, drivers who are below the age of 20 get involved in the maximum number of distracted driving fatal crashes. In 2017, around 9 percent of all teen driving crash fatalities were due to distracted driving.

Apart from indulging in drinking and driving, the instances of texting while driving is also quite high among teens. When you add all these factors with a lack of experience in driving, it’s a disastrous situation for young drivers on the roads.

And, these are some of the reasons that make insurance companies doubt the driving skills of teenagers — hence, the high premiums.

The Cost of Adding a Male Versus Female Teenage Driver

Insurance companies use gender as one of the factors to calculate premiums, which is based on statistics of which gender gets involved in more accidents. Though it’s discriminatory in nature, almost all insurers follow this practice except in states that ban the use of gender for calculating premiums.

While rates are quite high for teenage drivers, it’s specifically much higher for males than their female counterparts. As motorists grow older, other factors take precedence over gender, and the gap in premium reduces, but for young drivers, it’s a different story.

Male drivers are considered more reckless, which is why they’re charged much more than females drivers by insurance companies. If you have teenage boys at home be prepared to pay a lot more in insurance premiums.

Factors That Impact Car Insurance Rates for Teens

By now, you know that age and gender are the two major factors that impact auto insurance premiums for young drivers. Apart from these factors, there are some other factors that are taken into consideration for calculating premiums such as:

  • Location
  • Mileage driven
  • Coverage level
  • Vehicle
  • Credit history

Some of these factors get more weight when you gain experience in driving or become older because they make more sense as you age.

If your teen gets a ticket, will it raise your rates?

If your child gets a ticket for a traffic violation, your insurance rates will go up, and if there are multiple incidences, then your insurance company might refuse to renew your policy. Getting an exclusive policy for your child makes sense when they have had multiple violations because keeping them on your policy wouldn’t make any economic sense.

You can also try getting quotes from other insurance companies to get a better rate as every insurer has its own criteria for weighing claims history, violations, and age of the driver.

Saving Money on Teen Car Insurance Rates

Though insurance rates for teens are high, insurance companies offer some specific discounts to make it more affordable for you. The discounts options available for teens aren’t as exhaustive as what’s offered to motorists above the age of 25, it’s still worth looking at to get a better rate.

Discount Options for Teen Drivers

As a new driver, teens wouldn’t have many options to prove that they’re safe drivers, which can usually bring down the cost of auto insurance considerably, however, there are ways to prove that you’re a safe driver. Let’s look at the discount options for young drivers.

  • Good Student Discount – This is the most popular discount option for students — usually, you should be under the age of 25 to get this offer. If you get a grade of ‘B’ and higher, you’re eligible to get a discount on your premiums. Getting good grades in school means that you’re a dedicated student and wouldn’t engage in reckless driving behavior.
  • Student Away Discount – When young drivers moved away from their homes (usually more than 100 miles), insurance companies offer discounts as they tend to use their parents’ car occasionally or when they are visiting for holidays. This reduces the chances of violations or accidents, resulting in lower premiums.
  • Defensive Drivers’ Training – Motorists have the option to take online defensive drivers’ training program, which is separate from the state-mandated training that every young driver must go through to get a license. Completing this extra course can lead to discounts for teens.
  • Usage-based Discounts – Most of the major car insurance providers offer usage-based discounts to motorists that enable them to track driving patterns for calculating discounts. By installing an app or a Bluetooth device in your car, your insurance carrier can track vital metrics like your acceleration and braking habits to assess whether you’re a safe driver. If you think you follow all the rules of the road, you may consider enrolling in a usage-based program.

Apart from the discounts mentioned above, you can ask an insurance agent for any other discounts that might reduce your premiums. Insurers offer many types of discounts, which may or may not be related to young drivers, for instance — bundling discounts, so you should keep looking for options at every renewal.

Another way to get better insurance rates is to buy a car that’s safe for teen drivers. If you choose a red mustang, it’s going to cost a lot more to insure than traditionally safer cars.

When do car insurance rates for teens begin to stabilize?

Believe it or not, your car insurance rates will go down eventually. With car insurance, it’s all about maintaining a good driving record and proving to insurance companies that you will not be a burden on them. If you successfully avoid accidents and violations, your rates will stabilize after you reach the age of 25.

You can even consult with specific insurance companies to know when your will rates go down to take advantage of reduced premiums when you reach that age bracket. For instance, Progressive mentions that on average, premiums go down by 18 percent when you turn 25.

Divorce and Auto Insurance for Teens

Usually, a divorce may or not impact insurance rates, but since you will get your individual policies after a divorce, you must figure out who will add the children to a policy. Some insurance companies might require children to be on both parents’ policies, while others might only need them to be listed on one’s policy. It can also depend on who has custody of the children.

  • Primary Custody – If you have the sole custody of your children and they spend most of the time with you, then they will be required to be on your policy. You should make sure that they’re covered if they drive your ex-spouse’s car while visiting.
  • Joint Custody – Joint custody might require both parents to add the children to their respective policies as your children will have access to both your cars regularly.

It’s important to set the same rules for driving in both homes after a divorce to avoid any traffic violations or crashes in the future. If kids have to follow different rules, their driving behavior might get impacted.

When should young drivers get their own car insurance policy?

By now, we have established that adding your children to your policy is more economical when they’re starting to drive. Without a driving record, a standalone policy would be quite expensive for teen drivers.

However, eventually, young drivers must buy their own policy once they buy a car or move out of their parents’ house. Most insurance companies require young drivers to get their own policy when they aren’t dependent on their parents anymore.

How to Find a Good Deal on Auto Insurance for Your Adult Children

Although you can keep your adult children on your policy for as long as you want, most insurers would require them to have their own policy when they move out or own a car. In that case, you must help them to get the right insurance coverage that’s also affordable for them.

You can help them to get quotes from multiple insurance companies to compare rates as well as proactively seek discounts from each company. Every company has its own set of car insurance discounts for motorists, and you must ask for new offers while seeking quotes. If your kids aren’t eligible for any discounts for young drivers, you can try for bundling or low mileage discounts.

Another way to keep premiums low is by maintaining a clean driving record. You should try to inculcate a safe driving behavior in your children from the beginning so that they are mindful of their safety as well as everyone else’s on the road.

Own Policy versus Parents’ Policy

Undoubtedly, buying an individual policy will cost much more for a teenager than getting listed on a parents’ policy. Since you’re starting to drive, it always helps to have the backing of your parents initially, which is why it’s not a good idea to get a separate policy as soon as you get a license.

After driving for a few years and maintaining a clean record, you can get your own policy — especially if you have moved out of your parents’ home because then you must buy your own coverage. Buying coverage for the first time would cost you a lot, but you can shop around to get better deals.

Removing Children from Car Insurance Policy

If your child gets his/her own policy, you have to remove them from your policy, to avoid paying the extra cost of coverage. Before removing your kids from your policy make sure that they have bought a policy with at least the minimum required coverage.

Here’s the minimum insurance coverage required across different states.

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements for All U.S. States
StateInsurance requiredMinimum limits
AlabamaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
AlaskaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability50/100/25
ArizonaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability15/30/10
ArkansasBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP25/50/25
CaliforniaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability15/30/5
ColoradoBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/15
ConnecticutBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/20
D.C.Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM25/50/10
DelawareBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP25/50/10
FloridaProperty Damage Liability, PIP10/20/10
GeorgiaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
HawaiiBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP20/40/10
IdahoBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/15
IllinoisBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/20
IndianaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
IowaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability20/40/15
KansasBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP25/50/25
KentuckyBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
LousianaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability15/30/25
MaineBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM, MedPay50/100/25
MarylandBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MassachusettsBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP20/40/5
MichiganBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP20/40/10
MinnesotaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MississippiBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
MissouriBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM25/50/25
MontanaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/20
NebraskaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/25
NevadaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/20
New HampshireFinancial Responsibility Only25/50/25
New JerseyBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5
New MexicoBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/10
New YorkBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10
North CarolinaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM30/60/25
North DakotaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
OhioBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
OklahomaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
OregonBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PennsylvaniaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP15/30/5
Rhode IslandBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/25
South CarolinaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/25
South DakotaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/25
TennesseeBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/15
TexasBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP30/60/25
UtahBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, PIP25/65/15
VermontBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/10
VirginiaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/20
WashingtonBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/10
West VirginiaBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, UIM25/50/25
WisconsinBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability, UM, MedPay25/50/10
WyomingBodily Injury and Property Damage Liability25/50/20
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You can speak to your insurance agent about keeping your children listed as occasional drivers on your policy, which will ensure that they’re covered when they’re driving your car while visiting. If you exclude them completely from your policy, they will not be covered under your insurance.

Benefits of Adding Adult Children to Your Car Insurance

Since there’s no age limit until which children can stay on their parents’ policy, even your adult children can be listed on your car insurance coverage. It obviously makes more sense economically if all the members of your household are listed on one policy, including your children. And, insurance companies also prefer to add all drivers in a household to one policy.

Having more than one person added as a driver on one car is always cheaper for car insurance coverage.

You can also add more than one vehicle to a policy to get a better rate, however, all vehicles should be registered in the name of the main policyholder. If your child owns a car, most insurance companies would require him/her to get a new policy.

In conclusion, it’s important to assess your insurance coverage needs when a new child is born, or your children become eligible for driving. Since you will have more people on your policy, it always makes sense to increase the coverage limits to protect everyone from the consequences of an accident.

When it comes to teenage children, it becomes extremely important to get the right coverage for them as they’re beginning to drive and might get involved in accidents or violations because of their inexperience. Use our quote comparison tool to find the best insurance coverage for your child.

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