am i covered under my parents policy?

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i just got my license and want to start driving. i’m 19 and live in washington dc. my parents have insurance.  does this automatically mean that I am covered?  my friend said that they don’t need to insure me, only the cars.  is this true?

so, do i need insurance? or can i just drive their cars without it?

Our Answer

As a teenage driver, you are one of the riskiest drivers for an insurance company to insure. That means higher insurance prices.

Some teenage drivers try to avoid this problem by getting car insurance through their parents’ policy. You might think you’re smart and can avoid high insurance prices.

teen driverIt’s true: you can get car insurance through your parents’ policy and remain fully covered while driving their vehicles. Unfortunately, you will need to be specifically added to your parents’ policy as a named individual, and that means your parents’ insurance premiums will rise significantly.

Here’s how your parents’ car insurance works, assuming your parents have two cars: your parents have insurance for both cars. This insurance follows each vehicle. The insurance covers anyone who drives each vehicle (assuming the person has permission to drive the car). However, since you live in the same household as your parents, you will need to be added to their policy as a named individual. Every licensed driver in your household needs to be listed under your auto insurance policy.

If you live in the same house as your parents and drive their vehicle, but you’re not a named driver on their car insurance policy, and you get into an accident, then your car insurance will not cover that accident. You could be on the hook for substantial medical expenses and car repair costs.

Getting listed under your parents’ policy will raise premiums for your parents. As a 19-year-old driver, you’re a risky driver to insure – even if your parents have a long history of safe driving and an impeccable driving record. Expect your parents’ car insurance policy costs to rise significantly when you’re added to the policy as a named driver. However, the cost of adding yourself to your parents’ policy may be less than getting your own car insurance policy.

Whatever you decide to do, we have one recommendation: don’t drive without insurance. A simple act – like driving your parents’ car for 5 minutes to get a carton of milk from the convenience store – can lead to lifelong repercussions – like when you seriously injure a family in another vehicle and they require $200,000 of medical bills, with no coverage from insurance whatsoever. Driving without insurance is not only illegal, but it’s also financially reckless.

Before you drive your parents’ vehicle, make sure you’re listed as a named driver on their insurance policy (assuming you live at the same household).

What About Moving Out?

Let’s say you move out of your parents’ house (or you already moved out). What now?

Well, this is where things can get complicated. If you’ve moved away to study full-time at school, then you’re still considered a permanent resident of your home address, which means you’re still officially living with your parents.

If you have permanently moved away from home and are living on your own, meanwhile, then your parents can remove you from their car insurance policy. You should still be covered when driving your parents’ vehicle, although we strongly recommend contacting your car insurance company to verify this information before you drive.

What about if you move out but still drive your parents’ car? Let’s say your parents gave you a car when you moved away. That car is still registered to your parents’ name and is insured to your parents’ address, but you use it as your daily driver. This is a big problem: your car needs to be insured under your name and your address if you are the primary driver of the vehicle.

Ultimately, insurance can get complicated and expensive for 19-year-old drivers. If you’re living at home, however, then you are not automatically covered under your parents’ car insurance unless you’re a named driver on their car insurance policy.

Other Answers

Answer 1

Unfortunately, your parents will need to add you to their policy.  You cannot just drive their cars without insurance (even if the cars are insured).

The way it works is this – your parents buy insurance policies for the cars in their household.  They need to add all drivers in the household under this policy.  If you live under the same roof as them, and drive the car, yet aren’t a policy holder and get into an accident, you won’t be covered.

Getting listed under your parents policy will cost you extra money, but it shouldn’t be too expensive.  Take a look at this article for information related to insurance for teenage drivers.

Whatever you do, don’t drive without insurance.  Not only is it illegal in the US, it is financially dangerous.  If you get into an accident without insurance, your parents’ insurance company could deny coverage and cripple your family monetarily.

Answer 2

Nice question and great answer. The car  my parents own is insured and it has a policy which states that the driver will be covered. So if I am driving that car, I am automatically covered.

Answer 3

You will need to get insured. Your parent’s policy may have a special protection for occasional driver it is very uncommon.

There are two angles on car insurance protection, the cars and the drivers. Variables are distinct to each angle. For example, the model, the car value, the annual mileage, the anti-theft system are variables specific to the car. Your age, your driving record and your credit score are variables specific to the driver.

The combination of all these variables will define your risk and your premium. Don’t worry, insurance price for occasional driver is averagely 50% cheaper than regular insurance.

Answer 4

Since you do need to be on their insurance and it may or may not raise their rates I definitely wanted to recommend keeping an eye out for teen driver car insurance discounts. I sent my grades in for discounts from the time I started driving in high school until I graduated from college!

Answer 5

I hope you aren’t confusing the issue here and driving uninsured. Generally speaking, your parents can allow you to drive their car under their insurance as long as you don’t live in their house without adding you as a driver. If you DO live in their house, you are NOT covered under their policy just because it says that licensed drivers they give permission to are covered. The exclusion is for people within the same household. You ought to double check with the insurance agent handling your parents policy. I know you probably would be tempted not to rock the boat and just keep on the way you are, but it won’t be worth it if you are in an accident. The insurance company can and probably will refuse to pay and a lot of problems can ensue.


  Comments: 22

  1. Willie hoven

    My son live in another county, if he borrowered my car to take home how long will it be cover

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Willie,
      It depends on which countries you are talking about. US car insurance is only valid in the United States and Canada, so unless he is driving from Canada to the US, you won’t have coverage. Either you or he will need to buy car insurance in the country that he is currently in. Generally, if he is borrowing your car but lives somewhere else, there isn’t a set amount of time that he is covered. Once he is using your car on a more permanent basis, that’s when he will need to get his own policy.

  2. My son 17 has no car insurance and live in the same house. Can he drive my car while I go with him? Will my insurance cover him too?

    • No. If he is driving an uninsured vehicle he is breaking the law. He must have the vehicle insured in his name. Or you insure the vehicle and add him as a driver. If you ride with him knowing he has no insurance, you are just as bad as he is.

      • That doesn’t seem to be correct. As stated the parents have insurance so the vehicle is insured and unless I am mistaken the owner of an insured vehicle as the right to loan their vehicle to a licensed driver. Their relationship to the owner should have no bearing on it.

    • No he will not be covered. He is of driving age and lives in the household with you he needs to be added to your policy as a driver. Even with you present in the vehicle insurance company can still refuse the claim.

      • Not true. In WI I can allow but daughter to drive my car and she lives in my house and my car still covered. I no from past experience. So it’s different each state.

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      It really depends on the state and the insurance company you are with. Some insurance companies are more strict than others when it comes to having a child drive a parent’s vehicle and is not listed on the policy. Some companies will pay the claim, but then force you to add him as a driver. Other companies will pay the claim and then set your policy to nonrenew at the end of the term. Still, other companies will deny the claim. The best thing for you to do to ensure you both have coverage is to add him to your policy. If your premium is too high with your current company, then you can shop around for a different insurance company.

  3. It is possible to add your teenage child to your auto insurance coverage as a parent. Such a move will obviously have its pros and cons. On the pro side, the rates might be cheaper than getting a new policy, especially if the parents have a good track record on their policy. Another benefit is that a parent will qualify for multi-car discount. On the other hand, the premiums might be very high if the parents have a poor safety record.

  4. “Whatever you do, don’t drive without insurance. Not only is it illegal in the US, it is financially dangerous” Incorrect. It is actually much more financially dangerous to (legally) be FORCED to pay for a ‘service’, on a costly, month to month basis. Lets say a driver has a ‘good record’ according to varying standards throughout the industry, AS WELL AS a up to date and good pay history. What does this so called ‘service’ that he/she has been obediently been paying for do? Anything and everything possible to not have to uphold their end of the contract. Even IF you do get reimbursued for losses through said organization, it results in a future rate hike that you must pay, EVEN IF YOUR NOT AT FAULT. Also, the duration varies state to state. What a joke.

  5. I was recently ina car accident and I was driving my moms car when a car megade into us. My moms insurance decline the claim due to the fact I’m not in the policy so we went with the other party’s insurance and they decline the claim as well since my moms insurance did to and said that they were gonna take there insurece side cause we had no one backing us up. The car has full coverage do they said have fix it ???

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Alison,
      The fact that the car has full coverage on it doesn’t really matter with regards to the claim. If the insurance company already denied the claim because you weren’t listed as a driver, then that’s their reason and the car having full coverage doesn’t matter for that reason. The only way you could get them to possibly pay is to sue the insurance company. However, the amount of money you would need to pay a lawyer would likely be much higher than the amount to fix the car, and you still wouldn’t be guaranteed to win a legal suit in this case.

  6. My son rents a house off me and my wife..would he covered to drive our vehicle? We have another property that we live at and our licence’s are at different addresses..the rental house and our house plus the vehicles are all insured with the same company in Ontario Canada..i should point out the the house my son lives at is registered with the insurance company as a rental

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Mike,
      This is another gray area that would entirely depend on your insurance company. Each company has different rules for having unlisted drivers. However, if he or anyone else has regular access to the vehicle, then he needs to be listed as a driver. While an insurance contract does technically follow the vehicle and allows you to give permission to anyone to drive it, that’s more for a one-off event rather than regular access. If your car is his primary vehicle that he uses frequently, then he needs to be listed as a driver, or have the car put in his name and he would buy his own insurance policy.

  7. Hi, I am 38 yes old, I got stopped by gaurds driving my dad’s jeep, it’s insured private, I drive a van but it’s insured commercial, now IM up in court in July for driving without insurance the gaurd said, I have a full lience 20yrs ,my policy says I wasn’t insured to drive my dad’s jeep, is their anything I can do???

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Brendan,
      If you are already in court, then the only thing you can do now is hiring a lawyer to help you. You do have a license and your own insurance, and if your dad has insurance on the Jeep, then you should be fine. If this was a one-off event, then your dad’s insurance should be valid and would cover you in this situation. It’s difficult to know the situation without more details, but at this point, you should probably seek the advice of a lawyer.

  8. Hi, I was recently pulled over headed home from a dinner with my parents. We drove in their car to dinner. After dinner my father said he was feeling nauseous if I could drive home. I got pulled over for having my high beams on. He gave me a warning for that but gave me a ticket for the insurance being in my fathers name. I don’t live in their household and really never drive their car. Is there anything I can do?

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Daisy,
      It depends on how much you want to fight this ticket. It sounds like you might have a chance at having the ticket revoked because your father has the right to allow anyone to drive his car with his permission. The named insured, or owner, of an auto insurance, can give anyone permission to drive their vehicle and that person will have coverage, as will the vehicle. This is especially true if you don’t live with them and you driving the car was just a one-off event. There is definitely coverage under your father’s policy, so you probably shouldn’t have received a ticket for that. It will be up to you whether to fight that ticket in court or not, but you could contest it. It’s best to speak with an attorney before doing anything in a court of law.

  9. My 16yr old son is moving in with his god mother for school purposes. Temporary joint custody through Nj courts. Does he have to get car insurance through hes god-mother? or can it be under hes parents policy? and will hes driver licence have to have his god-mothers address as well.

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Joe,
      It would likely need to be either on his own policy or his godmother’s. It will partly depend on who owns the title of the car. It should be either in his name or his godmother’s name. And if he is living there, then he could be added to his godmother’s policy and listed as a driver. That route would likely be cheaper, but his godmother would have to be okay with that since an accident he might get into would also affect her. Otherwise, he would need to get his own policy, which would likely be a lot more expensive.

  10. I have 2 cars, both covered. My daughter just leased a car and have her own insurance. She lives with me. I tried to drop her from my insurance and I was told not to because if she drives my car and has an accident, her insurance will not cover and neither mine, and for the same reason they added me to her policy. Does it make sense to be covered in 2 car insurances? What am I missing?

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Lucy,
      Some insurance companies do require that. They want to know who could have immediate access to the vehicle on any given day, which would usually be a family member living with another family member. On the one hand, you’re right, it doesn’t really make sense to be named on two insurance policies. On the other, you both would definitely have coverage without any doubts.
      However, it’s worth pointing out that some insurance companies wouldn’t require you to do that. They might want to see proof that your daughter has her own policy and vice versa, but they wouldn’t require both of you to be on both policies. Each company is a little different in that requirement.

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