Is my child covered on my car insurance?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: May 23, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Your auto insurance will pay when drivers who are defined as insureds are driving your vehicle and have a loss
  • Insureds include rated drivers who are listed under the policy, the named insured’s spouse, resident relatives who are disclosed to the company, and individuals living outside of the home who have been given permission to drive
  • When your child lives in your home and you intentionally don’t disclose them on your policy, your insurer can deny your claims leaving you liable to pay for damages on your own
  • If you have a dependent college student who is studying 100 miles or more away from your home, be sure to keep them listed on your policy; while they do need to be on the policy for coverage while they are visiting, you will receive a Student Away From Home Discount

Just because you give your child permission to drive your car doesn’t mean they are automatically covered under your auto insurance policy.

Before you decide to be the “cool” mom or dad who lets your teen borrow their car, be sure to check and see if the existing insurance that you have will cover them while the car is in their custody.

It’s your obligation as a parent and as a responsible vehicle owner to buy adequate protection that safeguards you and your assets from claims and lawsuits.

When you have a young driver in your home, the cost of insurance that safeguards you will jump. While rates do go up, covering your child under your policy is a must if you want to avoid having an uninsured loss.

Compare car insurance rates for your situation and see if you could be saving money! Enter your zip code above to get started!

Who is insured to drive your car?


Your auto insurance policy clearly defines who is covered to drive your car and who isn’t. People who are covered to drive your car are called insureds.

If you ever have a question as to who is considered an insured, you should reference your policy booklet and your declarations page.

Your declarations page will show who’s listed on the policy and your policy booklet will give you the definition of an insured under your contract.

While the wording of the contract can range from carrier to carrier, most definitions are similar in nature. Here’s a brief breakdown of who fits the definition of an insured:

  • A resident spouse
  • A spouse who’s changed residency for up to 90 days after the move
  • A resident relative related by marriage, blood, or adoption who’s listed on the policy
  • Any other driver who’s listed on the policy
  • A permissive user who doesn’t live in the home

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What happens when you allow your child to get their permit?

Teens aren’t just issued licenses and expected to learn as they go.

While it does take experience for an adolescent to become a responsible and defensive driver, states don’t give teens full driving privileges until they have passed a provisional period.

This is when the teen will be issued a permit and required to drive under supervision.

If you allow your child to get a permit, your coverage is just as restricted as your child’s permit to drive.

In most cases, your insurer will cover your child while they have a permit without literally adding the teen to your the listed driver category of your declarations page. Some companies will charge a fee for even drivers with just their permit.

Your child is free to drive with their permit, but that doesn’t mean that they are free to drive anywhere. Your insurance carrier can deny claims made while your child is driving a car if they don’t comply with the restrictions on their permit.

Some companies will only extend complimentary coverage when you or a listed driver are supervising the teen.

Licensed Teens in the Home Need to be Listed for Coverage


Just when you think that having a teen in the home that drives isn’t so bad, here comes their licensing exam. When your teen is eligible for their driver’s license everything changes.

They don’t have a restricted privilege and they must be added to your policy. This is when your premiums will skyrocket because of the new risk in the home.

When your teen gets their license, you need to contact your insurer immediately to add your child to your insurance. The company may be aware of the fact that the teen lives in the home, but they’re not covered until they are a rated driver.

If you don’t notify the insurer of the change, the company may think that your failure to update your policy was intentional. If they make this determination after your teen has a loss, your claim could be denied.

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Do you have to cover your child when they are away at college?

After a few years of paying high-risk insurance rates, you may be relieved when your teen officially becomes a more independent college student.

If your child is studying away from home, it doesn’t mean that you should remove them from the policy.

As long as the college student still financially depends on you, you need to keep them listed as a driver under your policy to ensure that you have financial protection.

Luckily, if the student leaves without a car, you’ll be eligible for a Student Away From Home discount that will keep premiums down. Your child will be covered to drive non-owned cars at school and your cars when they visit home.

When can you remove your child from your policy?


You can’t fully remove your child from your policy until they move out of your home and become financially independent.

If they own their own car and have their own insurance, they can be safely removed from your insurance and they won’t affect your premiums any longer.

Having a teen on the road can be a huge risk.

Since you’re liable for any damages that your child causes, you need to protect yourself. Compare premiums for high levels of coverage online to build the best policy.

Use a comparison tool to get instant quotes and select the policy that you feel is best.

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