am i covered under my parents policy?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for 4autoinsurancequote.com for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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The following is an exported forum post from our discontinued forum. If you would like to reply to this old forum post, please post a comment below.

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.

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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.

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