Adding Your Child to Your Car Insurance—Answers to Your Top 8 Questions

Whether it happens at 16 or 21, adding your child to your car insurance, and letting them drive independently, is a big milestone. It’s all part of growing up, gaining independence, and providing a path to adult responsibilities. 

Knowing that young drivers are inexperienced and thus sometimes riskier to insure, you’re likely aware that costs are higher than if you added an older driver to your policy. However, you can minimize those costs while maximizing valuable coverage for your child. 

Here are some considerations that parents should understand as they consider adding their teen to their car insurance. When it comes to finding “car insurance near me” that is affordable for the whole family, it helps to be well informed.

What Will Happen When I Add My Child to My Car Insurance?

First, you’ll gather some details. You’ll want to have your child’s name, age, and driver’s license number as well as potentially your social security number available. To get quotes related to a different vehicle from the ones you’ve already insured, you’ll need the make, model, year, VIN, and loan/lease details on the car in question. Your trusted agent can run with that information and help you learn your options.

As you may already know, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. So, if your child will be driving your current vehicle, you aren’t insuring a new vehicle. However, insuring multiple drivers changes the amount of assumed risk and driving being done, thus, increasing the possibility of an accident. This is the increase you’ll see in your premium when adding a new teen or young adult driver, even without buying them their own car.

If you do purchase a car for your child or your child purchases their own car, that car will likely need to be on your insurance policy at least until your child is living on their own and driving a car that isn’t part of your household. Until then, you can take advantage of multi-car discounts and policy bundling. 

In any case, the price increase for policies is often large, especially for the least experienced drivers. These rates decrease quickly if your child drives without any accidents for a few years. So, you may not have to view this as a permanent rate increase.

teen with a backpack standing in front of a black car

How Does The Car They Drive Change Their Insurance Costs?

Different cars are evaluated by insurers as riskier than others, costing more when an accident occurs. Therefore, it’s wise to reach out to your Torian representative for quotes before selecting a car. In some cases, newer cars with more advanced safety features will yield a lower policy quote, but the exact numbers will vary.

You’ll also want to consider whether adding your child to your car insurance changes your evaluation of whether you’d prefer to have only liability coverage on a given family car versus “full” coverage. Especially for children driving newer vehicles, comprehensive and collision coverage may be a substantial expense but worthwhile for peace of mind with a newer driver. 

If your child will be driving a car that is necessary to anyone’s livelihood, like getting to work, that’s another important consideration when it comes to coverage. If a teen does become involved in a car accident, it’s better to have less stress about the financial repercussions while handling any other challenges that come with accidents.

What Discounts Can We Gain With Our Child on Our Policy?

There are many ways in which you can keep your car insurance costs manageable by wisely showcasing your child’s driving ability as responsible or via their infrequent use of the car. For instance, if your child is in college more than a certain distance away and only drives your insured car on occasional weekends, you may receive a substantial discount on your car insurance premium. Why? Because it’s clear that they aren’t spending a large amount of time behind the wheel. 

There are also policy providers that give a discount for good grades in school, for driving low mileage, and for participating in Telematics programs. These programs use a tracker or your child’s cell phone to note their driving performance and reward defensive, cautious driving habits. Finally, some car insurance companies off their own courses for young drivers and may offer discounts for taking a safe driving course they approve.

driver education student driver sign on top of a car

What's the Best Timing For Adding Your Child to Your Car Insurance?

Your coverage extends to your child if they are driving with you in the car with them and if they have their temporary driver’s permit. However, to be a fully licensed driver legally operating a motor vehicle, they need to be listed as a driver on your insurance policy. 

If you contact your insurance agent ahead of time, they can time your coverage to start when your child’s license goes into effect. They will still need to be on your insurance for as long as they are a driver and under 18 years old. After they are over 18, they’ll either need to be on your policy or their own, depending on your circumstances.

Similarly, when your child becomes independent, such as after getting a job or moving to another state, talk to your insurance agent. Depending on your insurer, you may be able to keep them on your insurance if you retain ownership of the car. Otherwise, your child may need a separate policy even if you own the car.

How Should You Prepare For the Costs of Adding Your Child to Your Car Insurance?

When you’ve budgeted a set amount for transportation-related costs, including car insurance, it can be stressful to re-evaluate these costs for your new driver. However, preparing for the costs doesn’t have to be frightening. Just like preparing for other costs for your family, budgeting helps to ease the shifts you may undergo.

You can play a major role in keeping your teen driver safe. Yet, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 often drive in ways that increase their risk of an insurance claim. Choices, like not wearing a seatbelt, using a cell phone while driving, speeding, and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs are all more common in this age range. These behaviors lead to, on average, more accidents. 

Adding your child to your car insurance full-coverage liability policy with full-time access to your vehicle will be roughly an additional $100 a month. Different factors, however, can move that number up or down. This is a good place to start when you begin budgeting for the expense of having a young driver in the house.

Remember, however, that this is for liability. If you want physical damage coverage, that additional cost will vary, though it may not be optional. This occurs in cases where you have a loan or are leasing the vehicle. 

Want to save money? Remember that most of the quotes you’ll get will be more competitive if they’re insured under your policy. While it is fine to look at the options for separate policies, our expert insurance agents recommend including your child on your family’s policy.

Are There Better Ways to Think About Adding a Child Car Insurance Than Just in Terms of Costs?

Absolutely. When you put your child driver on your car insurance, you’re protecting them from legal problems, for starters! It’s illegal to drive without insurance and starting them on this path by paying even when the costs are high sets an excellent example. 

Think about it: if they don’t get on your policy and drive just occasionally, they can still get in an accident. This uninsured accident can follow them and cause problems when they want to purchase a policy in the future. 

While we’re thinking about temptations, some people try to get non-owner car insurance for their teens when using borrowed or rented cars, for instance. Most companies, however, won’t write a policy for them if they have access to your family’s car since your child may still be using your car. 

Instead of cutting corners, start your conversation with minimum state-required insurance limits, even if the costs feel high.

First, think about this cost as a source of peace and protection. There is chaos and frustration any time an insurance claim has to be submitted, but, that should stop when you call in to report an accident. A trusted insurer who knows you have the appropriate coverage can settle your claim quickly and help everyone move on. This is the kind of support you want for your child.

Second, things are simpler when everyone is insured together on one policy. You might have your teen contribute to the costs, but you can pay everything together and evaluate whether you want to change anything about the whole family’s coverage. 

Third, a little extra focus on car insurance for a time may teach you a few things. With potential savings coming from discounts like automatic billing and paperless billing, many customers don’t bother making a change. However, when experiencing the premium hike associated with a teen driver, you may be motivated to explore all of the possible discounts available, which can boost your savings for years after your teen driver grows up.

When Does the Impact of Adding Your Child to Car Insurance Lower Over Time?

On average, your insurance rates should see a drop when your child reaches 20 years old. Other drops tend to come around the ages of 25 and 35. Because drivers aged 16 to 19 are the least experienced on average in addition to not having a fully developed brain until age 25, it is not surprising that accidents are more common during these years, increasing the insurance risk for young drivers. 

Remember that you aren’t just looking for cost savings, however. A few dollars a month can purchase a higher level of coverage. It could also help you get an umbrella insurance policy that provides additional coverage for a high claim that exceeds your other coverage on things like your home or car. 

These choices add to the overall policy price tag, but you’re purchasing protection. Plus, you get more protection — sometimes a lot more — when you ensure that your policy limits are sufficient if a major problem occurred.

How Should My Child Contribute to These Costs?

Of course, how each family handles their finances will be unique. Thus, it makes sense to work through these expenses clearly with your teen to avoid disagreements or conflict in the future. 

Determine how much of the premium, if any, you’ll expect from your child at the outset, or how much they’ll need to pay for gas and repair bills. You’ll also want to talk about how they’ll be responsible (or not) if there is an accident while they are driving.

Rather than an opportunity to pass along every single cost to your child, this is a chance to pair lessons about financial responsibility with the opportunity for greater freedom — a balance that all young adults must learn as they grow up.

teen driver driving with concerned parent in the passengers seat

Understanding This New Step In Your Child's Life

If you’ve had a car insurance policy for a while, you may feel like you know what good rates are. However, getting quotes from new insurers or checking out a local independent agency like Torian is a chance to get the best rates available for your circumstances.

What’s more, many companies that offer good rates for a couple of adult drivers may not specialize in the discounts and programs that would most benefit your teen in the car insurance process. Getting new quotes gives you a better idea of the overall picture. Plus, if your portion of the policy goes up a few dollars, you may be able to recover those costs through a particular company’s teen driver options.

While you can request quotes from a variety of insurers, a faster path to comparison shopping is through an independent agent like Torian. By looking at our different preferred insurers who have a track record of excellence, we can customize the policy offerings available, helping you discover the best option for your family.

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