Do I Have to Add My Kids to My Auto Insurance?
When you have a new driver in the house, it’s both exciting and worrisome.
Many wonder what to do with their auto insurance policies when they reach this stage. Parents are already nervous when Johnny or Suzie have their learner’s permit and want to practice driving. When parents add kids to their car insurance and see the cost go up, it’s enough to make their hair turn white.
Historically, new drivers can have spotty records, which can make you cringe when thinking of having these records reflected on your auto insurance coverage. However, if someone in your home is operating one of your vehicles, it’s imperative they are added to your policy, even though the potential increase to your premium could be significant.
The bottom line is—a new eligible driver must be added to your policy. But when? This depends on your carrier and the coverage you have. For example, Mercury Insurance requires policy holders to exclude their children once they have turned 14, in preparation for receiving their learner’s permit at age 15. Others only require additions to be made when an eligible driver receives their driver’s license. This is specifically true when you have an “umbrella” policy. If you want your new driver to be included under your umbrella, they must be added to your auto insurance.
Here are some benefits to adding them to your auto insurance:
The biggest and most obvious benefit of reporting a new driver is what happens when a claim is filed. If your child is operating one of your vehicles and an accident occurs, an insurance company has the right to deny the claim if the driver has not been added to the policy.
An insurance company may not want to renew your coverage in the future, should they find an eligible driver was not reported. In addition, they may not provide coverage to damages done if a claim was filed while an unreported operator was driving your vehicle. Or, they may cover the damages, but give you a hefty bill of back charges linked to your undocumented driver.
While adding younger drivers does increase the rates, there are a number of ways to help reduce the costs.
Good Student Discount:
Almost all companies will honor a “Good Student Discount” if applicable. If your high school teenage driver has a 3.0 GPA or higher, he/she can qualify for this discount. The only proof required would be the latest transcript showing the GPA
A few national carriers give discounts to those who complete the TeenSmart program. There is an additional cost to completing this program, but with proof of completion, some carriers will honor this discount.
“Is it cheaper to put them on their own policy?”
The answer 99% of the time is “NO.” When you separate your kids onto their own policy, they typically cannot take advantage of the discounts on your policy, making it more expensive. Dis-counts like “Multipolicy,” “Multicar,” and “Persistency” are lost if kids are on their own auto insurance policy. Also, if the car is registered to you and a claim arises, if the coverages are not sufficient to cover the loss, you as the owner of the vehicle could be on the hook for those dam-ages. For these reasons, we often strongly suggest that you keep all household members on one policy.
Though the cost of adding extra drivers to your auto insurance can seem daunting, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
If you have more questions regarding your auto insurance, ask me today!
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