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As your child reaches the driving age, you’ll likely have questions that must be addressed before they head out on the road. Many parents wonder whether they’re required to add their children to their auto insurance policy, or if it’s even a good idea. While you aren’t required by law to add children to your car insurance policy, it’s often an easy way to save money and make life easier. Another way to reduce overall costs comes by comparing free quotes from the best car insurance companies on the market.
Do I Need to Add a Child to My Car Insurance Policy?
No, you aren’t legally required to add a child to your own car insurance policy. However, it’s an extremely complicated process to take a minor off of your plan if they live in your house and drive a vehicle that you own.
Drivers who are below the age of 18 are considered to be minors, meaning that they can’t own property such as cars or sign legal documents without their parents’ consent. The age of majority in Alabama and Nebraska is even higher at 19 years old.
Since minors can’t own a car outright and are unable to sign an insurance contract, it’s almost impossible for them to purchase their own policy. If you want your minor to have a car, insurance experts say that you’ll likely be required to add a child to your auto insurance policy.
It’s much easier for children to get their own car insurance if they’re 18 or older. If you’re hoping to remove your son or daughter from your personal policy, it becomes much more doable at this age.
Will My Child Get Approved for Car Insurance?
Every driver must carry at least minimum coverage car insurance, whether it’s by purchasing their own policy or by being added onto another person’s plan. It’s absolutely essential that your child at least carries minimum coverage, even if it’s pricier than they’d like.
Minors, such as 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds, have an extremely difficult time gaining approval from auto insurers. After all, they have little experience on the road and have no credit score or driving record to prove that they’ll be responsible motorists.
You are not required to add your children to your auto insurance policy, but it’s definitely the most common approach. That’s because it is almost always cheaper to add a second car onto your current plan, especially when one driver lacks experience.
How Do I Add a Child to My Car Insurance Policy?
In most cases, you’re required to add your children to your auto insurance policy. This depends on the situation, but the main exception is if your child is a vehicle’s legal owner and has their own name listed on the car title.
You should add a teen to your policy if they’re a licensed driver, use a car that you own and continue to live in your household. Below, we’ll explain how to do so.
Steps for Adding a Child to Your Auto Insurance Policy
There are two main routes to take when adding a child to your auto insurance policy. If they drive a parent’s car, add them as an authorized driver. If they drive their own car but that vehicle remains registered under your name, add that car and your child to a personal policy.
You cannot add a car to your policy if the vehicle is registered in your child’s name. Instead, they’ll be required to take out their own auto insurance policy and supply proof of ownership. An adult child with their own address and vehicle will also need to purchase their own car insurance.
Reach Out to Your Car Insurance Provider
To add a child to your personal policy, contact your auto insurance provider. Depending on the insurer, you can do this via their website or over the phone. You’ll likely need to provide the following pieces of information about your teenage driver:
- Your child’s full name and date of birth
- Your child’s driver’s license information
- Your child’s up-to-date driving history
- The relevant vehicle identification number (VIN)
This information comes on top of what’s needed for your insurance agency to find the plan, such as the policyholder’s name and possibly the license plate on your vehicle.
Adding Children to Your Auto Insurance Policy: Pros and Cons
Adding children to your auto insurance policy is usually a wise move, but it’s worth mentioning the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
Pro: It’s Generally Cheaper
While your own rates will increase, it’ll likely cost far less than if you had two separate policies. Teen drivers face harsh car insurance rates due to inexperience on the road and a large number of high-risk driving habits. You’ll almost always pay less if you consider bundling their plan with a family member’s lower car insurance premiums, especially if they’re a safe driver.
You can also take advantage of insurance discounts, such as those for having multiple drivers on the same policy. Your child may qualify for safe driving discounts, low-mileage savings if they’re just an occasional driver or discounts for having good grades.
Another way to lower rates for teen car insurance is by increasing the deductible on your policy or by bundling your overall plan with homeowners or renters insurance.
Pro: It’s Easy to Manage Policies
Another significant advantage of adding a child to your policy is that it makes it easier to manage car insurance. You can track your teen’s coverage and make monthly payments as you would with your own car insurance.
Con: You’re Taking on Risk
While it may help your personal finances to add your children to your auto insurance policy, there may be some downsides. One of the most significant is that your rates will likely go up if your teen driver gets involved in an at-fault accident or receives a speeding ticket.
Since your child is on your personal plan, expect to face negative consequences whenever they make irresponsible moves on the road.
Con: It’s Not Available for All Drivers
There are rare situations when you may not be able to add a child to your insurance policy. This is true if your son or daughter is at least 18, doesn’t live with you and has the car registered in their own name.
Even in those situations, you may be able to add them if you can show an insurable interest or a financial stake in their car insurance coverage. Emancipated minors are required to purchase an auto insurance policy on their own, though, since they’re no longer considered dependents.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
Whether you add your child to your full coverage auto insurance policy or encourage them to get one on their own, it’s good to compare car insurance quotes. Some of the top insurers that are worth consideration include GEICO, USAA and State Farm.
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GEICO – Best Overall
GEICO earns 9.1 stars out of 10.0 for its relatively reasonable prices and wide range of driver discounts. The company offers excellent rates for college students and military members. GEICO also has a defensive driving discount along with savings for seat belt use and for those who enroll in driving courses.
USAA – Best Military Provider
USAA receives 9.6 stars out of 10.0 because it has an exceptional reputation in the insurance industry and earns top scores for customer satisfaction. While USAA auto insurance is only available for military members and their families, it’s a standout option for those who qualify.
State Farm – Best Student Discounts
State Farm gets 9.1 out of 10.0 stars for its impressive number of local insurance agents and sterling industry reputation. The company typically has cheap auto insurance for students and teens, making it a strong candidate for covering your children. State Farm has a good student discount, savings for full-time students away at school and a discount for young drivers who enroll in the Steer ClearⓇ program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my child covered under my insurance?
Your child is not automatically enrolled in your insurance policy when they become a teen driver. Make sure to contact your insurer to add children to your policy, as there are legal penalties for letting them drive uninsured.
What happens if you don’t add a driver to your insurance?
If you don’t add a driver to your car insurance policy and they get involved in a car accident, insurance may not cover the damages. There will also likely be legal penalties which vary by state.
Do I need insurance with a learner’s permit?
Yes, you do need at least minimum coverage car insurance with a learner’s permit. Most of the time, these new drivers will be covered by their parents’ policy, though.
Can I add my grandchild to my auto insurance?
Yes, you can add your grandchild to your policy as long as they share your car or live at the same address as you.
Can 18-year-olds get their own auto insurance?
Eighteen-year-olds are no longer considered minors and can get their own auto insurance policies. It’s typically cheaper for them to be added to their parent’s policy, though.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.