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Can I be on my parent’s auto insurance if the car is in my name?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

It’s natural to want to pay as little as possible for your car insurance. For many young drivers, that means being added to their parents’ policy because rates for young drivers under 25, especially men, are higher than they are for any other age group.

If the title of your car is in your parents’ or guardians’ names, there’s no problem in being added to their auto insurance policy, possibly at a lower rate than if you had your own policy. But if the car is in your name, you won’t be able to do that. 

Should you buy your own auto insurance policy?

Your parents may be the owners of your first car. Then all you need to do is to have your name added to their policy once you have your policy because all drivers living in a house who are related to the policyholder can be covered by one policy.

If your name is on the title of your car, you’ll need your own policy, even if you still live with your parents. Your first step is to get some quotes from insurers to find the company that offers the most comprehensive coverage for the lowest premiums. Your best bet is to look for a company other than the one your parents use because some insurers don’t like to write more than one auto policy for a single address. Some insurers might give you a discount, though, so be sure to ask.

Even if you depend on your parents financially and live in their house, it won’t matter to insurers if your name is on the car’s title. In the case of a claim, your insurer will write the claim check out to the owner of the car. If the policyholder isn’t the owner, the insurance company won’t be able to issue the payment. 

Can you get your own policy while living at your parents’ house? 

Yes, you’ll need your own policy if you own your car, even if you live in your parents’ house. Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name? The answer to that question is also yes, but New York is the only state that has legislated it.

Getting your own policy for a car that’s registered to you with your name on the title is the only way you’ll be able to have insurance for that car. You are required by law to have a minimum amount of car insurance in every state in the U.S. except New Hampshire.

Once you find an insurance company you want to work with, remove yourself from your parents’ policy. Depending on how old you are, this may cause their premiums to decrease because there is one less driver on the policy. If you’re young, though, you may be paying a little more. To save your parents money, make sure you’re excluded from their policy.  

Can college students stay on their parents’ car insurance policy?

If your permanent address is your parents’ house, even if you’re away at college, you can stay on your parents’ policy as long as your name isn’t on the title of the car you drive. There is no age limit as to how long you can stay on their policy, and it is probably easier all around if you are listed on their policy.

There may be some financial benefit to this if you do not bring your parents’ car to campus with you. Some insurers offer a discount on car insurance premiums if you are attending college.

Can you drive your parents’ car without being on the insurance? If you’re driving your parents’ car regularly, you should be listed as a driver on their policy to be covered. This is easy to do, and a quick call to an agent who can handle the details is all that is needed.

Is car insurance cheaper if you own the car?

The answer here is “probably not.” As a young driver, you are in the highest risk group for car insurance, especially if you are still a teen. Young drivers cause the most accidents of any age group, so insurers need to charge more for their policies to ensure they’ll have enough to pay out on claims.

Chances are if you are a young driver, your premium costs will be high whether you own the car or not. The rate that an insurer will charge your parents, unless they are bad drivers, will probably be lower than what you’d pay for a policy, even if you’re listed as a driver on their policy.

How to reduce your parents’ insurance costs

There may be other ways you can help lower the costs of your parents’ insurance. Other discounts may apply, including one offered by many insurers for students who keep a “B” average or higher while at school and a discount for allowing the insurer to use a telematics device to monitor your driving in real time. If you drive the speed limit, avoid hard stops and don’t often drive late at night, the insurer will reward these good driving habits with a discount.

Another way to keep your parents’ insurance costs low is to drive an older car. Older vehicles are worth less, and it may not make sense to pay for collision and comprehensive insurance because the car would not be worth fixing if it’s damaged enough to consider an insurance claim. Eliminating that coverage will bring down your parents’ rate significantly.

Obviously, it pays to not make claims on your coverage as well. An at-fault accident raises insurance premiums significantly. Even things like getting caught not wearing a seatbelt can influence your costs. Keeping a clean driving record is one important way to keep rates down.

How long can you stay on your parents’ insurance? 

There’s no age limit for staying on your parents’ insurance. The only requirements are that you live in the same household as them and have their names on the title of your car. As long as you meet those two qualifications, you can stay on their insurance indefinitely.

Can you put insurance on a car that is not in your name? No. The policyholder, in most cases, needs to be the one who has title to the car. Talk to your parents once you’ve got your driver’s license to figure out how you’ll handle insurance costs.

The takeaway

  • There’s no age limit for being on a parent’s car insurance policy.
  • There’s no need for your own policy if you don’t own the car.
  • Rates may be lower if you stay on your parents’ policy.

Can you drive your parents’ car without being on the insurance? In all but one state of the U.S. (New Hampshire), you need to have insurance — whether it’s your own policy or your parents’. If the car has your name on the title, it will need to be your own policy.

If you don’t own the car, however, you can stay on your parents’ policy as long as your permanent address is their home. There’s no age limit, and it may be cheaper to be on their policy than to have your own, especially if you’re a young driver. Once you’re out on your own or you are the owner of the car you’re driving, you’ll need to have your own auto insurance policy.

Mary Van Keuren

After 30 years as a writer and editor in academia, Mary now writes full-time for the insurance and finance industries. Her work has appeared on Reviews.com, TheSimpleDollar.com and Bankrate.com, as well as other consumer-focused websites.

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