Regardless of age, every driver is legally mandated to have car insurance coverage — that includes both teens with provisional licenses and those with full licenses. Since minors are not old enough to sign insurance contracts, it’s up to their parents to get them coverage. There are two primary ways to get coverage for teen drivers: adding them to a family policy or getting them their own policy. While there's the option of securing an individual policy for your child, many find it more cost-effective and straightforward to add them to your family's existing policy.
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Your child, whether a provisional or newly licensed driver, is legally required to have car insurance coverage in most states.
Because your teen driver is too young to sign contracts or buy insurance, the best way to get them coverage is to add them to your policy.
Adding a new or high-risk driver to your car insurance can raise premiums, but taking advantage of student discounts can help lower your costs.
How to Add Your Child to Your Car Insurance Policy
Adding your teen to the family car insurance plan is a fairly straightforward process; we outlined the most crucial steps to securing them coverage below.
Review Your Current Coverage
Before adjusting anything, get familiar with your current policy's terms. This can give you an idea of what additional coverage you might need to secure when adding your child to the policy.
Get Your Teen's Details Ready
Your insurer will want specifics about your teen, including:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Driver's license details (number and issuance date)
- Any key points from their driving history, like accidents or traffic tickets
Reach Out to Your Insurance Company
A quick call to your insurer or agent is the next step. Share that you're adding a new driver and provide the necessary information. Don't forget to ask about discounts — many companies offer savings for things like good grades or completed driver's education courses.
Discuss Which Car They'll Drive
Your insurer may want to know which car your teen will drive most, which can affect the cost of your insurance coverage. If your teen has their own vehicle, be ready with its details, including the VIN.
Explore Coverage Options
Chat with your insurer about the best coverage for your teen. Think about the car they're driving, their habits on the road and what you're willing to spend. Sometimes, adjusting deductibles can balance out an increase in premiums.
Get a Quote
Before locking anything in, request a quote. This helps you see how your premium might change and if you need to make tweaks.
Adjust if Needed
If the new price seems steep, ask about options to lower it or rethink the coverage levels you've selected.
Get Your Updated Documents
After finalizing, your insurer should send over new insurance cards and an updated policy outline showing your teen's inclusion.
As your teen gets more experience behind the wheel, the cost of your insurance coverage will likely decrease. Regular check-ins on your policy can ensure it stays aligned with your financial and coverage needs.
How Much Does It Cost to Add Your Child to Your Insurance?
On average, adding your child to your car insurance costs $2,718 each year. If your child got their own policy, it would cost an average annual premium of $5,108. Getting your child their own car insurance policy is 47% more expensive and may also prove to be challenging. For instance, you'll need to co-sign the policy since all states have laws barring minors from legally binding themselves to contracts.
MoneyGeek found that Nationwide was the most affordable car insurance for adding drivers of nearly all ages. However, if you're adding an 18-year-old, GEICO offers the best rates.
Cheapest Car Insurance Providers for Family Insurance
How to Lower Costs When Adding a Child to Your Car Insurance
Insuring your child will get cheaper as they gain more experience and maintain a good driving record. But there are many things you can do now to reduce car insurance costs and find the cheapest car insurance quotes for your family policy.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Insurance providers often applaud students with a B average or above, offering them "good student" discounts. It’s a great incentive for academic excellence, and it saves your family money on coverage. If your child's college is a good distance away and they’ve left the car at home, a "student away" discount might also be available to you.
Take Driver's Education Courses
Besides honing your teen's driving skills, a driver's education or defensive driving course could snag you an insurance discount.
Choose the Right Car
Opting for a safer, perhaps older, vehicle for your child can be a smart move. Fancy sports cars or shiny new models might ramp up your premiums, while vehicles boasting commendable safety ratings often come with insurance discounts.
Increasing your collision and comprehensive deductibles might lead to lower annual premiums, but remember, it also means higher out-of-pocket expenses during claims.
Some insurers offer discounts for using telematics or tracking devices in cars. These devices monitor driving habits, and safe driving can result in lower premiums.
Consider Limited-Usage Discounts
If your young one's driving is mostly limited to weekends or certain days, look out for limited-use discounts.
Bundle Policies and Stick to One Insurer
If you have multiple insurance policies (like home, boat or multiple cars), bundling them with one insurer can often bring costs down. If you've been with your insurer for a long time or if you have multiple cars on the same policy, you might qualify for loyalty or multi-car discounts.
Encourage and educate your child about the importance of safe driving. A clean record without accidents or traffic violations will help keep premiums down.
Premiums can swing dramatically between providers. As you introduce a young driver, use the moment to compare rates.
Ask About Other Discounts
Each insurance company might have unique discounts or offers. It doesn't hurt to ask your agent if there are any other ways to lower your premium.
Reevaluate Your Coverage
If your child's car is older, it might be time to evaluate if you really need comprehensive or collision coverage.
Do You Have to Add Your Child to Your Car Insurance?
Yes — in most cases, adding your child to your car insurance is legally required. Because children under 18 are too young to sign insurance contracts legally, it falls on the parents to make sure teens are covered according to state minimum car insurance requirements. Only two states do not require drivers to carry car insurance — New Hampshire and Virginia.
If your child has a learner's permit, your car insurance might already cover them. However, not all insurance companies extend the same kind of coverage a listed driver enjoys to permitted drivers. Some companies will require even provisional drivers to be added as listed drivers.
Pros and Cons of Adding a Child to Your Car Insurance
In deciding whether to add your child to your car insurance policy, it's essential to weigh these pros and cons against your family's specific situation and needs.
Cost Efficiency: Adding a youngster can up your premiums. But, it's generally more wallet-friendly than them getting their own policy. Young drivers usually face steeper rates.
Multi-Car Bonuses: Does your child have a car? You might bag a multi-car discount, softening the premium hike.
Steady Coverage: Keeping your child continously covered establishes their insurance history, setting them up for better rates down the road.
Simplified Management: Grouping family members under one policy eases payments, renewals, and claim dealings.
Extra Discounts: Explore further reductions like good student rates, driver's ed savings, or young driver safety programs.
Premium Spikes: Teens are more likely to get into car accidents, which can push up premiums.
Rate Risks: If your child faces an accident or violation, the entire policy's rates might soar.
Bigger Claim Possibilities: Young, less experienced drivers are more likely to get into accidents, potentially leading to substantial claims that could impact your future premiums or policy status.
Coverage Constraints: Your child's driving patterns could restrict coverage choices, possibly nudging you towards pricier options.
When to Add Your Child to Your Car Insurance Policy
As soon as your teen receives their learner's permit, consider adding them to your car insurance policy. Even those with provisional licenses need the safety net of insurance. Remember, driving without coverage isn't an option for any new driver.
By adding them to your car insurance policy, they'll meet legal rules and start their insurance record. This helps when they get their own policy later.
When Should Your Child Get Their Own Car Insurance?
Often, the savviest financial move is to add your child to your existing car insurance policy. However, there are times when they may benefit from their own policy, especially if they're living independently, have a car in their name or can comfortably afford their own coverage.
Your child moved out of the house for college and is still driving.
If your child has moved out to attend college and is driving there, they typically need their own car insurance policy.
Your child is studying abroad.
For children journeying abroad for studies or travel, if they aren't driving their vehicle, you might consider pausing their coverage. However, if they plan to drive during short breaks at home, you can add them back temporarily.
Your child has a car registered under their name.
When a vehicle is registered to your child, they're usually required to insure it under their own policy.
Your child can afford to pay for their own coverage.
If your child has become financially self-reliant and can comfortably cover their insurance costs, it might be time for them to have their own policy.
Your child has a bad driving record.
A child with a bad driving record can raise your premiums. In such cases, it might be beneficial for them to explore their own insurance options.
Your child joins the military.
When a child joins the military and gets stationed elsewhere without their vehicle, you might consider revising their status on your policy.
Your child has stopped driving.
If your child decides to hang up their keys for good, you can drop them from your policy.
How Long Can You Stay on Your Parents’ Car Insurance?
The ability to stay on your parents' car insurance policy depends on various factors, including the insurance company's rules, state regulations and your individual circumstances. Here's a general overview of circumstances that could impact how long you can stay on a parent's policy:
Most insurance companies allow young drivers to remain on their parents' policy until they're around 25. However, this age limit can vary by state and insurer.
If you live with your parents, you can typically remain on their policy. However, once you move out, especially if you establish your own permanent residence, you may need to get your own policy.
If the car is registered in your name, some insurance companies may require you to have your own policy. If the vehicle is registered in your parents' name, it's easier to stay on their policy.
Getting married might require you to get a separate auto insurance policy, even if you're still within the age limit and live with your parents.
Some insurers allow full-time students to remain on their parents' policy even if they live away from home, such as on a college campus. However, if a student is driving regularly while living away from home, they might be required to get their own policy.
Insurance is regulated at the state level, so rules can vary. Some states have specific regulations about when a driver must obtain their own policy.
Insurance Company Rules
Even if state regulations allow you to remain on your parents' policy, individual insurance companies might have their own rules that are more restrictive.
While staying on a parent's policy can be cheaper for young drivers, it's essential to consider the impact on the parents' premium. Adding a young driver can significantly increase the cost of car insurance. It might be more economical for the young driver to have a separate policy, especially if they qualify for discounts.
If you have specific coverage needs that differ from your parents, it might make sense to get your own policy.
It's essential to discuss your situation with your parents' insurance agent or company. They can provide guidance tailored to your circumstances and the specific rules of your state and insurer.
Frequently Asked Questions
MoneyGeek answered some of the most commonly asked questions about adding children to car insurance policies.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Keep Teen Drivers Safe." Accessed July 25, 2023.