Is My Teen’s Car Automatically Insured?

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Think your teenager is covered because you added him to your policy? Think again.

This Q&A is from partner site CarInsurance.com.

Question:  My son is 16, and I just added him to my insurance policy. He owns a vehicle. Since he is added to my insurance, does that cover him and his vehicle, or do we have to add that vehicle to the insurance as well?

Answer:  For your son’s vehicle to be covered by car insurance, it has to be specifically listed on your policy. Adding your teenage son as a driver to your auto insurance policy doesn’t extend coverage to his vehicle – it merely allows him to be covered when operating the household vehicles that are insured on your policy.

If your son drives his car now, without the vehicle being added on your policy or him having a policy of his own on it, he won’t be covered if he’s in an auto accident.

Depending upon how the car of your young driver is titled and registered, it may not be possible to add the vehicle to your car insurance policy.

In general, auto insurance providers require that vehicles be insured by the car’s owner, although some companies will allow you to insure a child’s car as long as he’s a minor and a household member.

Also, some states require that the person listed on the vehicle’s registration is the name insured for the insurance policy. If this is true for your state, this would mean your son would need to obtain his own car insurance policy if he’s the only one listed on the title and registration of his vehicle.

Your 16-year-old son getting his own car insurance policy could lead to more complications. Since he’s a minor, most car insurance providers will require a parent to sign on the insurance policy (a binding contract) with the child until they turn 18.

If the vehicle is instead titled in your name (the parents) or both you and your son’s names, you should be able to add his vehicle to your policy without any difficulties. This is a much easier way to get the car insured and typically cheaper too.

The real cost of a licensed teenager is adding them as a driver, so the rate hike you received from adding your son to your policy should be more than the cost of adding his car on now. You should also be able to receive some discounts when adding his car, such as a multi-car discount for having two or more cars on the same policy.

If you can add your son’s car to your policy, ask how your insurer assigns drivers to cars. Some car insurance companies assign the highest risk driver (such as a newly licensed teen) to the most expensive car to insure, which may not be the car he is driving. If possible, see if your son can be placed with the car he’ll be driving and if that change will help you save money on your premiums.

Stacy Johnson

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