Is my child covered under my car insurance?


If your child isn’t yet licensed, then they are usually automatically covered under your car insurance policy, depending on your insurance company. Once your child is a licensed driver, you should add them as a named insured on your car insurance policy.

Car insurance is financial protection in case you cause an accident with your car or in case your car is stolen or damaged. An auto policy is essential protection for every driver (and all but two states require drivers to have an active car insurance policy by law). 

When buying a policy, you need to give your insurance company the names of the members in your household who will be regularly driving any vehicles. This usually means all licensed drivers in your household, including your children if they are over 16 and have their license. If a member of your household is not named on your policy, depending on your insurance company, they might not be covered. That said, some insurers will extend coverage to certain unlisted drivers.

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Who from your household is listed on your auto policy, along other factors like the make and model of your listed vehicles, will affect the price of your insurance premium. For example, your car insurance company will charge you higher rates if your child is a teen driver because teen drivers are riskier to insure than experienced drivers. 

Key Takeaways

  • Student drivers are usually covered under your car insurance policy, but once your child gets their license you will need to add them as a named insured on your auto policy

  • If your child is away at college without a car, you might qualify for an auto insurance discount

  • If your child owns their own car, you should still consider keeping them on your auto policy. Auto insurance is generally more expensive for young and new drivers, so adding them to your policy will be the cheaper option

  • Most car insurance companies allow you to add new drivers to your current policy either over the phone or through their website

When is your child covered by your car insurance?

Different car insurance companies have different guidelines when it comes to coverage for family members living in your household, as well as unlisted drivers.

Typically, if you lend your car to a licensed driver, they will be covered under your policy through what’s called permissive use. Permissive use is when you allow someone not on your policy, like a friend, to drive your vehicle from time to time. Under permissive use at least some of your coverage will be extended to other drivers if they get in an accident while borrowing your car.

However, if the person will be borrowing your vehicle often, then you should add them to your policy. And if a family member who lives in your household, like your teenage child, will be driving your car, you should officially add them to your policy. Some insurance companies explicitly require every licensed driver in the household to be listed on a policy.

When your teenager gets their learner’s permit, you should contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies will cover your student driver even if they aren’t listed on your auto policy, as long as they are driving your car with you. However, depending on your insurance company and the state you live in, you might be required to list your student driver on your policy. And when they get their driver’s license, you will definitely need to contact your insurance company to get your child listed on your auto policy.

Below are the main parties you should list on your auto policy:

  • Licensed family members living in your household

  • Drivers who will be frequently driving your vehicle

  • Unrelated drivers living in your household

When it comes to car insurance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You should contact your insurance company to get all licensed members of your household insured under your auto policy if they are going to be driving your car, or you risk having to pay out of pocket if they get into an accident.

Your car insurance rates will likely go up when you add your child to your auto policy. Young and inexperienced drivers are more likely to get into car accidents, so insurers are taking on more risk by insuring them. However the cost of insuring a young driver drops each year as they get closer to 25, assuming they maintain a clean driving record.

Car insurance for college students

If your child is in college and living away from home, they can still stay on your auto insurance policy as long as your home is their primary residence. That said, you should talk to your insurance company if your child is taking a car with them to school, especially if they are going out-of-state. You might need to adjust your coverage according to that state’s regulations, and your premiums may change if one of your vehicles.

If your child does not bring a car with them to college, you might be eligible for a discount, depending on your insurance company. Even if they aren’t driving regularly, you should still keep them as a named insured on your policy, especially if they plan on driving your vehicles when they’re home from school.

➞ Learn more about car insurance for college students

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Should I keep my child on my car insurance if they own their own car?

If your child owns their own car, you should still consider adding them and their vehicle to your policy. If your child is under 25 and wants to get their own car insurance, it will be much more expensive for them to have a separate policy than it would be to add them and their car to your policy.

Even though adding a teenage driver will raise your premiums, your child can also get you discounts on your policy once you’ve added them. For example, most insurance companies will offer good student discounts or driver’s education discounts.

How to add someone to your car insurance policy

Adding someone to your car insurance policy is a relatively easy process. Generally speaking, you should add all licensed family members in your household to your insurance policy. Most car insurance companies will allow you to add a new person to your policy either online or over the phone.

Before calling your insurance company or going online, you should have some basic information on hand:

  • The driver’s full name and date of birth

  • The driver’s Social Security number

  • The driver’s license number

  • The driver’s driving history, including recent accidents and violations

Car insurance premiums are based on a variety of factors, from where you live to your driving history to the make and model of your car. Adding a new person to your policy might not change your premiums at all. However, if your child is young or a new driver, then your premiums are likely to go up.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I don't add my child to my auto insurance?

Before your child gets their license, when they're learning to drive, they may be automatically covered by your policy. But once they have their license, if they live with you and will be driving your car, they need to be added to your policy. If they're not and they're in an accident in your vehicle, it might not be covered.

Can someone not on your insurance drive your car?

Drivers with explicit permission to drive your car are automatically covered by your insurance in the event of an accident, even if they’re not officially listed on your policy. These “permissive use” drivers are covered the way you or anyone on your insurance would be if they’re involved in an accident while driving your car.

Can I drive someone else's car without my own insurance?

You can operate someone else’s vehicle without your own insurance as long as you were given permission to drive their car. In general, if you borrow someone else’s car occasionally, you do not need to be added to their policy. But if you plan to drive their car frequently you might want to look into a non-owner policy, and if you live with them, you should be listed under their policy to secure protection.