INSURANCE GUIDE

When your child turns 16, he or she earns a rite of passage: freedom. That freedom comes in the form of a driver’s license. Of course, you want to ensure that your child is as safe as possible behind the wheel, yet you also want to save as much money as possible. Like most parents, you’ve probably included your child on your own auto insurance policy.

how long can child be on parents auto insurance policyIncluding your young adult driver on your car insurance is a wise idea. First and foremost, it ensures that he or she has the coverage that is legally required and protects him or her. It’s also probably saving you money, as you’re insurance provider is likely giving you a discount for insuring another driver. And lastly, insuring your child under your insurance makes life easier because there’s no need to worry about managing separate policies.

While insuring your young adult driver under your car insurance policy is a wise idea, you may be wondering if there’s ever a risk of having him or her kicked off the policy. It’s important to familiarize yourself with car insurance companies protocol for covering children on your policy so that you can ensure your not-so-little one (time flies, doesn’t it) always has the proper coverage.

How Long Can Your Child Remain on Your Auto Insurance Policy?

If your child is insured under your policy, you’ll be happy to know that there isn’t any set time limit that dictates how long he or she can remain on your insurance. As long as your young driver is a dependent, he or she can be covered by your auto insurance indefinitely.

With that said, it’s important to be aware of what your car insurance provider deems as a dependent. It varies from provider to provider, but typically, your child has to be a resident at your address either full- or part-time, and he or she has to operate a vehicle that you own in order to stay on your policy. So, if your child is going off to college, yet your home will remain his permanent residence, he can stay on your policy. Or, if your child is living at home on a full-time basis, she can remain on your policy.

When Will Your Child Need to Have an Independent Policy

There are three factors that will determine when your child will have to get his or her own insurance policy:

  1. He or she owns the title of the vehicle that is being driven. In that case, your insurance provider will likely want your child to purchase a separate policy.
  2. He or she is no longer a resident of your household. As soon as your child’s permanent address is different from yours, he or she will need to establish a separate car insurance policy.
  3. He or she gets married. The majority of car insurance providers consider marriage a separation from the family unit. This means that your child will be required to carry his or her own insurance policy marries. Your child and spouse can share a policy; however, you cannot cover your child and his or her spouse under your auto insurance policy. With that said, if a married child still lives at home after marriage, he or she may still be listed under your policy; but, that does not mean that your young adult driver will not need to purchase a separate policy.

Does Your Child Have to Be Insured to Drive Your Car?

If you’re allowing your child to drive your car, then he or she will need to be insured. All residents of a household who will be operating the same car must be covered by a single auto insurance policy. In other words, as long as your child is a resident of your household and you own the vehicle that he or she will be operating, your child will need to be listed as a driver of that car on your auto insurance policy in order to legally operate it.

When Will Insurance Rates Go Down?

When you add your child to your auto insurance policy, the rates will increase. That’s because young drivers – especially teens – are more of a liability to insurance providers, and therefore, they are more expensive to insure. With that said, once your child reaches the age of 25, if he or she is still under your policy, you can expect to see the rates drop.

Additionally, there are ways to save on auto insurance when your child is covered by your policy. Many insurance companies offer discounts for college students who maintain a certain GPA. If your child is a member of an honor society, a sorority, or a fraternity, discounts may also apply. Driving a vehicle that is deemed safe (such as one that is on the IIHS Top Picks for Safety), you could get a discount on insurance.