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Is my child covered on my auto insurance?

Important facts to know...
  • When you have a teen in the home who has their permit, they don’t usually need to be added to your policy
  • Most insurers cover teens with a provisional license for free, but some may charge a small fee to extend coverage
  • When your teen’s driving privilege becomes unrestricted and they hold a driver’s license, they need to be added
  • If your teen or adult child lives in your home and doesn’t have their own insurance, they need to be a driver on your policy
  • When your child goes away to college, keep them rated with a Student Away at School classification to protect yourself

Having a baby costs a lot of money. From diapers and wipes to bottles and clothes, the total cost adds up a lot faster than you’d initially think.

In fact, surveys show that the average parent will spend about $12,000 in the first year of parenthood. Unfortunately, those costs only continue to grow as your child ages in the form of new expenses.

One of the expenses that you won’t have to worry about factoring into your budget for about 16 years is insurance.

After hauling your kids and their friends around for years, you look forward to that day when your teen can drive to the mall. You might be scared, but like most parents, you understand that your child getting licensed is part of growing up.

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Before you send them off on the open road, here’s what you need to know about your insurance:

Your Insurance May Automatically Cover Your Teen With Their Permit

 

Teens aren’t just handed over a licensed and granted permission to hit the road. They have to learn the rules of the road and then they have to develop the skill that they need to drive safely and responsibly. This is why states issue the learner’s permit after a teen has passed a written test but before they are 18 years of age.

Since a learner’s permit is a provisional license, it only gives the teen the right to drive under the supervision of an adult with their license.

Being that the license is restricted, most parents can get automatic coverage under their existing policy that will pay for claims that you make when your teen is driving. This is a very common practice.

Know the Limitations of Automatic Coverage

You should always check with your insurer to see if they will extend coverage to your permitted teen without adding them.

If they confirm that you do have coverage for your teen, know the limitations of that coverage. First off, the teen must live in your household for the coverage to extend. Second, they must be supervised by a listed driver on the plan.

As long as your teen is complying with the restrictions on your provisional license, there shouldn’t be a problem if there is a loss.

Just be sure that you have high enough limits to protect you now that you have a dependent in the home who is inexperienced and who is far more likely to have a loss that results in damages and injuries.

When do you need to add your teen to your policy?

Your policy won’t always cover your teenager for free. In fact, periodically, your insurer will check with you if they know you have a teen in the home to see if they have been licensed. If you don’t add the teen in a timely manner after they are issued a driver’s license, it could be considered an intentional lie to save money.

It’s important that you add a young driver to your insurance as soon as they leave the DMV with their license.

The automatic coverage ends when the teen is no longer a restricted driver and has their own license number. This will protect your finances and your income if they are ever in an accident and you are sued for the damages.

What do you need to add your teen to your policy?

Adding your teen to your policy isn’t very difficult. If you want to get prepared to make the change to your coverage, you can call your agent and ask them if they could provide you with a quote to see how much your rates will change on the official day that they’re licensed.

Here’s what you need to add a new driver:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Driver license number
  • Dates of conviction or accidents
  • Which vehicle the driver will be assigned to
  • Date of driver training (for discount purposes)
  • Evidence of good grades

Do you need to add an adult child in the home to your policy?

 

If you have an adult child still living at home, you don’t always have to list them on your insurance.

Whether or not you need to rate them as a driver depends on if they have their own car and their own insurance. If they are self-sufficient and they have their own policy in place, you can add them as a deferred operator and they won’t change your rates.

If your adult child is licensed, lives in your home, and doesn’t have their own insurance, they either need to be rated as a household driver on the policy or excluded. If you exclude them from the policy, they will not be covered to drive any cars in the home at all until they are added as a driver to your insurance.

What happens when your teen goes away to college?

When your high schooler graduates from school and they go off to college, it could change the way that you structure your car insurance. Before you take the student off of your policy, you should think about the risks.

Even if your student leaves without a car, you should keep them rated on the policy so that you have protection if they borrow a car. This is why you should take advantage of a Student Away at School discount, which allows you to rate them but get a discount at the same time.

Your child may or may not be covered by your insurance. You should check to see if your teen is covered before you make any assumptions. If you want to price the cost of adding your teen to your policy, use an online rate comparison tool and get instant quotes from several different carriers.

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