If you drive your parents' car with their permission, their insurance usually covers you. Car insurance is mainly for the car, not specifically for the person driving it.
However, some insurance policies may have a limit on how frequently a car can be borrowed. For example, you might be allowed to drive your parents' car up to 12 times a year without being listed on their policy.
So, if you plan to drive their car regularly, it's best to get added to their insurance. This way, you'll always be protected.
If you drive your parents' car, their insurance typically covers you through the permissive use clause. However, you should be on their policy if you drive it often, say more than 12 times a year.
Permissive use does not cover unlicensed drivers, drivers who use the car for work or excluded drivers, even with the owners’ permission.
For those borrowing different cars often, non-owner insurance ensures consistent coverage.
Do I Need Insurance To Drive My Parents’ Car?
No, you don't typically need your own insurance to drive your parents' car if you occasionally use it with their permission.
However, "occasionally" is the keyword here. Borrowing the car every weekend doesn't count as occasional. In fact, many insurance companies have a limit, as you can only drive the insured vehicle about 12 times a year under permissive use. If you drive your parents' car with their permission a few times a year, their insurance will typically cover you. So, if you were to have an accident while driving their car, their insurance would step in.
If you're thinking about driving their car more than just once in a while, it might be a good idea to talk to them about getting added to their policy. Many car insurance companies require policyholders to add all drivers in the household to their policy.
While most insurance policies have this permissive use clause, not all will cover a driver who isn't listed on the policy. If you were to get into an accident and you're not named on your parents' insurance, there's a chance the insurance company will not cover the damages. That could mean your parents would have to pay for any repairs or damages out of their own pockets.
Limits of Permissive Use When Driving Your Parents’ Car
Most of the time, if you drive your parents' car with their consent, their insurance should cover you through the "permissive use" clause. However, there are some scenarios where you might not be covered, even if you have their permission.
You use their car frequently
Driving their car daily, like for school or work, might be viewed as "regular use." Regular drivers should be on the policy.
You’re an excluded driver
If you're intentionally left off their policy, perhaps due to past incidents, you won't be covered, even with permission.
You use the car for work
Using the car for jobs, like deliveries or ridesharing, may void coverage.
You drive the car outside of the U.S.
Some policies have limits on where the car can be driven. For instance, if you took their car on a road trip to Mexico or Canada, coverage might not apply.
You used the car for high-risk activities
If you're using the car for something risky, like racing, the insurance won't cover any mishaps.
Their policy doesn’t allow permissive use drivers
Some policies may not include permissive use or have stricter terms.
If you drive your parents’ car frequently and live at the same address, getting on their car insurance policy may be a good idea.
Am I Covered by My Parents Car Insurance?
Let's break down how your parents' car insurance and the concept of "permissive use" might apply in each of these scenarios:
I drove with permission, but another driver hit me
Your parents' "permissive use" clause should cover you. If the other driver's at fault but underinsured or uninsured, your parents' policy might step in.
I drove with permission, but I hit another car
The permissive use clause applies. Your parents' liability coverage addresses damages and injuries. If they have collision coverage, it'll cover their car's repairs minus the deductible.
I drove without permission, and another driver hit me
It's complex. Insurance typically follows the car, but lack of permission complicates claims. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance should cover damages. But if there's a dispute or they're underinsured, your parents' policy might not cover you.
I drove without permission, and I hit another car:
Initial damages to the other car might be covered. However, the insurance company might dispute the claim later due to lack of permission, potentially raising your parents' premiums.
I drove with permission, but I drove to Canada or Mexico
U.S. policies often cover short Canada trips but not always Mexico. In Canada, the permissive use clause usually applies. For Mexico, you might need separate insurance. Driving there without it can have serious repercussions.
In all scenarios, the specifics of the insurance policy, state regulations and the insurance company's discretion play significant roles. It's always a good idea to be familiar with the policy's terms and consult with the insurance provider when in doubt.
Can I Be Added to My Parents’ Car Insurance?
Yes, you can be added to your parents' car insurance. It's an especially good idea if you borrow their car a lot, run errands for them or want to nurture a good driving record for when you get your own policy in the future.
Being added to their car insurance policy can offer several benefits:
It's often cheaper for a young or new driver to be added to a parent's policy than to purchase an individual policy. The combined premium might cost less than the total of two separate policies.
Many insurance companies offer discounts for policies that insure multiple drivers or multiple vehicles. Being added to your parent's policy can help maximize these discounts.
Being a named driver ensures you're covered every time you drive the car, eliminating uncertainties associated with permissive use clauses.
Build a Driving Record
Being on your parent's policy allows you to start building a driving record, which can lead to better rates in the future when you get your own policy.
Being a named driver ensures there are no gaps in coverage, which can be crucial if an accident occurs. This is especially important if you drive the car regularly.
In the event of a claim, you might benefit from a lower deductible on your parent's policy compared to what you might have on a separate policy.
Ease of Management
Having all drivers on one policy can simplify management and payments, making handling renewals, claims and other administrative tasks easier.
Being on your parent's policy can teach you about insurance, coverage options and the importance of maintaining a clean driving record, preparing you for future insurance decisions.
While there are many benefits, it's essential to discuss them with your parents and consult their insurance agent to ensure that adding you to the policy is the best decision for everyone involved.
How Much Does It Cost To Add a Young Driver to Their Parents’ Policy?
Adding a young driver to their parents' policy can vary in cost. Nationwide, for example, will extend coverage to a young driver for $2,718 per year. Alternatively, USAA offers a more cost-effective option at $2,157 annually, but its policies specifically cater to U.S. military members, veterans and their families.
Adding a teen or young driver to your insurance is essential, even with permissive use. It ensures legal compliance, provides proper accident coverage, avoids financial risks and allows them to build their insurance history responsibly.
When Should I Get My Own Car Insurance?
Once you move out of your household, you'll typically need to buy your own auto insurance policy. Insurance companies usually require policyholders to insure only those who reside at the same address, as they use factors like location, household driving habits and shared financial responsibilities to calculate premiums. If you move to a different location, these factors change, and you'll need a policy that accurately reflects your individual situation.
If you'll be staying at your parents' home for the holidays and will be driving their car, they can temporarily add you to the family policy for the duration of your stay. This temporary addition ensures you're covered while using their vehicle and can be a convenient option for short-term visits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing the consequences of driving your parents' car without insurance is essential. Below are some common questions to guide you through various scenarios.
About Mark Fitzpatrick