Is my child covered under my car insurance?

You must give your auto insurance provider the names of anyone who has regular access to your car. They can refuse a claim if you lend the vehicle to an unlisted driver.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 20, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Auto insurance policies provide coverage for the vehicles that are listed on the policy when they’re being operated by a covered driver
  • While many people assume that only listed drivers are covered under the policy, companies extend coverage to some unlisted drivers when they’re given permission to drive
  • Not everyone qualifies for the permissive user definition. If the driver lives with you, they’re disqualified for coverage under this policy provision
  • If you have a child in your household, your insurance company may provide automatic coverage for your child until they have their driver’s license
  • Some companies will automatically charge for a teenage driver when they earn their license. If you don’t want your teen listed, you may have to sign a driver exclusion

You put thought every day into making sure your children are given healthy food options, you monitor their homework, and you give your time shuttling them back and forth to enriching activities. You care about your kids, so you’re willing to give them the best. But childrearing can sometimes be expensive, too.

From the baby essentials and the name brand clothes to money for the movies and the mall, being a parent isn’t cheap.

As your child grows and becomes a teenager, the bills will grow proportionately — especially when the times comes for your little one to earn their license.

It’s crucial that you review your auto insurance portfolio before your teen ever gets behind the wheel of any of your vehicles.

Just assuming that you have coverage could be a minor mistake that could have a major effect on your financial future.

As you shop around for affordable insurance coverage for your newly-licensed teen, learn if your current policy covers your child.

Act now by using our FREE tool! Just enter your zip code to get started.

Understanding Your Auto Insurance Declarations Page

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When you sign up for auto insurance, the company will send you a folder full of documents that you must review.

One of the most important documents that you receive when you sign up for insurance and when you make changes to your policy is your declarations page.

This document should not be confused with an ID card, which only acts as proof of coverage.

The insurance declarations page tells you not only what’s covered, but also when it’s covered.

It includes all of the pertinent information and details your coverage in a straightforward manner so that you can easily access the information that you need when you’re verifying coverage or reviewing limits.

Some of the information found on the declarations page will include:

  • Name and address of insurance company
  • Named insured or owner the policy
  • Address where autos are kept
  • The policy term showing when coverage started and when it expires
  • The year, make, model and VIN of the covered autos
  • How much coverage and the coverage type available on each car
  • Lenders and loss payee clauses
  • Discounts applied to each vehicle or driver
  • Citations of accidents that the insurance company is charging for
  • Special exclusions or endorsements that apply

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There’s More to an Auto Policy Than What’s Listed on the Declarations Page

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While the declarations page is the single-most-important document that you should reference when you have questions about your policy, there’s more to your policy than what’s found on it.

That’s because the insuring agreement affords you coverage for more than what’s listed on that single document.

Under your insuring agreement, the contract says that the policy may provide coverage for autos that aren’t listed on the policy and for drivers that haven’t been disclosed to the company.

This provision may not always be there, though. That’s why you need to learn when a driver is covered and when they aren’t before you take the chance.

When is a driver that’s not listed on your policy covered under your insurance?

There’s a huge debate surrounding whether insurance covers the driver or the car.

What many people fail to acknowledge is that sometimes insurance follows the driver, sometimes it follows the car, and sometimes it doesn’t follow either.

It depends on the scenario and if the driver was supposed to be listed on the policy in the first place.

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When does a driver need to be listed?

Your insurance agent will ask you for the names of all of the drivers in your household.

It’s your job to name anyone over the age of 13 who is living in the home even if they don’t have a driver’s license.

The agent will then list these household members as rated drivers or listed residents in the home. Be forthcoming with this information or you could face denied claims.

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What’s the difference between a rated driver and a deferred operator?

A rated driver is someone who’s named on the policy and who can have an effect on the policy premiums.

If the household member isn’t licensed or they have their insurance and you’ve provided proof, they may be listed as deferred operators.

This means that the company knows they live in the home, but they have no effect on the premiums.

Is my child covered automatically when they have their permit?

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A permit is a provisional license that’s issued to teens who want to learn how to drive under the supervision of an adult.

Most companies don’t charge you for coverage for a driver in the home with a permit, but some do.

Make sure you verify that there’s automatic coverage for teens with a learner’s permit before you take your teen to test.

Do licensed children count as permissive users?

Under your auto insurance policy, a permissive user is something who’s covered because they’ve been granted permission to drive the car.

Unfortunately, this can be confusing if you think simply granting permission provides coverage. Here are some scenarios where the provision won’t apply:

  • The driver lives in the household
  • The driver is under 25 and away at school
  • The driver doesn’t have a license
  • The driver is already excluded from the insurance policy

Parents should call their agent before their child gets a permit to see how much it might cost to add a young driver to their existing policy.

If the cost is too high, it’s important to take the time to shop around. Use an online rate comparison tool, and see how much you’ll pay with competing insurers.

Use our comparison tool to compare auto insurance quotes from several companies!

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